Interdisciplinary Research Program – TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transdisciplinary Lecture Series—5 Conversations on the Present (state of)—Session 5 (Topos)

Within the framework of:

Section of Urban Design
Delta Futures Lab
Delta Urbanism Research Group
Graduation Studio—Transitional Territories
(Joint Studio with AA, Diploma Unit 9, Third Territorial Attractor)

Dalhousie University
Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning
Graduate Design Studio—Facts or Fictions: Cities on the Sea

Hosted by:

Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Section of Urban Design—Delta Urbanism, TUDelft

Catherine Ann Somerville Venart
School of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Planning
Dalhousie University

Luisa Maria Calabrese
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Section of Urban Design—Delta Urbanism, TUDelft

Isabella Coutand
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Faculty of Science
Dalhousie University

Two views points on the subject, followed by a short discussion on overlaps, differences, provocations, oppositions.



17:00—19:00 CET / 12:00-14:00 Atlantic


Kristina Hill
“From Rigidity to Rhizomes: Soft Dikes in safe-to-fail Networks “
Adaptation to rising sea and groundwater levels can follow a pathway of increased rigidity, or a pathway of increased flexibility. If we start by considering the three-dimensional context of water lines, the complexity required by a rigid response with dikes and pumps becomes clear. This complexity and rigidity is problematic in aseismically activee region such as the San Francisco Bay Area. The alternative is to design with flexibility. We have proposed developing dike networks that are safe-to-fail, meaning that if a collapse happens it is unlikely to result in any loss of life or significant damage to buildings. These “soft” dike networks shape a honeycomb pattern of brackish ponds, which can be used as a zone of filtration for urban water runoff that protects regional biodiversity, as well as a zone that accommodates floating mixed-use districts and recreation. Examples will be shared of proposals for East Oakland, San Jose and Marin City on the edges of the San Francisco Bay.

Kristina Hill is an associate professor at UC Berkeley, studying the impacts of flooding on urban districts and ecosystems. She works with frontline communities and public agencies to understand urban vulnerability and develop strategies for adaptation to rising seas and rising groundwater. Her current work is on developing strategies for the San Francisco Bay Area. She publishes and lectures internationally on infrastructure and adaptation. In past work, Kristina served as the board chair of a public transportation agency, and worked on flooding and urban design in Seattle, New Orleans, New York and Virginia. Kristina holds a PhD from Harvard University’s.


Lola Sheppard
“Rural and Remote: Environment, Spatial Practice and Agency”
How can design research, envision new modes of documenting spatial practices in rural and remote regions, where the built environment is shaped by climatic, economic, and geopolitical forces. And how might we uncover new potential roles and agencies for design?

Lola Sheppard is Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and a founding partner, with Mason White, of Lateral Office, a Toronto-based practice.Her work operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. She is committed to design as a research vehicle to pose and respond to complex, urgent questions in the built environment, engaging in the wider context and climate of a project– social, ecological, or political. In particular, she been pursuing research and design work on the role of architecture in rural and remote regions, particularly the Canadian North, for the past ten years. Sheppard’s work has been exhibited extensively and she has lectured across the USA, Canada and Europe.  Lateral Office has presented at the Oslo Triennale (2019), Seoul Biennale (2017), the Chicago Biennale (2015) and they were awarded a Special Mention at the 2014 Venice Biennale for Architecture. They received a PA award in 2013 and a Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction for North America, both in 2011 and 2020, for their work on the Arctic. Lola Sheppard is co-author, with Mason White, of the book Many Norths: Spatial Practice in a PolarTerritory (Actar 2017) and of Pamphlet Architecture 30, COUPLING: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2011). Lola Sheppard is also co-editor of the journal Bracket.

After Territory Symposium / Inland-Seaward End-of-Cycle Exhibition – Transitional Territories Studio and Research
Section of Urban Design/Transitional Territories Lecture Series—After Territory—Session 3