Interdisciplinary Research Program – TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2020-2021 — Inland, seaward. The Trans-coastal Project

Studio Leader Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Studio Coordination Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin Luisa Calabrese

Instructors Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Urban Design Theory & Methods/ Landscape Urbanism Luisa Calabrese
Urban Design/ New Media

dr. Fransje Hooimeijer
Environmental Technology & Design

dr. Diego Sepulveda Carmona
Spatial Planning & Strategy

dr. Nikki Brand
Interdisciplinary Planning & Design/ Policy Advisor

dr. Daniele Cannatella
Landscape Architecture/ Cartography Joep Storms
Applied Geology, CEG-TUD

ir. Geert van der Meulen
Water Management

Raquel Hädrich Silva
International Development Studies/ Sociology/ Oceanography

Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Urban Design
Environmental Technology & Design
Spatial Planning and Strategy
Landscape Architecture
Hydraulic Structures & Flood Risk (Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)
Applied Geology (Coastal Morphology)(Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)


Joint Design Studio, AA Architecture Association, Diploma Unit 9, ‘Third Territorial Attractor’


Transdisciplinary Lecture Series ‘Five Conversations on the Present (state of)’ Lecture Series and ‘Project’ + ‘Motion’ Masterclass Series Program.

Lecture Series co-hosted with Dalhousie Universities, School of Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, (co-sponsored with Faculty of Environmental Sciences).



Image: The Reflecting Pool, 1977-79 [Le bassin miroir]. Bande vidéo en couleur, son mono, 7 minutes. Performeur: Bill Viola. Studio Bill Viola.

“You want me to land on Earth? Why?
Because you’re hanging in midair, headed for a crash.
How is it down there?
Pretty tense.
A war zone?
Close: a Critical Zone, a few kilometers thick, where everything happens.
Is it habitable?
Depends on your chosen science.
Will I survive down there?
Depends on your politics.”


Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth (2020) Editors: Bruno Latour & Peter Weibel. MIT Press.



TT 2020-2021
Inland, seaward. The trans-coastal project.

As a modern project, territory was synonymous with the colonization of nature. Contemporary urbanism faces the aftermath of it: sea-level rise, climate crisis, displacements, soil exhaustion, ecological decay. The urban project is increasingly mediated by the frequency and distribution of extremes – i.e. flood, drought, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, subsidence – and the passive (eventually active) spatio-morphological, socio-ecological and political changes that follow. There is consensus on the need to be responsive to a new instability of nature/culture and the self, and yet a sense of interruption, of distance, remains at sight. A disorientation of space, time and identity (Latour, 2020). Partial adaptation, restauration strategies (bouncing-back tactics) deliberately deviate the attention and gaze from what lays underneath the surface: the uncertainty about and the form (spatial, ecological, political) of inhabitable land under the new climatic regime. What is the status of the territorial/urban project defined by emergence, juxtapositions and transitions in water, soil, weather and forms of inhabitation? What are the material and ecological practices needed to design withinstead of againstthe states of crisis? Hence, the central question is how an informed and radical re-organization of water, land/soil, built environment and societies ought to contribute to a new condition of living.

The object of the new three years cycle of Transitional Territories Studio is the de- / re-territorialization of places, structures and cultures between land and sea. Four extremes geographies and four lines of inquiry will guide our research and design practice, wherein the specific project location of each thesis is of choice of each student. ‘Inland, seaward. The trans-coastal project’ aims at developing practical approachesby designto socio-ecological coherence and equity by working across fields of knowledge, scales and subjects, endogenous and exogenous forces, inside-out and outside-in.


For the academic year 2020-2021 the studio focuses on the de-construction and re-construction of the geographic space of four climate zones, informed by four lines of inquiry and identified scales and subjects of concern. The studio will collectively investigate the possibility of diverse spatio-temporal formations and inhabitation between land and sea—seeking a revised balance between society and nature.

The studio entails (a) collective and (b) individual work: (a) a cross-domain research project that involves historical, scientific, cultural, political and technological investigations by confronting both objective and subjective analytical and representational approaches. The role of this phase of the research is twofold: to orientate and localize the individual projects and to construct the fundaments for the studio narrative. (b) A graduation project embedded in the collective research not only in the outset but throughout the entire graduation year. The graduation thesis deals with and develops a strong proposition on the materialisation and expected outcomes of its designed project.

The studio builds upon a long-established collaborative platform (science, engineering, technology and arts) on ways of seeing/seizing, mapping, projecting change and critically acting on highly dynamic landscapes. At the core of the Delta Urbanism Research Group, the studio is embedded within/and supported by the interdisciplinary TUDelft Delta Futures Lab, in close collaboration with the CEG and TPM Faculties. Joint design studio with Architecture Association School of Architecture, Diploma Unit 9.


Four lines of inquiry
subjects. composition. alteration. limit. projections

— ‘Matter’

— ‘Topos’

— ‘Habitat’

— ‘Politics’
Climate Regime
Displacement (after belonging)

Four geographies
Temperate (special focus on the North Sea and the Dutch Delta)

Scales and subjects

Project Location
Land, coastal or sea locations/ cities and specific sites at one of the four (climate) geographies. The coastal zonewill be defined by the level of exposure and scope of action of each individual project. The specific project location is of choice/ open to each individual project.

Studio Assignment
During the graduation year students will be asked to reflect on aspects of spatial morphology (scale, form, structure, performance), landform (geology, altimetry/bathymetry, topography), and the diachrony and diversity of mechanisms (e.g. extractivism, logistics, energy production, coastal management, migration) re-shaping the land-sea dynamics. TT studio individual projects will be sited in different coastal locations of choice. Students are encouraged, starting from their personal motivation, to formulate their own assignment, which may vary from constructions and public works to urban areas, landscapes and regions.


Studio 2020-2021 Program

Following the lessons learned in the past 2017-2020 cycle on the North Sea, the studio starts a new three year-long research and pedagogical project (research by design studio) on trans-coastal and climate zones: ‘Inland, seaward’.

The studio offers an interdisciplinary and collaborative applied program, structured by a lecture series and masterclass with invited lecturers from relevant fields of knowledge on contemporary critical spatial theory, representation and practice. Two studio exhibitions and symposia with visiting critics will mark the closure of MSc3 (December 2020) and MSc4 (June 2021) by presenting collective and individual results. Inland, seaward. The trans-coastal project aims at developing practical approaches by design to socio-spatial and ecological coherence and equity. This is achieved by material and localized interventions generating applicable urban design knowledge — working across fields of knowledge, scales and subjects, endogenous and exogenous forces.


The studio is structured into two phases:

MSc3—Research Module

September-November 2020: Collective research phase (parallel to individual proposal/ research hypothesis development), concluded with the production of an Atlas, digital research platform and curatorial project.

November 2020: study field trip and online field work project

December 2020: development of the individual design concept, one-day symposium and exhibition with invited external design critics.

October 2020-February 2021: Lecture Series ‘Oppositions’ and Masterclass Series ‘Project’ and ‘Motion’ with invited lecturers from different fields of knowledge and partner institutions reflecting/ informing on contemporary material and ecological practices.


MSc4—Design Module

January 2021-June 2021: Individual design phase, guided by studio exercises and workshops on design thinking, representation and new media.

June 2021: End-of-the-year studio exhibition and symposium with external design critics reflecting on the final outcomes of the studio.



Studio Meta-Themes

Risk and beyond: exploring a projective dimension towards the sea (and/or triggered by the sea), and in the specific context of the coastal zone

Exploration of the limit: the notion of “limit” as conceptual framework at the base for an explorative design research in the coastal zone

Water related design as a creative (or, conversely, innovative) method for reimagining spatial practices and forms of inclusive inhabitation


Studio objectives

To develop an innovative didactic exchange among the disciplines of Urbanism, Landscape, Architecture, Engineering and Political, Social and Art Sciences

To operate analytical research from the territorial scale of coastal, fluvial and delta regions to the site

To formulate cross-disciplinary and comprehensive socio-ecological design strategies (considering the different spatial and temporal scales relevant for the design)

To elaborate and apply cross-disciplinary and comprehensive socio-ecological research and innovative design methodologies

To prepare students to work/ initiate both research and design projects in design offices and governmental departments


Learning objectives

Students will be able to:
operate analytical research across scale – from, territorial, landscape scales, to urban, object scales

develop specific socio-ecological cross-scalar design brief

share with and integrate knowledge from other disciplines

formulate a highly individualized research and design approach responding to societal and environmental urgencies

apply innovative research and design methodologies

express and represent their design ideas at appropriate scales through writings, drawings, physical models and new media.


TT Studio Selected Reference Thesis Projects
(link to TUD repository on thesis title)

Lafleur, F. (2016). Re-Territorialization: A vision for Milan Urban region [Archiprix 2017 Nomination]

Skansi, V. (2016). Landscape imagination: Ecology and Industry

Krishnan, S. (2017). The Middle Ground.

Kanekar, S. (2017). Land | Waterscape as projective infrastructure.

van der Meulen, G. (2018). New Netherlands. [Broad national media coverage and expert panels/ committee showcase on the transition/ impact of extreme sea-level rise (e.g. Delta Commission)]

Moncrieff, N. (2018). A non-straightforward archipelago. [Archiprix 2019 Selection]

Myserli, A. (2018). Re-Natured Economy: From pollutants to productive landscapes. [Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, Venice Pavilion International Students Competition, Winner]

Farmazon, A. (2018). Reversed Risk: Protective | Productive cycle based on tidal force in estuarine territories. [Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, Venice Pavilion International Students Competition, Winner]

Leung, R. (2019). Adapting to uncertainty: Re-thinking Critical Infrastructural Systems

Lijdsman, L. (2019). Turning the Tide: Inverting Ecosystem Service Assessment as a Planning and Design Instrument.

Arakij, D. (2019). Theater of Decay: Nature and Human Coexistence in the Toxic Landscapes of Rotterdam Port  [Archiprix 2020 Nomination]

Kolev, M. (2019). The Zone of Disassembly: Unveiling the hidden flows of e-waste. [Archiprix 2020 Selection, Running]

Garcia Vogt, Nicole (2020). Synchronizing habitat: Risk adaptation by co- evolution of environment & society.[Archiprix 2021 Nomination]

Recubenis Sanches, Isabel (2020). Restoring Systemic Proximities: Towards the re-territorialization of the Dutch Rivierenland.




Ethical positioning

In this particular moment it might sound a little premature—if not presumptuous—to project oneself into a post-crisis state, one that accepts that extreme (eco)systemic changes are our new condition of living and not a temporary disorder. And yet, as Bruno Latour recently pointed out, it is now that it is imperative to act.Now that those who until recently were boldly riding the trojan horse of globalisation and endless growth, are realising that ‘there is no Earth’ compatible with those promises. If the realisation of the tangible disruptive presence of ‘the limit’ brought about a profound sense of disorientation, it also dangerously justifies the craving to retrieve as fast as possible the business as usual.

Yet, there is an alternative path to the future: to co-construct the fundaments for a radical re-thinking of the notion and practices of inhabitation and coexistence, so to ensure that the forthcoming global economic recovery, once the present crisis has passed, does not bring back the same former regime against which we were battling, until now somewhat in vain.  Inland, seaward. The trans-coastal project positions itself within this path of practical approaches to contemporary ecologies.



1 A general workable definition is: the part of the land affected by its proximity to the sea, and that part of the sea affected by its proximity to the land as the extent to which man’s land-based activities have a measurable influence on water chemistry and marine ecology. (wo)man’s lan (wo)man’s land-based activities. Retrieved from

2 Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth (2020) Editors: Bruno Latour & Peter Weibel. MIT Press.


Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2023-2024 — Altered Nature. Poetics of Change
Redesigning Deltas