Interdisciplinary Research Program – TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2019-2020 — North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence

Studio Leader Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Studio Coordination Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin Luisa Calabrese

Special Guest Professors Dirk Sijmons Han Meyer

Instructors / Mentors Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin 
Luisa Calabrese
dr. Fransje Hooimeijer
dr. Diego Sepulveda Carmona
dr. Daniele Cannatella
ir. Geert van der Meulen

Guest Mentors
ir. Francesca Rizzetto
ir. Kaveh Dabiri
ir. Jacques Vink

Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Urban Design
Architectural Design Crossovers
Spatial Planning & Strategy
Environmental Modelling
Landscape Architecture


Image caption: Daniel Spoerri – Topographie anécdotée du hasard, 1962 | © 2019 Daniel Spoerri


“Steam cut an imaginary straight line through a space
previously governed by the unpre­dictability of the wind.”

Sekula, Allan (1995). Fish Story. 2018 Edition. London: Mack.



End-of-the-year Studio online Exhibition:

A Topography of Change



TT 2019-2020

North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence

Historically, the North Sea has been a contested territory. While bordering the mainland Europe it has been often turned into a platform for geopolitical affairs with the UK as well as the Nordic countries. Such strategic role has manifested itself in various military, religious, economic, and social ties and divides, which has consequently made the North Sea a confliction common ground. The ongoing refugee crisis or the Brexit are only very recent examples of such a long history. As a result, the sea is not seen anymore a periphery of Europe but rather a central territory and a point of departure through which the idea of Europe would be defined or challenged. Therefore, in the North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence Studio we would celebrate these controversial aspects of the sea, not anymore as an extra-territorial space and a limit to the land, but rather as the main point an autonomous entity through which the political, environmental, economic and societal questions could be addressed. In this way any spatial proposition, whether landscape, urban or architectural, would be challenged and revisited through the lens of the North Sea as a referenced territory for new spatial interventions. Students are encouraged to redefine the role of the territory of the sea and particularly its land borders/ coastal cities, addressing the complex, yet not so visible, spatial, juridical, environmental and geopolitical natures of the North Sea.


Six lines of inquiry

— ‘The oceanic project’
edge, island state(s), power

— ‘Flux, erasure, terraforming’
inundation, erosion, ice

— ‘A pervasive ecology of flows’
energy, fishery, logistics, migration, data

— ‘Capital’
oil / minerals / sand

— ‘The dual nature of externalities’
polluted grounds, salt intrusion, carbon and methane emissions, extreme weather

— ‘Crises of representation’
political divisions, cultural heritage, assemblages and dissonances


Scales and subjects


Geographic locations
Land, coastal or sea locations/ cities and specific sites at the North Sea countries — Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Scotland. The specific project location is of choice/ open to each individual project.

Transitional Territories is an interdisciplinary studio that deals with the changing nature of the territorial project in lowlands regions (maritime, riverine, and/or delta areas) and the strategic role of Architecture, Urban Design and Spatial Planning in fine-tuning the ever-changing interrelations between natural processes, societal practices, and (geo)political frameworks. The studio approaches design as a mean to research, disclose, imagine, represent and question the various processes leading to the present state of criticality and risk.


Water-related territories—at sea, delta, and/or riverine landscapes—are increasingly becoming the arena of radical climatic changes, resource depletion, political and economic instability, and socio-spatial inequalities. Their fragile state requires the envisioning of an interdisciplinary design knowledge that mediates spatial and material structures, ecological performance, and socio-cultural representation at multiple scales. Within this context, the central question of the studio is how biophysical, socio-economic, cultural and political changes and related risks can be addressed by a site-specific and context sensitive urban project in face of present days urgencies.


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. logistics, energy production, coastal management, migration) re-shaping the North Sea continuously. TT studio individual projects will be sited in different geographic locations (of choice) along the sea’s north, central and south coastlines. Within the scope of the TT studio, students will be able to formulate their fascination and choose their own assignment (design, engineering, policy) which can vary from buildings, constructions and public works to urban areas, landscapes and regions.


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 North Sea region

Exploration of the limit: the notion of “limit” as conceptual framework at the base for an explorative design research in the North Sea region

Water related design as a creative (or, conversely, innovative) form for reimagining Architecture/Urbanism/Landscape Architecture/Water Engineering purpose and their collective character


Studio objectives

To develop an innovative didactic exchange among the disciplines of Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape, Water Engineering and Policy Analysis

To operate analytical research at the large territorial scale of lowland regions

To formulate comprehensive Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape, Engineering and Policy design strategies (considering the different spatial and temporal scales relevant for the design)

To elaborate and apply a comprehensive Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape, Water Engineering and Policy Analysis 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 architectural, object scales

share and integrate knowledge from other disciplines

formulate a highly individualised design approach

apply innovative design methodologies and creative techniques for their design

select and apply comprehensive constructive techniques

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

Reporting ‘space, time and everyday life’ in the Delta