Interdisciplinary Research Program – TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2021-2022 — Inland, seaward. The Form of Time and the Politics of Space

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 Nikos Katsikis
Urban Design/ Political Ecology

dr. Fransje Hooimeijer
Environmental Technology & Design

dr. Diego Sepulveda Carmona
Spatial Planning & Strategy Laura Cipriani
Landscape Architecture

ir. Denise Piccinini
Landscape Architecture Joep Storms
Applied Geology, CEG-TUD

dr. Jos Timmermans
Policy Analysis/ Adaptive Delta Management/ Delta Futures Lab

MA Raquel Hädrich Silva
International Development Studies/ Sociology/ Oceanography


Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Urban Design
Environmental Technology & Design
Spatial Planning and Strategy
Landscape Architecture
Applied Geology (Coastal Morphology)(Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)
Policy Analysis (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management)


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


Transdisciplinary Lecture Series ‘Accumulation’ curated by Nikos Katsikis and ‘Cartography’ + ‘Motion’ Masterclass Series Program.


Image: Enzo Yap, TT Studio Essentials 2021-2022. Accumulation, Translations of Landscape, Maasvlakte 2, The Oostvoornse lake.

For the academic year 2021-2022 the studio continues the three years cycle “Inland Seaward” on the de-/re-territorialization of places, structures and cultures between land and sea: the palimpsest of inhabitation, production, and infrastructure projected on land, river and ocean grounds, which define the urban as a material and socio-ecological space. As guiding principle, the notion of accumulation will be at the core of our study. By looking into centres and repeated cycles of accumulation and their externalities, we aim to document urbanisation and its impact on present and future environment and life.


The studio has a strong situated approach to design, sensitive to the site (matter), cultures of inhabitation (topos), environment (habitat) and processes (geopolitics). Our design task addresses urbanisation as mutually founded by and a trigger of risk, criticality and emergence. We work on projects that, at first sight, might not seem ‘urban’ given their transdisciplinary character and reach of comprehension. However, they profoundly are, as they strongly challenge the dysfunctional dichotomy between the territories of land and water on which all cities are built upon.

This year the studio continues the three years cycle “Inland Seaward” on the de-/re-territorialization of places, (infra) structures and cultures between land and sea. The studio approaches the contemporary instability of environmental, climatic, political and socio-economic structures and urban formations, the sense of disruption and mutation that they cause, as the object of design. We understand that the traditional instruments for urban design and planning are not able to address the complexity and urgency of societal and environmental challenges defining urban life. Therefore, we approach the instability in our disciplinary practice as our collective effort in the studio, envisioning, programming and designing material and ecological spatial interventions that are able to imagine and demonstrate different futures for climate adaptation, water related risk management, energy transition, forms of inhabitation and productivity in highly dynamic and fragile urban landscapes and territories.

Transitional Territories 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.


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.



The studio is structured around three working modes: archive, laboratory, atelier. Analysis, synthesis and narrative exercises will support the inquiry and the development of interventions acting into the nature and causes of the urban and its externalities. Atmosphere, surface and subsurface elements, layers, and processes (and the interdependency among them) will be analysed and modeled by means of cartography (spatial representation), de-construction (analysis), re-composition (syntax) and projective steps, advanced in the making of the graduation thesis. During the graduation year students will be guided to construct and apply a theoretical, analytical, and conceptual framework by using methods for urban design and landscape architecture research and practice among others to study systemic relations leading to a territorial state of fragility, criticality and risk. Critical thinking, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods and approach, and search for novelty in design found our studio.

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 localise 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. 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.

Geographic focus: The Rhine River Basin

The Rhine is not just an international natural system, it is also a cultural system in which the responses of the humans to the landscape can be characterised and understood over time. The river has been transformed over centuries, first by natural drivers to which humans adapted their occupation along the river, making use of it as fertile line through Europe. From the 19th century on the control was taken over by humans normalising the flow, putting it in a corset of flow boundaries and creating more revenue along it by transport and touristic use. The river as a water space is a natural space, transport space, habitat, and touristic space in which the relations over time have evolved, balanced and resulted in the current landscape that needs to be understood in this historical perspective. After the Danube, the Rhine is the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe. Cities along the Rhine form a necklace of urban settlements that all respond to its flow and are also connected as such, as a stretched city. Due to climate change and thus changing precipitation patterns the river landscape is highly exposed to flood risk because of its de-naturalisation and thus inflexibility to changing and instable fluctuations. As a highly industrialised and operationalised landscape, the Rhine River Basin plays a crucial role in redefining transboundary forms of productivity, inhabitation and energy futures in Central and Western Europe. The water and energy landscape of the Rhine will be at the core of our collective geographic focus. Students will be encouraged to choose a case-study location that is embedded in its vast watershed, from the Alps to the North Sea. Few case exceptions, different from this geographic focus, will be considered as possible location choices for the studio.


Studio program

The studio is structured around a complementary program to the individual thesis development composed by lecture series, workshops, field work, exhibitions and symposia to collectively investigate new, experimental and transdisciplinary approaches to design across scales and subjects. The studio fosters collaborations with a series of research and design groups and practices working on situated practices in the fields of architecture, engineering, science and technology.

During Q5 (from September to November 2021) we will focus on the delineation of the graduation thesis proposal, working on a weekly base exercise in studio that will guide and support (a) the choice of the project location, (b) the initial set of analysis and problematization, and (c) the formulation of the theoretical and conceptual framework of the thesis.

Starting at Q6 until the end of the academic year (November – June) we will move to full attention to the production of the graduation project. Q6 will be structured in studio sessions and the lecture series, starting in November. The studio has a strong collective dimension and nature: shared activities, collective discussions and peer-review sessions are at the heart of our year together.


Short list of exemplary graduation projects

Meneses Di Gioia Ferreira, Lucas (2021), Territories of Mediation – Shared Existences in the Brazilian Amazon [Archiprix 2022 nomination]

Garcia Vogt, Nicole (2020), Syncronizing habitat: risk adaptation by co-evolution of environment and society [Archiprix 2021 nomination]

Myserli, A. (2018), Re-natured Economy: from pollutants to productive landscapes [Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, Students’ competition winner]

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

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