Transitional Territories Studio 2018-2019 North Sea

“I am most touched by those places where damage and grace are inextricably entangled.”
Frank Gohlke, Thoughts on Landscape

Courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC @

Courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC @

Transitional Territories Studio 2018-2019
North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence.
Altered Natures and the Architecture of Extremes

In collaboration with
MVI North Sea Energy Lab — Special Workshop and Lecture Series Program

Joint Design Studio
AA Architectural Association School of Architecture, London

Studio Leader Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin, t.bacchin (at)

Special Guest Professor Dirk Sijmons
H+N+S Landscape Architects / MVI North Sea Energy Lab

Instructors/ Mentors

Architecture & Urbanism
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Stefano Milani (responsible instructor Architecture & Public Building)
Nicola Marzot


Fransje Hooimeijer
dr. Diego Sepulveda Carmona

Landscape Architecture

dr. Steffen Nijhuis
Denise Piccinini

Building Technology

ir. Sjap Holst

Graduation Sections
Urban Design
Architecture & Public Building
Environmental Modelling
Landscape Architecture
Hydraulic Structures & Flood Risk
Policy Analysis

Transitional Territories is an interdisciplinary design studio (architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture, hydraulic structures and flood risk, policy analysis) with a strong emphasis on the translation of research output into design concepts. During the graduation year students will develop an analytic, critical and conceptual approach to design and learn how to use research and design methods such as system analysis (spatial and temporal dimensions), perception/ phenomenology/ narration, performative/ process based design, and designing with uncertainty. The studio is founded on theories of complexity, territorialism, infrastructure space, landscape urbanism and ecology, environmental risk and transition management (dynamic adaptation).

For the academic year 2018-2019 Transitional Territories Studio focuses on the North Sea territory and its altered state as an outcome of increased urbanisation and environmental degradation, and by the consequences of extreme weather and resource scarcity. These modifications take place and are represented in different levels – from the transcalar and often invisible levels of processes to the scale of the architecture.

The studio will explore the altered geography of the North Sea territory and the possibility of a new development logic between land and sea. Therefore, in the North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence Studio we would anticipate modifications that are expected to happen and project new spatial forms under a revised territorial narrative.

Landscapes of Coexistence — A territorial perspective
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.


North Sea Proteine Flows. Image Courtesy: Yelin Zhang (D-i Studio 2017-2018)















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 along the sea’s north 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

North Sea: 4 Studio Themes

1. North Sea as the State of Exception
Ecology, Power, and Infrastructure

2. E Mare Libertas
The Architecture of the Fluid Ground

3. Tomorrow, or the End of Time
Fourth Nature: A Manifesto 

4. Infrastructural Form
Where Architecture, City, and Territory meet

North Sea: 4 Geographies

1. North-west Denmark / South-west Norway coast
2. North-east Scotland coast
3. South-east England coast (Channel)
4. North France coast (Channel)

Troll C Platform. Image courtesy: Mihai Turtoi (D-i 2017-2018)


















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 on both research innovation and design projects in design offices and governmental departments

Learning objectives

  • Students will be able to operate analytical research at a large territorial scale of delta regions
  • Students specific architectural/urban/landscape/engineering/policy interscalar design task
  • Students will be able to share and integrate knowledge from other disciplines
  • Students will be able to formulate a highly individualised design approach
  • Students will be able to apply innovative design methodologies and creative techniques for their design
  • Students will be able to select and apply comprehensive constructive techniques
  • Students will be able to express and represent their design ideas at appropriate scales

Additional information please visit:
TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment – MSc3/4 Studio TT 2018-2019