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Transitional Territories Studio — New Academic Year. North Sea Landscapes of Coexistence: A Topography of Chance


Daniel Spoerri
Topographie anécdotée du hasard 1962
 © 2019 Daniel Spoerri / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Switzerland. Retried from: MoMA Collection.                                                 

Please join us on April 12th, 12:45-13:45 Room Q, TUDelft Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment for the introduction of our new academic year and the final year of a three year-long research and pedagogical project on the North Sea Region.

Transitional Territories Studio 2019-2020
North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence
‘A Topography of Chance’

For the academic year 2019-2020, starting in September 2019, Transitional Territories Studio closes the three year-long cycle on the North Sea territory, focusing on its altered state as the outcome of increased urbanisation and environmental degradation, and on the consequences of projected extreme weather and resource scarcity. These changes take place and are represented in different levels – from the transcalar and often invisible levels of processes to the scale of the architecture. Having explored the consequences of its altered geography in the past two years, this time the studio will project and delineate a radically different seascape architecture for the North Sea territory. Inspired by the ‘Topographie Anecdotée du Hasard’ by Daniel Spoerri, the studio will set in motion a conversation between strategic projects for the future of the North Sea region which were briefed together with a group of scientists, philosophers, policy makers, architects, engineers and artists.

Therefore, in the ‘North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence, A Topography of Chance Studio’ we will celebrate the coexistence between different claims in the sea, ranging from extractivism, energy, fishery, ecology, logistics and migration to carbon storage and climatic shifts structured into four lines of inquiry: tension, release, mediation, and emancipation. Under this framework, the sea is not seen anymore as an extra-territorial space and a limit to the land, but rather as the central space 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 sea and its relational spaces, and by designed / desired associations between the identified strategic projects.

Studio Leader:
dr.arch. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Guest Professors: Dirk Sijmons, Han Meyer
ir. Geert van der Meulen

Instructors/ Mentors:
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Luisa Calabrese
Fransje Hooimeijer
dr. Diego Carmona Sepulveda
Daniele Cannatella

Project lines:
Open sea: edge / island state / structures at sea
Coastal dynamics / geomorphology: inundation / erosion / ice
Infrastructure space / flows: energy / fishery / logistics / data
Extractivism: oil / minerals / sand
Externalities: polluted grounds / salt intrusion / carbon & methane emissions / extreme weather
Political divisions / migration
Cultural heritage / landscape biographies

Scales and subjects:

New Netherlands—Extreme Ecologies

On Thursday February 7, 2019 Geert van der Meulen, Researcher at Delta Urbanism, presented his graduation project called ‘New Netherlands’, projecting the spatial outcome of extreme sea level rise in the country, to Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management) with the aim of inspiring… Read More

Transitional Territories Studio — New Academic Year. North Sea Landscapes of Coexistence: Altered Natures and the Architecture of Extremes

Personal Island, Floriade, Zoetemeer (temporary), 1992. Acconci Studio (V.A., Luis Vera, Jenny Schrider)







Look, it’s a body, floating into the land
No, it’s a body swimming out into the water
No, it’s the land itself, here, that is a body
A body of land
It’s the water itself that’s a body of water
—Nicolas Jaar. Être. Space is Only Noise. 

We started our new academic year and the second year of a three year-long research and pedagogical project on the North Sea Region.

For the academic year 2018-2019 Transitional Territories Studio focuses on the idea of ‘Altered Natures’, in face of continual violation of the earth system caused by human-induced forcings. The method of research-by-design is applied in order to cast light on a diverse meaning of urbanisation and to inform the design practice (being architectural, political, and/or environmental) under the lens of a territorial project. Hereby, we aim to investigate the possibility of new spatio-temporal formations and occupation between sea and land — or the establishment of new ground and its infrastructure space that arise from a revised balance between society and nature. By necessity, the understanding of these new formations comes as the idea of a parallel world — or The Last Lands (after Maria Ludovica Santini, 2016) — to be regarded as distant from traditional dynamics, in search for a new significance, or a lost identity and representation of being.

‘The Last Lands’ will be investigated as part of the Architecture and Hydraulic Engineering tracks – focusing on a new construction orientation within the territory of the North Sea. The program is supported by a workshop and lecture series in February 2019 on ‘Seascape Architecture’.

For the Urbanism, Landscape Architecture, and Policy Analysis tracks, the studio will centre the attention on a new development logic of the North Sea territory — addressing the state of exposure and the unfolding fragilities of its societal, cultural, political, economic, and ecological systems. The program is supported by the upcoming lecture series in October 2018 on ‘The North Sea’.

Both lecture series are curated by the studio special guest Dirk Sijmons (H+N+S Landscape Architects) under the framework of the MVI North Sea Energy Lab.

 Studio Program  First Semester 2018-2019:

— MSc3 Lecture Series Research Module: The North Sea
25th September – 29th October.
Curated/ convened by Dirk Sijmons and dr.arch. Taneha K. Bacchin / under the framework of the North Sea Energy Lab

September 25, 2018
09:30 – 11:30
TPM Faculty – Classroom H
·      Taneha K. Bacchin, TUDelft, ‘North Sea Landscapes of Coexistence’
·      Han Meyer, TUDelft, ‘Lowlands’

October 2, 2018
09:30 – 11:30
TPM Faculty – Classroom H
·      Kim Cohen, University of Utrecht, ‘The paleogeographical history of the North Sea’
·      Tinka Murk, WUR, Marine Animal Ecology, ‘Sketch of the current marine ecological system and perspectives’

October 9, 2018
09:30 – 11:30
TPM Faculty – Classroom H
·      Dirk Sijmons, TUDelft / H+N+S Landscape Architects, ‘The energy transition and its spatial implications’
·      Ernst van Zuijlen, Director of Windwerk, ‘The deployment of Offshore wind’

October 16
09:30 – 11:30
TPM Faculty – Classroom H
·      Eelco Leemans, ‘Fishery aspects of the North Sea’
·      Willem Brandenburg, WUR, ‘Marine aquaculture and protein production’

Planning and Policy
October 29
09:30 – 12:30
BK Faculty – Berlagezaal 1
·      Welcome of the Architecture Association School of Architecture, Diploma Unit 7  Fluid Territories: The North Sea. Studio Masters: Hamed Khosravi and Platon Issaias

·      Leo de Vrees, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, ‘(Inter)national North Sea policy’
·      Jan Matthijsen, Ed Dammers & Hans Elzenga, PBL Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency, ‘The Future of the North Sea’

November 20
09:30 – 12:30
BK Faculty – Classroom U
·      Ferdinand Diermanse, Deltares, ‘Sea level rise scenarios and its consequences for water safety and sand excavation’
·      Maarten de Jong, Imares, ‘Ecology of deep sand excavation’

November 27
09:30 – 12:30
BK Faculty – Classroom U
·      Jacqueline Heerema, Artists Collective Satellietgroep, ‘Zandmotor, a cultural phenomenon’
·      Esther Kokmeijer, Visual/ Conceptual Artist, ‘Deep meaning of voyaging’


— Field Trip 
29th October – 3rd November, 2018
Curated by Taneha K. Bacchin and Hamed Khosravi
Transitional Territories Studio, TUDelft jointly with Diploma Unit 7, Architecture Association School of Architecture.


— MSc3 One-day Symposium and Exhibition 
7th December, 2018
BK City – Berlagezaal 1 & 2
Curated/convened by  Taneha K. Bacchin with Filippo laFleur, Geert van der Meulen and TT Studio

Symposium: Territory as a Project / Exhibition: Parliament of the North Sea
Keynote/ special design critics:

Lars Lerup, Rice University / UC Berkeley; Luis Callejas, LCLA Office / Oslo School of Architecture
Dirk Sijmons, H+N+S Landscape Architects; Hamed Khosravi, AA School of Architecture

* The lecture series program and symposium are public.


Transitional Territories Studio
North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence

Studio Leader:
dr.arch. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Guest Professor: Dirk Sijmons
ir. Filippo laFleur
ir. Geert van der Meulen

Instructors/ Mentors:
Architecture & Urbanism
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Stefano Milani
Nicola Marzot
Fransje Hooimeijer
dr. Diego Carmona Sepulveda
dr.arch. Luisa Calabrese
Landscape Architecture
Daniele Cannatella
Building Technology
ir. Sjap Holst

Scales and subjects:

Studio Themes:
State of Exception
New biopolitical order of the North Sea: ecology, energy, protein
Infrastructural Form
Where architecture, city, and territory meet
Fourth Nature
The rise of landscape as counter economy
The Last Lands
The architecture of the fluid ground


NEXT-EXTREMES: Constructed Natures

New Research Project:
NEXT-EXTREMES: Constructed Natures
Beyond the limits of the city—cultivating territories as a counteract to extreme weather and environmental loss 

Starting from a reconceptualization of the field of infrastructure and environment in planning, engineering and design, NEXT-EXTREMES aims at developing a new set of design principles which are responsive to extreme societal, economic and environmental conditions.

Beside climatic drivers, other drivers such as economic and demographic growth and related land-use changes have direct impact on socio-ecological systems and their processes. The understanding of the changing nature of those drivers and their influence on the quality of the infrastructure space requires a new design approach, one that mediates system’ performance, operation, and values under the influence of various ranges of uncertainty and management scales. The working hypothesis is that the infrastructural project (a new paradigm of public works) – as science and professional practice – must evolve vis-à-vis with the complexities, magnitudes and indeterminacies of urban and environmental change, now transitioning to a state of extremes. This calls for multi/interdisciplinary influences to fully respond to the challenges at hand. Such integration is a precondition in practice, research and education development, where design, planning and engineering, environmental and political sciences must converge into new forms of infrastructure design inquiry.

The typology of infrastructural project addressed by NEXT  is the hybrid blue, green and grey network system, i.e. the integration between water resource management, rehabilitation and/or formation of ecological matrices and the built environment.

Having the focus on the ground as resource and design space, NEXT aims at researching the spatial, societal, economic and environmental impacts of new constructed natures as the most essential infrastructural strategy supporting earth systems rehabilitation and a revised notion of urbanisation. Specifically NEXT will focus on plantation and cultivation as a large-scale infrastructural project and as a strategy of carbon mitigation/ adaptation/ compensation along with the formation of economies that rely on the material stream’s management of these new ecological zones.

The project emphasis on the development of two interlocking tracks:
1. (Space) Regionalization as reterritorialization aims at showing the spatial impact of the intensification of new paired programs and functions in the region’s mosaic.
2. (Time) Synchronization of landscape change (i.e. nature dynamics), climate, and urban programming.

Research by design and advanced representational techniques (horizontal, vertical, temporal and composite) are employed to depict new assemblages of spaces, ecologies of scales (succession / management) and economies in time (governance, actors and industries).

NEXT-EXTREMES is a research project and initiative by A+BE: Delta Urbanism Research Group within the framework of DIMI Delft Deltas, Infrastructure & Mobility Initiative

Project Leaders: dr.arch. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin (project coordination) / dr. Fransje Hooimeijer
Principal Investigator/ Researcher: ir. Filippo LaFleur

Period: 2018-2019
Funding: DIMI Delft Deltas, Infrastructure & Mobility Initiative, AMS Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions
Partners:  Delta Programme, College van Rijksadviseurs, Gemeente Rotterdam,  Gemeente Amsterdam, AMS Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, Deltares, UNESCO-IHE.

NEXT-EXTREMES is jointly developed with the support of:
TUD CEG: Integral Design of Civil Infrastructure and TUD TPM: Policy Analysis

Ilkka Halso, Museum of Nature, 2003
100 cm x 135 cm edition 6 50 cm x 68 cm, edition 10 © Ilkka Halso

Ilkka Halso. Naturale. Main Corridor – North, 2013
125 cm x 210 cm, edition 6 65 cm x 109 cm, edition 10 © Ilkka Halso

Symposium Fluid Territories: Landscapes, Labour, and Logistics. ‘The Port and the Fall of Icarus’ for ‘Work, Body, Leisure’ Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 –


















Fluid Territories: Landscapes, Labour, and Logistics
Thursday, June 14th 2018 — 13:30 – 18:00
Aula Ex-Biblioteca/ Aula Tafuri — Palazzo Badoer, School of Doctorates, IUAV University of Venice
Venice, Italy

Within the framework of the extended programme of the Dutch pavilion, ‘Work, Body, Leisure’ curated by Marina Otero Verzier at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2018, the project ‘The Port and the Fall of Icarus’ organizes a one-day symposium as a moment of reflection on the interlinks and interdependencies between labour, logistics, landscape and the territory of port-city-regions.

The symposium ‘Fluid Territories – Landscapes, Labour, and Logistics’ will be held on June 14th 2018, from 13:30 to 18:00 at the Palazzo Badoer, School of Doctorates, Università IUAV di Venezia.

The symposium is open to the public.


Fluid Territories – Landscapes, Labour, and Logistics

10:00 – 12:30
Guided tour to the Dutch Pavillon in the Giardini of the Biennale, and to the Installation in Riva dei Sette Martiri

13:30 – 13:45
Hamed Khosravi, Taneha K. Bacchin, Filippo LaFleur
Section Urban Design, Delta Urbanism, Department of Urbanism, TU Delft;
Exhibitors at the Extended Programme of the Dutch Pavillon

13:45 – 14:00
Maria Chiara Tosi
Associate Professor of Urban Planning & Design, Università IUAV di Venezia

14:00 – 14:25
Han Meyer
Emeritus Professor of Urban Design Theory & Methods, TUDelft

14:25 – 14:50
Guido Zucconi
Professor of History of Architecture, Università IUAV di Venezia

14:50 – 15:15
Lori Tavasszy
Professor in Freight and Logistics, Transport Infrastructure and Logistics, TU Delft; LDE Centre for Metropolis and Mainports

15:15 – 15:30

15:30 – 15:55
Antonio Revedin
Director of Strategic Planning and Development, North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, Port of Venice; President Cruise and Ferry Port Network, European Sea Ports Organisation

15:55 – 16:20
Carola Hein
Professor and Head of History of Architecture and Urban Planning, TU Delft; LDE Centre for Metropolis and Mainports

16:20 – 16:45
Paola Viganò
Professor of Urban Planning & Design, Università IUAV di Venezia

16:45 – 17:00

17:00 – 18:00
Final discussion

Moderated by:

Marcel Hertogh
Professor and Head of the research group Infrastructure Design and Management of Civil iInfrastructures, TUDelft; Chairman of TUDelft DIMI Delft Deltas, Infrastructure and Mobility Initiative


Agenda Items
Fluid Territories – Landscapes, Labour, and Logistics

Agenda Het Nieuwe Instituut – Work, Body, Leisure. Dutch Pavilion – Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

Agenda/ Press Release IUAV University of Venice


The Port and the Fall of Icarus
The project, ideated by Hamed Khosravi, Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin, and Filippo LaFleur, is composed of four complementary components: an installation inside the Dutch Pavilion with fourteen drawings and seven models, a public installation at Riva dei Sette Martiri in Venice, two public events in Venice and Rotterdam, and a publication.

Departing from a rather critical proposition on the rationale of logistics, and in particular the port, the project seeks possible scenarios for the future development of the port with respect to its relationship to the city, its territory, and forms of labour. These scenarios have been generated through a year-long research and educational program in collaboration with TU Delft and IUAV Venezia.

The Port and the Fall of Icarus could have not been possible without the intellectual and financial support of Het Nieuwe Instituut, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment TU Delft Urbanism TU Delft, Port of Venice, Port of Rotterdam, LDE Center for Metropolis and Mainport, TU Delft DIMI– Delft Deltas, Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative, and L’Ermitage Venezia

For additional information please visit the website:

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

Adaptation by Design – Exhibition and Seminar Delta Interventions Studio 2016-2017

Delta Interventions – Interdisciplinary Graduation Studio 2016-2017
Delta Urbanism Research Program


— See pictures here

27th – 30th June 2017
Model Hall, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Exhibition Design
D-i 2016-2017 Graduate Students with Taneha K. Bacchin, Daniele Cannatella, ir. Filippo laFleur and Thuy-Trang

D-i Studio Mentors Han Meyer, Urbanism Taneha K. Bacchin, Architecture & Urbanism
ir. Stefan de Koning, Architecture
ir. Sjap Holst, Building Technology
dr. Fransje Hooimeijer, Urbanism
dr. Diego Sepulveda, Urbanism
ir. Kristel Aalbers, Urbanism
D-i Teaching Assistant
ir. Filippo laFleur


29th June 2017
09:30 – 12:30
Room BG West 030, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment­­ Han Meyer (Delta Urbanism) Taneha K. Bacchin (Urban Compositions/ Delta Urbanism)

Panel reflection Frist Palmboom
van Eesteren Chair/ Palmbout Urban Landscapes Peter van Veelen
DIMI Urban Deltas
Marcel van der Meijs
Palmbout Urban Landscapes
Pieter Schengenga
H+N+S Landscape Archtiects

Delta Interventions studio will present the research developed jointly with UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design and a synthesis of Architecture and Urbanism Thesis projects in San Francisco Bay, California for the academic year 2016-2017. Parallel to the exhibition, the studio will host a seminar with invited experts to critically reflect on the question of designing adaptation in the North American context and not only.

Delta Interventions Studio 2016-2017 topic was a precursor to the design competition launched in May 2017 San Francisco Bay Area, Resilience by Design by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), California Coastal Conservancy (CCC), San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), San Francisco Bay Area Urban Planning and Research Association (SPUR), City of San Francisco Planning Department and the Resiliency Offices of the Cities of San Francisco and Oakland. Inspired by ‘New York’s Rebuild by Design’ the design competition aims at addressing challenges affecting the resiliency of San Francisco Bay Area neighbourhoods, environment, and infrastructure in an era of climate uncertainty. In collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design, Delta Interventions Studio focused on innovative projects to increase Bay Area’s adaptive capacity and local area performance in response to future uncertainty in climate and urbanisation patterns.

System Thinking – Working with Layers, Times and Scales
Landscape Dynamics, Narratives and Values
Urban Morphology, Performance and Affordances
Landscape Infrastructure Design (Building with Nature – Green/Blue Infrastructures)
Adaptation Pathways
Cultural Heritage and Adaptive Reuse

Delta Interventions Graduation Studio has a strong emphasis on the agency of spatial interventions in the production of territories. The studio investigates the possibilities to combine flood protection and water management strategies with urban design, landscape design and spatial planning, aiming at improving spatial forms and structures in urban and metropolitan delta regions. Part of Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Group, the studio develops design and planning approaches and methods which contribute to make urban delta landscapes more sustainable, attractive and adaptive.

Joint Design Studio Concept
Text by
Prof. Peter Bosselmann
College of Environmental Design/ University of California at Berkeley/ Master Program in the Design of Urban Places/ Urban Places Advanced Studio

San Francisco Bay is a tidal estuary of the Pacific Ocean connected to the inland delta of the Sacramento and San Joachim Rivers. The landform in which the Bay resides has a roughly 500,000 year history. Here estuaries existed 7 times, each time during interglacial periods. In its current form the Bay existed for approximately 8.000 years. Tidal estuaries form a water to land transition zone. By the mid 1800’s the Bay had formed an estuarine to terrestrial transition zone of over 250,000 acres or 110,000 ha. This large area is referred to as the baylands. Prior to urbanisation this transition zone was primarily made up of tidal marshes and tidal mud flats. The use of the baylands changed greatly in the 200 years of urbanisation. Approximately 50.000 acres of reclaimed land were added.  In the year 2000 only 60,000 acres of tidal marshes and tidal flats remained. The baylands in their changed condition still exist at roughly at the same low elevations. It is this transition zone that is most precious as society confronts sea level rise. Here design decisions have to be made. Some designs include tidal marsh restoration that also protects upland conditions from sea level rise. These restorations are referred to as soft edge solutions. Approximately 9,000 acres of restored tidal marshes have been added since 1999. In other areas decisions still have to be made with a current emphasis on restoring the transition zone. That leaves around 84,000 acres where urbanisation has occupied lands close to the water’s edge and where hard edge solutions will be necessary. For the landscape ecologist these 84,000 acres are degraded ecosystems or patches. For an urban designer the design of such patches needs to include human activities, sometimes intensely human, allowing people, sometimes in great numbers, access right up to the water’s edge. It is the design of such places that is most challenging. Residing in proximity to water, overlooking water, stepping down to water, sensing water on approach to the shoreline—these are profoundly human experiences that sustain human life in cities; especially the life of those who live in cities near water. The dichotomy implied in these words between designing in support of natural processes and designing for human needs and values will be reflected in our studio work.

The discussion about the design of the transition zone between water and land has been discussed since 1965, when the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission was established. A more current discussion about the future of the transition zone is only in the beginning stages as the sciences about the consequences of climate change have become better known. The design of the transition zone requires a balance between engineering solutions that protect the functions of communities, and the repair or reconstruction of ecological systems. Cities around San Francisco Bay are discussing adaptation strategies with built-in redundancies. Such strategies introduce multiple and overlapping designs to create redundancy in the defense against flooding. Wherever available space permits, redundancy is preferred over a single line of defense. Redundancy increases safety in the long run.

The danger is that the maps showing projected inundations of the transition zone by some date in the distant or not so distant future will scare society into making major mistakes that would have otherwise never been considered.   I would consider it a mistake, if for example infrastructure funding to improve bridges and highways would make large coastal engineering protection measures feasible without examining more benign interventions. A moveable barrier at the Golden Gate between San Francisco and Marin County would be such a mistake.  Mistakes will be made; an approach to design is necessary that is incremental and allows us to repair mistakes. Much more frequently than in the past, the context of climate change forces designers to ask, how do we repair our designs, if they fail?

To start our work we will travel to different locations around San Francisco Bay. We will draw a transect over the baylands to select locations that are representative of the transition zone between land and water. From such a survey we will select 10 sites that will potentially become the sites for the actual 2017 competition. Individually, or in small groups we will produce “tentative designs”. I have borrowed the term tentative design from Giancarlo di Carlo, the Italian architect and educator who coined the term to clarify that spatial design is like any other form of decision making effort. To approach a decision in the context of many interrelated variables a designer works on spatial solutions to test the implications of decisions made.  Such a process can only be tentative at first, done by a designer who keeps an open mind about initial solutions and understands that revisions and changes will become necessary.




Award Ceremony Archiprix 2017

Archiprix 2017 Prizes. Congratulations Laura!







Our D-i 2015-2016 graduate ir. Laura Langridge, honourable mention Archiprix 2017 with her project: Ivalo River Sandbanks. 

On the banks of the Ivalo River in Finland, 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, time is marked by a unique ritual of seasons. In the far North, summer and winter pass by in extremes, and the turns of the seasons bring forth both beauty and challenge. For the people of Ivalo, time, river and culture are intertwined. While the river represents nourishment, recreation and transport for the village, it equally and critically also represents risk. Seasonal floods threaten to overcome existing engineered barriers, and the village’s current building practices are ill-suited for flood exposure. In response to this context, the project proposes a more passive architectural typology for the floodplain. Heavy stone and concrete bases temper the demands of water and ice, while light wood construction above addresses variations in daylight and the passage of time via weathering and renewal. This strategy is elaborated through a series of small buildings placed independently along sandbanks at the river’s edge. The buildings are uniquely site specific, but as a family they suggest a robust and unified architectural approach for the river in tune with the needs of both the landscape and the culture.


Prijsuitreiking Archiprix 2017_ 17 juni
Koepelgevangenis _ Haarlem Harmenjansweg 4, 2031 WK Haarlem
Andy van den Dobbelsteen (theorie)
Karen de Groot (landschapsarchitectuur)
Frank Havermans (architectuur)
Caro van de Venne (architectuur)
Daan Zandbelt (stedenbouw)