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Constructed Natures | One-day Symposium and Workshop

NASA Holds Media Briefing on Carbon’s Role in Earth’s Future Climate

Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Programme

Constructed Natures
One-day symposium and workshop on extreme ecologies and its design space

05th April 2019
Workshop (EMU European Post-Master in Urbanism, under invitation)
09:00 – 12:30
Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment, TU Delft
Berlagezaal 2

convened by
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin & Filippo LaFleur
Delta Urbanism, TUDelft
Muriz Djurdjevic
& Thomas Paturet



Symposium (public event)
14:00 – 16:30
Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment, TU Delft
Berlagezaal 1

Filippo Lafleur
Delta Urbanism, TUDelft

invited speakers
Daan Zandbelt
Chief Government Advisor on the Built and Rural Environment,
College van Rijksadviseurs

Dirk Sijmons
H+N+S Landscape Architects / TUDelft

Muriz Djurdjevic & Thomas Paturet

convened by
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Delta Urbanism, TUDelft


under the framework of
DIMI Delft Deltas, Infrastructure and Mobility Initiative NEXT-EXTREMES
EMU European Post-Master in Urbanism 
Transitional Territories Studio

Late stage capitalism, with the rise of neoliberal policies and the financialization of the economy, is exacerbating the signs of a system that creates the need for increasing cycles of extraction and production, in contrast with the actual carrying and regenerative capacity of earth systems. The extent of such impact is mostly visible in urban regions, such as the metropolitan landscape of the Randstad, where the urban landscape carpet is increasingly being operationalized to support the material streams for urbanization at the cost of an environment that is constantly being depleted.

Following a recent reconceptualization and discussion to overcome the nature – culture, economy – ecology and urban – rural dichotomy, a year-long project was set to study the extent/ feasibility of the idea that an alternative path for infrastructure and regional development is possible.

As seemingly unrelated fields, ground and atmosphere hold an inseparable bond: The Carbon cycle. Largely overlooked, the capacity of the ground to produce and sustain cycles of decomposition, recycling of organic matter, growth of plants, and carbon sequestration must be explored ‘by design’, in order to unravel possible future urban landscape transformation.

The ground, at the intersection between soil dynamics and atmospherical events, is the materialization of the photosynthetic capacity of the earth and crucial in the regulatory functioning of the carbon cycle, i.e. the major infrastructure sustaining and generating life on the planet. Answering to the most recent inquiries regarding the need of more radical climate adaptation strategies, the project aims at managing processes of change in infrastructure design, implementation and maintenance.

When analyzed diachronically, the history of modern civilization can be understood with a shift of carbon from the subsurface to carbon in the atmosphere, from the ground to the sky. Following this idea, the link between ground and carbon becomes evident.

The year-long project “Constructed Natures and The Architecture of Carbon Sequestration” would like to show and initiate a discourse on the possibilities of constructing nature as a territorial architecture of / for carbon sequestration.

The project generally explored the architecture and cultivation of regional landscapes and waterscapes as a novel or possible approach to infrastructure and public works. The outcomes of the project will be discussed with invited scholars and practioners in a one-day workshop and symposium


The symposium is organised by the Delta Urbanism Research Group under the framework of NEXT-EXTREMES, DIMI Delft Deltas, Infrastructures and Mobility Initiative in collaboration with the EMU European Post-master in Urbanism and Transitional Territories Graduation Studio.


Programme Symposium

Introduction by Taneha K. Bacchin
DIMI NEXT-EXTREMES Research Project Leader
Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Program, TU Delft

Lecture by Dirk Sijmons
H+N+S Landscape Architects

Lecture by Muriz Djurdjevic & Thomas Paturet
Atlas of Places

Short break

Key-note lecture by Filippo LaFleur
DIMI NEXT-EXTREMES Principal Investigator
Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Program, TU Delft

Concluding lecture and final remarks by Daan Zandbelt
College van Rijksadviseurs

Closing/ Drinks



Panorama NL
Daan Zandbelt

Panorama Nederland is a future perspective for the spatial design of the Netherlands. It shows how the major social issues of today can be the key to welcome, structural improvements in the future. An optimistic and attractive picture of the future. The Netherlands faces a number of complex issues. Climate change, the aging society, the switch to renewable energy, the acute shortage of housing and the sustainability of agriculture. Each and every one of which we will all experience the consequences, in our landscape and in our lifestyle. With Panorama Nederland, the Board of Government Advisors sketches an optimistic and attractive picture of the future. A Netherlands that remains extremely recognizable for everyone, but that works fundamentally differently in all kinds of areas. It is up to the imagination, the desire as an engine.

— Daan Zandbelt (MSc) (1975) graduated with honorable mention from Delft University of Technology as an architect and urbanist and studied in Chicago at UIC. During his studies he organized INDESEM’98. In 2002 he founded Zandbelt&vandenBerg, architecture and urban design, in Rotterdam with Rogier van den Berg. The office operated succesfully for ten years with a team of around 10 employees. It estabislished a recognized position in the Dutch ecosystem of offices in urbanism and architecture. In 2013 Daan founded ZAUD (Zandbelt Architecture Urbanism & Design) an office for architecture and urbanism, in which he conducted projects in the same fields. In 2014 he joined as a partner De Zwarte Hond, an office for architecture and urbanism based in Rotterdam, Groningen and Cologne. From 2003 till 2016 he was part of the Chair of Metropolitan and Regional Design at Delft University of Technology, where he was assistant professor. Since 2016 Daan is ‘rijksadviseur’, government Advisor on the Built and Rural Environment. As such he advises the National Government and its partners solicited and solicited on spatial issues.He is part of Quality teams that supervise keyprojects such as the revitalization of the Afsluitdijk and the stations of the Zuidas (the Dutch CBD) and Schiphol airport. He sets out research-by-design projects to promote new fields of interest for the national government. And last but not least, last year, he launched Panorama Nederland with the CRa, to promote spatial planning at the national level and as an input for the new National Plan (NOVI).


“Overexploited Territories”
Muriz Djurdjevic & Thomas Paturet

“Our intervention aims at confronting the classical debates for and against the primacy of economy and employment, against the argument for maintaining landscapes and ecosystems intact. Should we exploit or maintain? Parallel to this argument exists the discussion around the benefits for local versus national populations, global or European interests. What our research shows is that planning (whether it be on land or on sea) is never truly biased, regardless of the efforts by the concerned actors to provide neutrality. In the end, it amounts to a political process linked to a specific paradigm or logic. Our work intents to raise questions and generate ideas on how the exploitation, using the the Baltic Sea as case, could be organised so humans can adequately manage and use the resources offered by the sea; today and in the future. Planning will become crucial in the Baltic Sea where user pressures are currently relatively manageable but are expected to witness a strong shift in the years to come.”

— Muriz Djurdjevic & Thomas Paturet graduated in 2016 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne under the supervision of the Laboratory Basel. Their thesis “Atlas of Overexploited Territories – Baltic Sea” was exhibited at the 2016 Venice Biennale within the Baltic Pavilion. In 2016 it won the “Best Énoncé Théorique” prize awarded by the Architecture Faculty of the EPFL. Their master project “Voyage au centre de la mer, vers un archipel industriel,” follow-up of their thesis, won the Arditi Prize for the Best Diploma Project at the EPFL as well as an Anerkennung Next Generation Prize at the Swiss Arc-Awards. It was published in the “Archizoom BestOf 2016” and the “Graduate Directory 2017” in Wallpaper* Magazine. Since 2016, Muriz works at Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland. Former editor at ATLAS OF PLACES, he now curates the collective HdM Pills proposing an alternative reading of Herzog & de Meuron’s work. Since 2017, Thomas works at MADE IN in Geneva and as a teaching assistant for the Charbonnet-Heiz Studio at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He is also the editor of the online journal ATLAS OF PLACES.


“Mobilis in Mobile”
Dirk Sijmons

In this talk, Dirk Sijmons outlines the implications of the observation that we are living in the age of mankind, the Anthropocene. Four philosophical approaches towards the Antropocene are identified (Denialism, Eco-Modernism, Post-Humanism and Anthropocentrism 2.0) and the future political energy between these approaches are briefly sketched. The four stances are illustrated with examples from design and popular culture showing how they could function as navigating tools in a new geological era.*

*The talk was originally presented under the framework of ‘School’s Out! #2’ on Friday 22 February 2019, at the Independent School for the City.

— Prof. Dirk Sijmons, landscape architect, studied at Delft University of Technology. He worked at the Nature Conservation unit of the Ministry of Culture, Recreation and Social work from 1977 until 1981. From 1981 until 1984 he was head of the strategic policy development and research coordination unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries. From 1984 until 1990 he was head of the Landscape Architecture Department of the Dutch Forestry Commission. From 1990 until 1993 he was coordinator of the Landscape Architecture study programme of the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. In 1990 he was one of the three founders of H+N+S Landscape Architects. In 2004 Dirk Sijmons was appointed Dutch Government Advisor on Landscape. He received the prestigious Edgar Doncker award in 2007 for his contribution to Dutch culture. From 2008 until 2015 Sijmons was professor of Environmental Design at Delft University of Technology. In 2014 he was the chief curator of IABR ‘Urban by Nature’. In 2017 he received the prestigious premier award for Landscape Architecture, the IFLA – Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award – the highest honourable carrier prize for contribution in the field of Landscape Architecture.


“Constructed Natures”
Filippo LaFleur

Following a recent reconceptualization and discussion to overcome the nature – culture, economy – ecology and urban – rural dichotomy, a year-long project was set to study the extent/ feasibility of the idea that an alternative path for infrastructure and regional development is possible. As seemingly unrelated fields, ground and atmosphere hold an inseparable bond: The Carbon cycle. Largely overlooked, the capacity of the ground to produce and sustain cycles of decomposition, recycling of organic matter, growth of plants, and carbon sequestration must be explored ‘by design’, in order to unravel possible future urban landscape transformation. In this talk, Filippo LaFleur presents the precedents and recent outcomes of the year-long project on the Architecture of Carbon Sequestration as an envisioned take on infrastructure design and ecology under extremes. 

— Filippo LaFleur has been a researcher at the Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft since 2015. He is principal investigator within the Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Group under the frameworks of Transitional Territories Studio and DIMI Delft Deltas Infrastructure and Mobility Initiative ‘Special Projects’. His interest lies at the intersection between landscape, urbanism and ecology in regards to spatial and temporal transformations of both land and maritime landscapes. Through projects he investigates interrelations between natural processes, societal practices, and (geo)political dynamics. He has a strong emphasis on the agency of spatial interventions and on the role of representation and design as research instruments.


“There is no place but here”
Taneha K. Bacchin

Our actions are being guided by extremes and by scarcity mentality that profoundly shape and reduce our vision of the environment’s future: radical climatic changes, extreme weather conditions, natural disasters’ higher frequency, increase in average temperatures and sea levels rises are often matched with lack of knowledge, resources, insight and action. This mindset is what shapes the unlikelihood of mitigating carbon emissions, restoring the extent of polluted grounds and increasing the supply of depleted resources. What we see is the rising of narratives and dialogues on the impossibility of life as we know it, the loss of any form of (re)assurance, where few trajectories of change seem to unfold and intersect: acceptance and release, nihilism and inaction, continuing repair or retreat, and finally novelty by means of a creative revolution are at the center of discourses. All debatable. 
If architecture cannot produce life but simply frame it by affording and/or constraining movements within a given environment and time, what is the design space that is left in each of these trajectories? Can we still act without the weight of self-criticism and the fear of failure?

This brief introduction aims at setting the stage of the invited talks, ranging from a historical and philosophical reading of navigating the anthropocene (Dirk Sijmons), to an architectural and political position on overexploited territories (Muriz Djurdjevic & Thomas Paturet), and finally to the emancipation (or radical take) of spatial design by constructing new natures (Filippo LaFleur) and portraying an optimistic/ attractive  future Panorama (Daan Zandbelt). 

— Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin is an architect, researcher and educator. She is Assistant Professor in Urban Design, Research Leader and Coordinator of Education of the Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Group at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft. She leads the Transitional Territories Graduation Studio and, together with Birgit Hausleitner, the EMU European Post-Master in Urbanism Spring Semester. Her research focuses on the relation between landscape architecture, infrastructure and urban form. Her current projects deal with the changing nature of the territorial project addressing extreme weather and resource scarcity. She is committee member of the International Water Association and serves as reviewer for several water journals. Her work has been funded internationally and exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2002, and 2018, and São Paulo Biennale 2013. Her upcoming books are Bio-Territoriality: the Architecture and Politics of Urban Nature, and Adaptation by Design, together with Filippo LaFleur. 


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

Recent PhD Defenses – Delta Urbanism

We are very much glad to share the accomplishment of three PhD Thesis successfully defended in the past months.
Warmest congratulations to our dear Doctors Yuting Tai, Veronica Zagare, and Anne Loes Nillesen!


Pearl River Delta – Courtesy NASA. Image created by Jesse Allen Landsat 3 MSS data provided by the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility. Landsat 7 ETM+ data provided courtesy of the Landsat Project Science Office, NASA/GSFC. Yuting Tai
PhD thesis:
‘Changing Values on Water in Delta Cities. The case of Guangzhou in China’s Pearl River Delta’.
Promotor: V.J. Meyer  
Dr. L. Qu
Defence date:
11th September 2018





Parana Delta Courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODISRapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC Veronica Zagare
PhD thesis:
‘The dichotomy of urbanising deltas: Towards a method of planning and design. The case of Lower Parana Delta, Argentina’.
Promotor: V.J. Meyer
Dr. D.A. Sepulveda Carmona
Defence date:
17th October 2018




Dutch Delta – Courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC Anne Loes Nillesen
PhD thesis:
‘Spatial quality as a decisive criterium in flood risk strategies. An integrated approach for flood risk strategy’.
Promotor: V.J. Meyer
Copromotor: M. Kok
Defence date:
7th January 2019

Territory as a Project | Parliament of the North Sea. One-day Symposium and Exhibition

Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2018-2019 — North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Programme DIMI Delft Deltas, Infrastructure & Mobility Initiative under the framework of NEXT-EXTREMES: Constructed Natures Presents: Territory as a Project 2nd one-day symposium and exhibition on extreme ecologies, urbanisation and forms… Read More

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

The Port and the Fall of Icarus – A project for the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2018 


‘The Port and the Fall of Icarus’ installation at Riva dei Sette Martiri for the Dutch Pavilion ‘Work, Body, Leisure’. © Igreg Studio









‘The Port and the Fall of Icarus’ #Harbour for the Extended Program Dutch Pavilion ‘Work, Body, Leisure’. © Igreg Studio









The Port and the Fall of Icarus

A project for the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2018

Logistics originates and learns from our lives, our movements, and our desires. Frantically but efficiently, it makes connections in a laborious paranoia. It establishes associations through the aggregation of data and the expansion of infrastructure. However, no single body is really able to control logistics and, like a scientific experiment gone wrong, a monster has been conjured beyond the control of its dispersed creators.*

Free spaces of trade, storage, and distribution are transformed into centres of detention and expulsion for labourers; whose bodies are not only controlled by the automated machinery and robots but are also dominated by the obscure desires of the others.

Logistics today is a biopolitical apparatus.

This biopolitical machine is founded on the division of life, into biological life and political life. The same means of division however, is precisely what permits one to construct the unity of life: a life that is not separated from its form. As the contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben puts it, such form of life is not defined by its relation to a work, but rather by a potential, and by ‘inoperativity’: that is, a mode in which it is maintained in relation to a pure potential in a work, where life and its form, private and public enter into a threshold of indifference; wherein the question is neither life nor work but happiness.

“Work is an instrument to reach the truth, but inoperativity (laziness) is the real truth of mankind.”
Kazimir Malevich, 1921


The Port and the Fall of Icarus is part of the extended program of the Dutch Pavilion, ‘Work, Body, Leisure’, for the Venice Biennale 2018, curated by Marina Otero Verzier. The project 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 Creative Industries Fund NL, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Venice, LDE Center for Metropolis and Mainport, TU Delft DIMI– Delft Deltas, Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative, and L’Ermitage.


A project by:
Hamed Khosravi
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Filippo LaFleur

In collaboration with:
Miles Gertler
Baktash Sarang Javanbakht
Alessandro Pedron

Modeling and design assistant:
Mariapaola Michelotto

Graphic design (posters):

Igreg Studio

Photographic essays:
Giovanna Silva

Publisher (book):
Humboldt Books

Commissioned by:
Het Nieuwe Instituut, produced in collaboration with and supported by Creative Industries Fund NL

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Urbanism, TUDelft

* The Logistics manifesto is developed in part by Hamed Khosravi, Francesco Marullo, and Amir Djalali for the Architecture of Fulfilment at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2014

For full information please visit:

D-i 2017-2018 Seminars – n.12: Becoming Infrastructural



















Monday, February 19th 2018, we are hosting our ‘Seminar Series n.12
Delta Interventions Studio North-Sea Landscapes of Coexistence’:

Becoming Infrastructural
Monday, February 19th — 14:00 – 16:00
Berlagezaal 1 — Faculty of Architecture , TUDelft
dr. Rossi Exo Adams
Assistant Professor of Architecture, College of Design – Iowa State University USA

“It is hard to imagine how the many ruptures that have occurred in the composition of whatever may be called “normality” today do not render canonical architectural knowledge a distant constellation, receding from our present. Nor is it difficult to see how such ruptures are themselves a stern reminder of our need for new forms of knowledge altogether—forms that reject the assurances of a professionalized architectural discourse, and that call instead for a new horizon of common, intersectional and necessarily partisan modes of inquiry. For, what do the ongoing events of climate change, the displacement of peoples across the surface of the earth, the emboldening of racist violence, or the neocolonial plunder of the natural world have in common if not an emerging struggle over how the figure of the human in the world is to be understood?
The figure of the human body has played a consistent role throughout history in both the way space is imagined and how power finds its form. There is a history, yet to be written, in which key representations of the human body at once call into existence and justify certain modes of government while simultaneously suggesting ideal ways to organize the spaces of the world. Yet representations of the body that dominate any given period not only offer an ideal: they must also conceal secrets by which the masses of real, fleshy bodies may be governed; they must at once offer an exemplary figure and its inherent flaw or defect—both a universal truth to guide bodies and a ubiquitous site of intervention through which to coerce them.
This is also a spatial matter: if the body can suggest certain inherent principles of justice and order by which to best organize human life, the body will inevitably inscribe itself into the spaces, architectures, and worlds of human experience. Representations of the human body, we might say, are coded diagrams that collect certain knowledges of the human condition in order to grant access to the ways in which power and space intersect.”

More information at:

This seminar is part of the MSc3-4 Seminar Series of D-i 2017-2018 Graduation Studio

1. Re-Nature
Taneha Bacchin

2. Lowlands/ Coastal Design
Han Meyer & Janneke van Bergen

3. On Representation
Stefano Milani

4. The Limits of the City
Nicola Marzot

5. Coastal Landscapes
Stefan Aarninkhof

6. Ecologies of Power
Hamed Khosravi

7. Ways of Seeing
Frits Palmboom

8. On Perception
Catherine Vennart

9. Layers, Times, Scales
Han Meyer

10. North Sea Odyssey
Dirk Sijmons

11. The Agency of the Section
Fransje Hooimeijer

12. Becoming Infrastructural
Roos Exo Adams

13. Grounding deregulation and contemporary warfare
Nick Axel

14. Scapes
Giovanna Silva

Territory as a Project – Extreme Ecologies, Infrastructure, and Forms of Life. One-day Symposium and Exhibition

Delta Interventions Graduation Studio 2017-2018 — North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence
Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Programme
DIMI Deltas, Infrastructure & Mobility Initiative


One-day Symposium and Exhibition on Extreme Ecologies, Infrastructure, and Forms of Life 

Territory as a Project

11th December 2017
09:30 – 17:30
Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment, TU Delft
Berlagezaal 1&2

— The Day in Pictures

Until recently, territory designated space as a project and as a resource that mainly concerned corporations and institutions. In most early modern European countries, the spaces of everyday life, of artisanal production and local commercial exchanges, were gradually integrated into territories through private commercial and state endeavours ranging from the development of long-range trade routes to the construction of transportation infrastructures. Trade often paved the way for territorial enterprises.

As a project, territory was synonymous with an ideal of the easy circulation of men and goods, an ideal that the Enlightenment would also translate in intellectual and social terms by relating this easy physical circulation with the abandonment of former prejudices and the promotion of social mobility.

Another understanding of this is to characterise territory as space mastered and policed by institutions and corporations.

Through this process, which was analogous to that which led to the ‘death of nature’ in the 17th century, territorialised space became synonymous with a set of passive resources. Just like nature, space gradually lost part of its former vital dimension, with its somewhat feminine connotation of primeval fecundity, in order to become fully measurable, quantifiable and exploitable.

The perception of territory was made possible by the distance that separated the administrator or the professional in charge of its management and transformation and the various geographical places that it comprised. Landscape appeared also as the product of distance, but whereas territorial awareness presupposed a certain degree of interest or even greed, landscape sensitivity, at least according to Kantian aesthetics, was inseparable from disinterestedness.

Such disinterestedness was, for instance, at the core of the Romantic attitude towards natural scenery that a painting like Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘Wanderer above a Sea of Fog’ conveys particularly well.

Contrary to what is often assumed by historiography, territory and landscape, in their traditional meanings, represented distinct and complementary perspectives, both based on an estrangement from immediate experience. The mental attitudes that lay at the core of their perception could not be more different one from another.

Often using the same remote point of view, the territorial entrepreneur charted resources where the landscape amateur experienced disinterested emotions.

The emergence of an environmental approach at the end of the 19th century could have led to a radical critique of the type of distance that was thus presupposed. Jacob von Uexküll’s notion of ‘Umwelt’ was precisely based on the refusal to consider such a distance between living beings and their environment. Uexküll’s Umwelt was all about how living beings perceive their environment, a perception involving intimate and permanent exchange between them and their surroundings.

What happened to territory? It used to be synonymous with a distant, planning, almost scheming gaze. It now appears with an immediacy bordering immanence.

In continuity with it, architecture has no longer to defend its status vis-à-vis planning by asserting the shaping power of the built object. Seen as an integral component of territory, architecture is expected to perform with an efficiency and effectiveness that used to be reserved for living beings or machines.

From environmental behaviour to the production of affects bridging the former split between object and subject, contemporary architectural performalism is intimately linked to this new territorial dimension.

Such an evolution does not only present advantages; it is also accompanied by new ambiguities. The main ones have probably to do with the political dimension. Territory used to be associated with administrative action. It was in particular often related to the construction of the nation-state. What are the political forces at work in the new fields explored by designers today?

 *Excerpt from ‘What has happened to territory?’ by Antoine Picon published in Architectural Design Special Issue: Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment, May/June 2010, 94–99.

Dr. Arch. Hamed Khosravi
Dr. Arch. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Geert van der Meulen
Elise van Herwaarden
Gerben van den Oever
(Delta Interventions Graduation Studio)


Welcome by Dr. Taneha K. Bacchin and Dr. Hamed Khosravi
Delta Interventions Studio (Delta Urbanism Research Group), TU Delft

Lecture by Dr. Marina Otero Verzier
Head of Research and Development at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam
Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London

Exhibition Opening and Discussions
Delta Interventions Graduation Studio 2017-2018 ’North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence’

Lecture by Dr. Godofredo Pereira
Head of Environmental Architecture Programme, Royal College of Art, London
Senior Researcher at the Forensic Architecture, London

Lunch Break

Lecture by Dr. Pier Vittorio Aureli
Head of City/Architecture PhD programme, and Studio Master Diploma 14 at the  Architectural Association, School of Architecture, London
Louis I. Kahn Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven

Round Table Discussion and Final Remarks

Closing/ Drinks



“Roving Institutions: Architectures for the democratization of the metropolitan cultural condition, or propaganda machines”
The construction of transportable urban environments had been embraced throughout the 20th century by cultural institutions as a mechanism to mitigate the growing imbalance between the countryside and the metropolis.

By enhancing the movement of people, information, goods, and capital throughout the territory, projects such as the Misiones Pedagógicas (Spain), 1931-1936, the Cátedra Ambulante Francisco Franco (Spain), 1939-1977, or The Centre Pompidou Mobile (France), 2011-2013, responded to the interest in injecting urban dynamics in culturally isolated areas. The multi-scalar architecture of these institutions in flux was materialized in standing structures, but also in larger entanglements between spaces, territories and individuals articulated around these circulatory processes.
This lecture aims to shed light on how these mobile infrastructures were designed to carry information services, education and entertainment, as well as diverse political ideologies; how were conceived as a mechanism of social order, and a tool for urban development, and nation-building processes.

— Dr. Marina Otero Verzier is an architect based in Rotterdam, where she is Head of Research and Development at Het Nieuwe Instituut. Previously she was Chief Curator of the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 with the After Belonging Agency. From 2011-2015 Otero was based in New York, where she was Director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia-GSAPP. She is currently teaching at ETSAM, and has taught seminars and studios at ETSAM, Barnard College, and Columbia GSAPP.


“Nation-building from below”
The presentation will look at the relation between nature and political projects by tracing how the Venezuelan bolivarian government has shifted the political role of oil, from an invisible source of power –the Magical State- into a central object of politics. In particular it will focus the geopolitical, territorial and social imaginations that in the case of Venezuela, have emerged around extractive practices, including the Gran Gasoducto del Sur project, a proposal of a 5,000km pipeline connecting the Orinoco oil belt to Buenos Aires. Drawing comparisons with contemporary disputes around resource extraction in Chile and in Nigeria the presentation will focus the role that certain objects from the underground have in the re-imagination of collective politics, and on the isomorphic relations that ground the revolution: Venezuela=Bolívar; Bolívar=oil; oil=the people. Finally, it will be argued that the underground has in itself become a resource: a potential for the constant emergence of territorial and architectural projects.

— Dr. Godofredo Enes Pereira is the course leader for the MA in Environmental Architecture and teaches ADS7 Ecologies of Existence design studio at the RCA, where he also leads the Architecture and Social Movements Research group. His doctoral research ‘The Underground Frontier: Technoscience and Collective Politics’ investigated political and territorial conflicts within the planetary race for underground resources. He is a member of Forensic Architecture where he led the Atacama Desert project; and was the curator of the exhibition Object / Project (Lisbon Architecture Triennial, 2016).


“Territory and Primitive (and On-going) Accumulation”
To settle is one of the primary forms of land appropriation and the primary form for architecture. In the settlement architecture reveals its most fundamental capacities, such as to orient, to limit and to define distances and proximities. While the act of settling expresses a desire for stability and sense of orientation, settlements always confront situations of crisis, disorder and failure. Here the politicisation of architecture is no longer ‘discursive’ but instead embedded in the very material constitution of its elements: walls, passages, rooms and streets. Especially in times of danger, crisis, warfare and colonisation, ‘to settle’ becomes a mechanism for social mobilisation. It helps us to define and reproduce specific forms of life. In this sense, the settlement is the architecture of the territory. Limits, boundaries, thresholds, topography, topology, logistics and infrastructure become direct indexes of the way political forces directly inform human subjectivity.

While the concept of ‘territory’ is today taken for granted as the concrete ground in which we live, its political and cultural genealogy is very complex and yet relatively recent. By territory we mean the concrete – physical – trace of man’s forms of life. By using the term ‘territory’ rather than ‘city’ we imply that this physical evidence transcends the traditional dichotomy city-countryside and goes beyond the physical, political and juridical discriminations that make the concept of the city.

A first step towards the definition of ‘The architecture of the Territory’ is to think urbanization no longer as the ‘natural’ fate of society but as a historical process whose traces can be defined in the way in which the modern city has come into being. In ancient times a territory was a vast open-ended realm within which the first cities were isolated human settlements. Yet already at this stage the territory is interpreted as a canvas in which topographic features such as mountains, rivers, plateaus, islands are not just ‘places’ to inhabit or to use as resources, but points of reference that orient the settlers.

— Dr. Pier Vittorio Aureli is the head of the City/Architecture PhD Programme at the Architectural Association, Louis Kahn Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture at Yale University, and the author of The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (2011) and The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Architecture (2008). Pier is co-founder of Dogma, an architectural studio based in Brussels and focused on the project of the city; his research and projects focus on the relationship between architectural form, political theory and urban history.

*There are limited places available for the event. Please register by sending email to
Elise van Herwaarden: elisevanherwaarden(at)


Landscapes in Transition – International Seminar TUDelft & MIT

Delta Interventions – Interdisciplinary Graduation Studio 2017-2018
Delta Urbanism Research Program

Seminar: Landscapes in Transition
06th October 2017
16:30 – 18:30

Berlage 1, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Design Studios Talk
organised by
Delta Urbanism/ Delta Interventions Studio, TUD
North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence
Taneha Bacchin, Hamed Khosravi

Urban Design Studio, MIT
Cities by Sea: Urbanism in the Age of Sea Level Rise
Rafi Segal, Alan Berger, Jonah Susskind

Urban Systems Studio, Dalhousie Architecture School – Halifax/ Canada
Catherine Venart


16:30 – 17:00
‘Ways of Seeing’
Frist Palmboom (TUD/ PALMBOUT Urban Landscapes)

D-i Graduate Students

Taneha Bacchin (TUD)
Hamed Khosravi (TUD)
Stefano Milani, Nicola Marzot, Diego Sepulveda, Filippo laFleur (TUD)

17:00 – 18:00
‘Landscapes in Transition’
Han Meyer (TUD)
Alan Berger (MIT)

Seminar host by Delta Interventions Studio North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence welcoming the visit of the Urban Design Studio ‘Cities by Sea: Urbanism in the Age of Sea Level Rise’, led by  Rafi Segal, Alan Berger, Jonah Susskind — MIT.  

D-i Studio will briefly present the first results of the research design on the North Sea, being developed jointly with the Urban Systems Studio, Dalhousie Architecture School – Halifax/ Canada, for the academic year 2017-2018.