All posts tagged “research

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)


NEXT-EXTREMES Shortlisted – World Architecture Festival Inaugural Research Prize

With great pleasure we announce that our new project: NEXT EXTREMES: Constructed Natures and the Architecture of Extremes has been selected in the shortlisted projects for the WAF World Architecture Festival, in the category: Water Research Prize.

The WAF Research Programme has been launched to promote the ideas highlighted in the WAFX Manifesto, marking the first ten years of WAF. The manifesto identified key challenges architects will need to address over the next ten years, comprising Water; Climate, Energy and Carbon; Ageing and Health; Re-use; Smart City Technology; Power and Justice; Cultural Identity; Ethics and values; Building Technology and Virtual Worlds.

The first of these categories open for entries is WATER, supported by WAF headline partner GROHE. The WAF Research Programme will reward first-class thought leadership, innovation and research initiatives.

Paul Finch, Programme Director of World Architecture Festival commented: “Water scarcity, security and resilience are acutely pressing issues across the world, and innovative, forward-looking design solutions are vital in addressing them. “We had an amazing response from architects and universities when we launched the prize. Most of the 60 proposals we received featured interesting and innovative ideas, and the shortlist of 12 are exceptional, as is the geographical spread of the entries.”

NEXT has the objective of developing a new set of design principles following a reconceptualisation of the field of infrastructure and environment in planning, engineering and design that are responsive to new societal, economic and environmental conditions.

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.

It thus explores the architecture and cultivation of regional land/waterscapes—as a novel/ possible approach to infrastructure and public works

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.

NEXT-EXTREMES is coordinated by A+BE: Delta Urbanism (Urban Design Theory & Methods, Environmental Technology & Design, Landscape Architecture).

Project leader: Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin; Principal Investigator: Filippo LaFleur

North Sea Landscapes of Coexistence – Final Symposium

North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence 2017-2018 Graduation Studio Projects location.


















Delta Interventions Graduation Studio 2017-2018 — North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence
Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Programme

One-day Symposium and Exhibition 

North Sea Landscapes of Coexistence
Transitional Spaces, Infrastructure, and Power

12th July 2018
13:30 – 17:30
Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment, TU Delft
Berlagezaal 1&2

— The day in Pictures

“Only if we place ourselves inside this world will we be able to recognise as one particular arrangement the choice of existents and their ways of connecting that we call Nature/Culture and that has served for a long time to format our collective understanding (…). Ecology clearly is not the interruption of nature into public space but the end of “nature” as a concept that would allow us to sum up our relations to the world and pacify them. What makes us ill, justifiably, is the sense that Old Regime is coming to an end. The concept of “nature” now appears as a truncated, simplified, exaggeratedly moralistic, excessively polemical, and prematurely political version of the otherness of the world to which we must open ourselves if we are not to become collectively mad – alienated. Following the Western understanding, “nature” has made the world uninhabitable. (Therefore) the operation comes down to reopening the two canonical questions: what existents have been chosen, and what forms of existence have been preferred?”

 *Excerpt from ‘Facing Gaia – Eight Lectures on the New Climate Regime’ by Bruno Latour published Polity Press, 2017


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

Curatorial team:
Geert van der Meulen
Elise van Herwaarden
Gerben van den Oever
Neil Moncrieff
Alexandra Farmazon
Aikaterina Myserli
Ailsa Craigen
(Delta Interventions Graduation Studio)


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

Opening Lecture by Dr. Platon Issaias
Ecologies of Existence
Royal College of Art, School of Architecture, London

Short Pitches Graduation Projects Delta Interventions Graduation Studio 2017-2018
Projects divided into 4 Groups, according to 4 geographies:

1. NL North-West Coast, Wadden Sea
2. NL South-West Coast, Dutch-Flemish Delta

Intermezzo by Dr. Hamed Khosravi
Landscapes of Coexistence

Short Break

3. Norway South-West Coast
4. UK South-East Coast, Thames Estuary

Discussions and final reflections
Moderated by Dr. Hamed Khosravi

Closing Lecture by Prof. Dirk Sijmons
2050 An Energetic  Odyssey / Seascape Architecture
H+N+S Landscape Architects / North Sea Lab / TUDelft

Final Remarks / Discussion around the exhibition tables



“Ecologies of Existence – Architecture and Modes of Living”
Ecologies of living bring together material, environmental, technical, social and mental domains. To think ecologically is not so much a matter of protecting existing ecologies, but more importantly, a matter of generating conditions for different ones to emerge and affirm themselves. Only on these terms can a properly ecological project take place.

— Dr. Platon Issaias is an architect. He studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece and he holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft. His thesis investigated the recent history of planning in Athens and the link between conflict, urban management and architectural form. His research interests explore architecture in relation to the politics of labour, law and social reform. Prior to the RCA, he taught at the Berlage Institute/Rotterdam and since 2012 at the MArch Urban Design at the Bartlett. Platon lectures in Greece and internationally, and his research has been published in many occasions, among others in DOMUS, Quaderns and the catalogues of the Greek entries in the 13th and the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale. He is the co-author of the book The City as a Project, published in autumn 2013 by Ruby Press, Berlin, edited by Pier Vittorio Aureli. In the summer of 2014, he participated in the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale with the collective project Mechanism of Suspension, which was exhibited at the Greek Pavilion and the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

“2050 An Energetic Odyssey / Seascape Architecture”
2050 – An Energetic Odyssey is a research by design on the possibilities, opportunities, and spatial implications of the realisation of large-scale harvesting, transportation and storage of renewable energy sources on and around the North Sea. This project demonstrates the role the North Sea could play in meeting the globally agreed two-degree target. The project seeks to conceptualise a new development strategy where meaningful and productive connections between Ecology, Energy and Proteins (Ecologie, Eiwitten & Energie) are designed, thus maximazing broad societal gain in the long run.

— 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.

Delta Interventions Graduation Studio 2017-2018

Ailsa Craigen/ Deniz Üstem/ Efrain Fajardo Ibarra/ Elise van Herwaarden/ Fathima Nafeesa Hamza/ Gerben van den Oever/ Joanna Kosowicz/ Julia Holtland/ Karlijn Scholtens/ Mihai Turtoi/ Xiaoyue Hu
Aikaterina Myserli / Alexandra Farmazon/ Jan Michael Cyganski/ Jie Wang/ Junzhong Chen/ Neil Moncrieff/ Niroopa/ Qing Ma/ Shaoning Wu/ Ye Hu/ Yelin Zhang/ Yi-Chuan Huang/ Wenxin Jin
Landscape Architecture
Malou Visser
Water Management
Geert van der Meulen

Instructors/ Mentors
Architecture & Urbanism
 Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin Hamed Khosravi
ir. Stefano Milani
 (Responsible Instructor for Architecture & Public Building)
 Nicola Marzot
 Fransje Hooimeijer
dr. Diego Carmona Sepulveda
ir. Kristel Aalbers
ir. Filippo laFleur
Landscape Architecture
 Inge Bobbink
dr. Steffen Nijhuis
Denise Piccinini
Building Technology
ir. Sjap Holst

Student Assistant
Elise van Herwaarden

In collaboration with/ invited Design Critics
RCA Royal College of Art, London
AA School Architecture, London
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
Het Nieuwe Instituut

Joint Design Studio with
Dalhousie Architecture School – Halifax/ Canada