Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2020-2021 / Inland Seaward
Transitional Territories is an interdisciplinary design studio focusing on the notion of territory as a constructed project across scales, subjects and media. In particular, the studio focuses on the agency of design in territories at risk between land and water (maritime, riverine, delta landscapes), and the dialectical (or inseparable) relation between nature and culture. The studio explores through cross-disciplinary knowledge (theory, material practice, design and representation) pathways of inquiry and action by building upon Delta Urbanism research tradition, yet moving beyond conventional methods and concepts. During the graduation year, students develop an analytic, critical and conceptual approach to design by means of system and data analysis, critical cartography, scenario planning and new media. The scales of individual projects vary from buildings and (infra)structures to entire landscapes and regions. The theoretical discourse to which the studio refers includes notions of critical zones, territorialism, infrastructure space, (landscape) ecology, environmental risk and transition theory. The studio builds upon a collaborative platform (science, engineering, technology and arts) on ways of seeing, mapping, projecting change and critically acting on urbanized landscapes. At the core of the Delta Urbanism Research Group (Section of Urban Design), the studio is embedded within/and supported by the interdisciplinary TU Delft Delta Futures Lab, working in close collaboration with the Faculties of Civil Engineering and Geosciences and Technology, Policy and Management (TUD).
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Luisa Maria Calabrese
Instructors | Mentors
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Diego Sepulveda Carmona
Lucas Meneses Di Gioia Ferreira
Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Environmental Technology & Design
Spatial Planning and Strategy
Applied Geology (Coastal Morphology)(Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)
Diploma 9 will continue to expose territorial and institutional crises. Through spatial diagnostics and multi-scaled architectural strategies, the unit will advocate for territorial transformations and institutional adjustments. As spatial crises are numerous and complex, we will focus our attention on those related to ‘economies of life’.
If our fossil-fuelled economies consume and exhaust common resources, the economies of life nurture and enhance them; they include those of care, culture, and resource management. Most trends indicate that we must live in ever-growing cities supplied by an ever-intensifying countryside, yet this polar acceleration has produced an imbalance in which large swathes of our territories are overlooked, uncared for and abandoned. DIP9 posits that somewhere between robotic AI farming and smart-ish cities lies another territorial paradigm on which to implement economies of life and reimagine forms of societal, economic, and environmental occupation. This paradigm, a third territorial attractor, must be reclaimed, designed, and fiercely defended.
Our ambition is two-fold. First, we will study the current architectural forms and territorial organisations of these economies of life, critically positioning ourselves vis-a-vis ongoing and future policies. Second, we will design architectural strategies that adapt, transform, relocate, or create economies of life, establishing a network of units through mobility and connectivity to articulate the third territorial attractor.
We will respond to much needed questions of collective responsibility towards our environment with projects that mediate between territories, institutions, and citizens. Spatial crises have far-reaching consequences for how we live and occupy space that need to be urgently diagnosed, confronted, and responded to.
The impact of climate change on everyday sport.
Too much emphasis is placed on sport as achievement space, which makes this essential economy of life inaccessible to ordinary lives.
Sport compresses normal space, bringing together people who would normally be unlikely to meet. Today it has become the main medium of collective identification in an era where other areas of social life are struggling. However too much emphasis is placed on sport as achievement space. Today the places of sport are becoming increasingly rational, less like play and more like display, consuming large amount of resources. How rarely do we consider the effect of the climate crisis on something that we love to play and watch? This proposal adopts a postmodern approach, repositioning the city as a stage for sport. Reducing the environmental impact of sport while also forming a network of third spaces across a territory that support social reproduction. Set in London's Borough of Newham that comprises of only 13% publicly accessible open space compared to the greater London average of 39%. This project uses sport to reclaim the city reworking these environments into something much more human than their architect has originally planned. It is standard practice to pedestrianized streets for commerce, so why not for sport?
Every year, more than 200 million tonnes of minerals are extracted from the UK landmass for sale, and 25 million tonnes are added back – as waste from the construction industry alone. We are set to triple material extraction in 30 years, and triple waste production by 2100.
A stone building is the quarry for the next stone building.
The finite minerals that make up the landmass are part of a society’s common heritage. However, in the UK, minerals are in private ownership, and are often severed from the surface land as a separate title. Buying mineral rights for profit is a form of investment.
Once privatized and commodified, the mineral becomes only as valuable as its material form. As a building material, it gets disconnected from its original source. Once this material fulfils its purpose, it finds place in a landfill. Environmental justice starts with shifting our perceptions in design: instead of transforming the landmass until it becomes waste, we should adapt to systems which keeps it intact, minimizing collateral damage, and maximizing the lifespans of building components; preserving them as part of a common heritage to be used by next generations.
The project proposes a two-fold strategy: first, the deployment of a nation-wide network of building material reclamation sites to be operated by the existing large corporate mineral rights holders of the UK, as an act of responsibility for giving back to the commons. Second, a locally sourced structural stone building system to be used in all typologies.
Hendrick Hing Chun Li
London’s recycling rate has stagnated at around 33% over the last five years, the lowest in the UK; recycling infrastructures have been regarded merely as utilitarian facilities, disconnecting the act of recycling from civic life.
Civic-recycling infrastructure is the protagonist towards a zero-waste future.
Fundamental to the UK’s recycling crisis is that we are wasting our waste. In fact, of the 26 million tonnes of annual waste from households, 80% are considered recyclables. Yet, too much has been burnt locally or dumped abroad. And recycling was even considered impossible in the capital of the UK. With just 33%, the lowest across the UK, London’s recycling rate has stagnated over the last five years.
As a response, this project will address the inherent mismatch between recyclable resources and stigmatic recycling infrastructures in London on two fronts. First, the project proposes a territorial strategy for redistributing recycling infrastructures across London’s sacredly protected open space, to multiply its catchment area and tie up circular flows within the city. Second, the project aims at creating an intersection between recycling and people, to project alternative proximity and a symbiosis relationship of these tangible transitional nodes with its neighbours, through which to overcome the culture of NIMBY (not in my backyard). “Sacredly Recycled” is a project that deploys civic-recycling infrastructures with a RIMFY (right in my front yard) mentality.
Jasmine Chui Lam Chung
A loss of socio-economic hubs in depopulated rural peripheries and an overgrowth of exploitative hotels in major ports are one and the same phenomenon, and must be reinstituted in parallel to each other.
Hotels must return to being a restorative social nucleus for all.
The project proposes a rural network of collectively owned hotels in Spain. By supplying the hotels, ensuing transient populations will in turn co-create dynamic life as a third attractor for permanent resettlers. The two groups of agents are crucial to one another: The transient visitors re-enchant the infra-ordinary with their increased receptivity, while the local residents continue their revalued local heritage and the life of the towns.
The transversal framework prioritises local needs over the transient populations’, and communal stewardship over a service-dominant and profit making logic. It will also provoke a new kind of slow movement, of transient living, enabled by recently emerged technologies of work-from-home practices, universal broadband connections, and time-share algorithms. Refocusing on the nearby rather than the far away, these hotel nodes not only provide vital third places of recuperation for locals and neighbours, but also encourage an alternative detour from primary mobility trajectories. The diversion aims to alleviate severe social and environmental imbalances of overdeveloped wastelands, rural ghost towns, and direct flights between centralised hotspots without appreciating the in-between.
Jia Wei Huang
Deficient urban water management infrastructure intensifies flooding crisis at disenfranchised communities, already facing expropriation from market and society forces.
A porousness new ground composed of civic and ecological intervention in Kuala Lumpur’s urban settlements.
In the unprecedented events of flooding at Klang river basin. Its infrastructural catastrophe can be measured by its flood mitigation budget which is projected to triple in the next decade, in which the government report attributes its sources to pollution, climate change, over development and inadequate infrastructure system. The current stormwater management which operates on rapid disposal of water, often faces consequences of adversely transferring risk. It's hard engineering is expensive to build and maintain and is crippled to accommodate the coming crisis. To adapt, sustainable stormwater management should operate based on the principle of non-transferable impact, control at site and combination of several measures.
Seeking to build resilience, the project identified its territories from some of the most vulnerable communities such as Malay reserve land. With its environmental crisis intricately linked to lack of basic infrastructure, due to poverty and exclusiveness of Malay land ownership. As well as aggressive expropriation from market and authority forces. To protect, the project proposes through ecological restoration of these settlements to: Environmentally, increase surface and infiltration the of ground; Economically, become more self-dependent; Socially, increasing porosity and publicness to strengthen community and negotiate social position in a modern and multi-racial society; Culturally, cultivate Malay vernacular identity.
Coastal and seaside towns have suffered from a decline in their core industries, which has had important social implications that left towns in a state of neglect and isolation. Can a coastal adaptation of the allotment system improve the social structure of seaside towns in Cornwall through collaborative growing?
Community growing as a tool to improve social integration and community wellbeing in deprived seaside towns in Cornwall, UK.
Gardening has always been used with various objectives, starting with its main function as a tool for satisfying the need to feed people. But the concept of growing is gaining importance as a tool to bring together communities for other objectives, all of which have a driving force in improving some aspect of physical, mental, or social health for participants and people interacting with their immediate environment.
In Britain, the allotment gardening system is being used for more than just growing food and has expanded as a social activity that promotes social and cultural interaction. However, over the past 60 years allotment numbers have decreased as land granted for this purpose has been given away to new developments.
The distribution of these facilities in the UK is unequal, with very few allotment sites being found in coastal areas in Britain, for examples in the Cornwall peninsula, which holds some of the most underprivileged villages in terms of working and residential deprivation.
The project proposes the re-invention of the current allotment system to improve social integration and community wellbeing in deprived seaside towns in Cornwall by incorporating civic activities in relation to growing and harvesting in coastal lands potentially creating a network of community driven allotments.
Mohamad Riad Yassine
The typical street of Beirut is jammed with cars and has narrow pavements. People walking do not speak to each other. And between the sounds of honking cars, engines, electric generators, and the feel of water drops from dripping air conditioning units, the stench of garbage and burned fuel, one can hear fragments of conversation. People on the street discussing fist fights happening in other neighbourhoods between partisans of different political leaders, or the lebanese currency exchange rate in the black market. The street being organised in a linear fashion, its dwellers experience it as a transitional space. Whether they walk or drive, collecting those fragments of conversation and experiencing those conditions of the street, only add to one’s disappointment and anxiety vis a vis their hometown, that let them down.
The project proposes an infrastructural platform on top of residential buildings in Beirut. Liberating the rooftops previously used as common spaces for social reproduction and cultural exchange.
On the flat rooftops, which occupy most of the city, water reservoirs store water that the state has failed to supply, fuel powered generators supply the electricity that the state has failed to supply to homes and businesses. The consequences of those repetitive failures, seen on the rooftops, have left little space for the fresh air, sunlight, couple plastic chairs and some plants, to be indulged along with the view, some second hand shisha smoke and a cup of coffee by the inhabitants of Beirut which lay below. The proposal aims to create a platform to which those pieces of infrastructure would be moved. Liberating the rooftops for the inhabitants of the city below to dwell in, communicate, and either face and change the city below, or look up and forget it, for a second.
‘Resilience’ has colonised the social imaginary to the point that the Beirut’s population no longer attempts to seek safety or stability, and no longer recognises the states role in defining the Social Contract.
Mitigating external factors of vulnerability by investing in the small unbuildable plots of Beirut and injecting localised infrastructures of care.
‘Undoing Resilience’ is an urban response to a social crisis identified in Beirut, Lebanon around the misleading neoliberal discourse of resilience that justifies the disengagement of the State and the disintegration of its social infrastructures. But more than that, resilience has today colonised the social imaginary to the point that the population no longer attempts to seek safety or stability, and no longer recognises its role in defining the Social Contract.
This project attempts to disrupt the lethal status quo imposed by neoliberalism in Beirut by divulging and displaying the possibilities of an alternative future development. By investing the small unbuildable plots of the city and injecting localised infrastructures of care sourced from a dynamic civic movement and catered towards the wellbeing of the population, it aims at introducing a basic social safety net, a form of resistance to external factors of vulnerability, that could then allow true resilience to come into play.
It is urgent to anticipate the impact of coming climatic mutations on vineyards over the next 20 years and accelerate the production of new wine terroirs in France.
Climate is moving North. Terroirs are not.
Climate is moving North. Faced with the climate crisis and strict regulations on the terroir, French winegrowers are struggling to adapt their crops to an increasingly hostile climate. This situation is taken very seriously by the government which has recently launched LACCAVE — a major research program which aims to develop adaptation strategies and scenarios to rescue French vineyards. Testing Grounds could be considered as an architectural contribution to LACCAVE by proposing not to preserve current wine-growing practices, but to excessively experiment in order to prepare the territory for the introduction of new cultivars. Winegrowers will have to learn how to cultivate Sidi Brahim in Saint Emilion and Merlot in Concarneau. Therefore, the project proposes to surgically and systematically implement a set of experimental wine cooperatives in France in order to allow the anticipated craft of new practices and terroirs for 2040.
Winter tourism is the main economic sector in the dolomites, infrastructure and services have been deployed into that region over the past 50 years to support that tourism, but the changing climate threatens the economic equilibrium of that region as snow will become a rare resource.
80% of the Alpine tourism is dependent on one resource - snow, natural and artificial. What would the alps become if that resource was to disappear?
The infrastructure and services supporting the winter tourism have brought urban accessibility in a historically very remote and rural region, especially through the development of the ski lifts. This technology was designed to work with the complex topography, which creates natural barriers between the settlements. The effects of climate change have been felt in the entire Alpine region, where in some areas the average temperature has already gained 1.5 degree Celsius. The predictions state that if the temperature average curve is not flattened, all the alpine ski resorts will not have natural snow, nor the climatic conditions to produce artificial snow, by 2050. The resorts located at lower altitudes will have to close much earlier than that, as some have already come to that sad end. With the disappearing winter tourism, a deep economic crisis is looming in the next decades to come. No winter tourism means that the ski lifts will become redundant, and this unique interconnectivity would be lost. The question is, what can be done to alleviate the crisis and retain the urban scale accessibility of the Alps? How can we harness the potential of the pre-existing infrastructure to transition the region into the post-leisure reality?
The research focuses on two simultaneous crises that are evident in the uplands today. Soil degradation and lack of shelter; both results of centuries-old misconceptions about environmental management in the territory.
This project aims at the restoration of degraded soil in the English Uplands by a gradual decrease of grazing practices, an introduction of new shelters and the provision for the creation of nature conservation communities on common land.
The project is a response to the ongoing crisis of soil degradation in the Uplands of North-West England. Through an understanding of the landscape as an unnatural and human-made territory, it aims to identify the agents of distraction and propose a gradual increase in nature conservation projects undertaken by an increased human labour.
Practices such as sheep grazing –the predominant form of farming in the Uplands– and rotational heath burning are predicted to be gradually reduced in the next twenty years. The project, responding to the recently published, post-Brexit Agricultural Bill, will aim to accelerate the decrease of hill farming practices in the Uplands and reconfigure the land for human interventions that aim to restore the environment.
The project proposes the formation of a new Upland Ecology. One that understands any act of environmental preservation as an action that requires human input. By challenging existing frameworks published by Government Agencies, a new Blueprint for the Uplands will be formed to provide guidance for a community-led mass rehabilitation of the territory.
BioCultural heritage, such as the drystone walls, is taken as a starting point that will develop to provide shelter: for flora, fauna and humans. It will be strategically positioned in the territory to act as an initiator and an intruder in the overly controlled and privatised Uplands.
Vic Sheng-ya Huang
The current legal framework and management of national parks continues to justify the exploitation and degradation of the remaining 90% of Taiwan’s territory. Seeped in the violent and exploitative legacy of colonialism, it must be abolished.
A circular path as a device to reconnect with newly defined ecological, cultural and productive territory.
This project aims to break the dichotomous definition between nature and human by arguing that the essence of conservation can only be achieved through the creation of the spatial engagement with the territory that has a positive ecological impact with the reshaped economy and cultural order.
Instead of a crystallised landscape, the ‘new nature protection area’, as a new legal framework, proposes the eco-social production landscape in three distinct landscape zones- city, rural, and wilderness areas. Each area will be individually redefined and enriched through our economy of life: nature, our production, and culture will share the same interface and evolve with time spontaneously.
It also means ‘new nature protection area’ could appear anywhere along with the new form of living and would be constantly distributed instead of concentrating on predictable extensions.
Zi Min Ting
The UK government’s “bring brownfield land back in use” strategy fails to acknowledge the diverse tangible and intangible values and opportunities that lie in the process of decommissioning and restoring these sites.
The afterlife of petrol stations should be nurtured with care, transitioning from economies of fossil fuel to economies of life.
The current Brownfield Regeneration Policy is set up to promote brownfield lands in the UK for housing supply only. When land ceases to be profitable, the system automatically treats them as waste to be clean slated. The petrol station is one of the victims. My project suggests an alternative way of regenerating the site of decommissioned petrol stations through reusing and redistributing the existing materials and structures. They are now the territorial units of my project, a vehicle to rethink our relationship with our living territory and its resources.