Transitional Territories has a strong situated approach to design, sensitive to the site (matter), cultures of inhabitation (topos), environment (habitat) and processes (geopolitics). Our design task addresses urbanisation as mutually founded by and a trigger of risk, criticality and emergence.
We work on projects that, at first sight, might not seem ‘urban’ given their transdisciplinary character and reach of comprehension. However, they profoundly are, as they strongly challenge the dysfunctional dichotomy between the territories of land and water on which all cities are built upon.
This year the studio continues the three years cycle “Inland Seaward” on the de-/re-territorialization of places, (infra) structures and cultures between land and sea. The studio approaches the contemporary instability of environmental, climatic, political and socio-economic structures and urban formations, the sense of disruption and mutation that they cause, as the object of design. We understand that the traditional instruments for urban design and planning are not able to address the complexity and urgency of societal and environmental challenges defining urban life. Therefore, we approach the instability in our disciplinary practice as our collective effort in the studio, envisioning, programming and designing material and ecological spatial interventions that are able to imagine and demonstrate different futures for climate adaptation, water related risk management, energy transition, forms of inhabitation and productivity in highly dynamic and fragile urban landscapes and territories.
Transitional Territories builds upon a long-established collaborative platform (science, engineering, technology and arts) on ways of seeing/seizing, mapping, projecting change and critically acting on highly dynamic landscapes. At the core of the Delta Urbanism Research Group, the studio is embedded within/and supported by the interdisciplinary TUDelft Delta Futures Lab, in close collaboration with the CEG and TPM Faculties.
The studio is structured around three working modes: archive, laboratory, atelier. Analysis, synthesis and narrative exercises will support the inquiry and the development of interventions acting into the nature and causes of the urban and its externalities. Atmosphere, surface and subsurface elements, layers, and processes (and the interdependency among them) will be analysed and modeled by means of cartography (spatial representation), de-construction (analysis), re-composition (syntax) and projective steps, advanced in the making of the graduation thesis. During the graduation year students will be guided to construct and apply a theoretical, analytical, and conceptual framework by using methods for urban design and landscape architecture research and practice among others to study systemic relations leading to a territorial state of fragility, criticality and risk. Critical thinking, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods and approach, and search for novelty in design found our studio.
The studio entails (a) collective and (b) individual work: (a) a cross-domain research project that involves historical, scientific, cultural, political and technological investigations by confronting both objective and subjective analytical and representational approaches. The role of this phase of the research is twofold: to orientate and localise the individual projects and to construct the fundaments for the studio narrative. (b) A graduation project embedded in the collective research not only in the outset but throughout the entire graduation year. The graduation thesis deals with and develops a strong proposition on the materialisation and expected outcomes of its designed project. Students are encouraged, starting from their personal motivation, to formulate their own assignment, which may vary from constructions.
Examples of recent graduation projects