Research Project

Automated Landscapes

Under the premise that automation disrupts not only labour markets, but the configuration, design and occupation of entire territories, Automated Landscapes seeked to document and reflect upon the emerging architectures and urbanisms of fully-automated labour, looking at other actors involved in the production of spaces that remain beyond classic notions of authorship and signature.


Anthropometric Data - Crane Cabin Operator vs Remote Control Operator. Research team: Víctor Muñoz Sanz (TU Delft); Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Grace Abou Jaoudeh (Het Nieuwe Instituut).


Maasvlakte II Rotterdam, 2016. Photo: Victor Muñoz Sanz.


Elements and spatial conditions of automated container terminal in Rotterdam. Research team: Víctor Muñoz Sanz (TU Delft); Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Grace Abou Jaoudeh (Het Nieuwe Instituut).

The aims of Automated Landscapes were manifold, namely: to shed light on the impact of automation in various geographies and scales; to examine how the design of automated spaces challenges conventional spatial requirements and normative rules in architecture for health, safety and welfare, such as standards for light, ventilation, height, and floor areas; to reveal how these technologies bring new forms of territorial occupation, segregation and contestation; and to speculate upon the role of architects and designers in imagining and intervening in territories and spaces for non-humans.

Automated Landscapes was a long-term collaborative research initiative led by the Research Department of Het Nieuwe Instituut, involving TU Delft and other parties. Automated Landscapes was presented at the Vienna Biennale 2017; at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen; as part of WORK BODY LEISURE at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice; and as part of I See That I See What You Don’t See, the Dutch contribution to the XXII Triennale di Milano. The project has been awarded a Feature Grant from Design Trust in Hong Kong.

Since its initiation, the research project has seen many manifestations and focus points. In particular, the TU Delft team was co-leading research on automation in the Container Terminal in the port of Rotterdam, Factories in the Pearl River Delta, and Dairy Farms and Greenhouses.

Partners: Research Department, Het Nieuwe Instituut; Urban Design at TU Delft; European Postmaster of Urbanism (EMU); Future+ Aformal Academy; OMA; Royal College of Art

Duration of the project: 3 years (2017 – 2020)

Funding programme: Feature Grant, Design Trust in Hong Kong

Principal Investigator TU Delft: Víctor Muñoz Sanz