Learning from Venice - Anticipating a constantly changing landscape

Learning from Venice - Anticipating a constantly changing landscape 
We will have to accept that certain transformations will happen – they are in fact happening already; the only thing we can change is how we approach them, how we relate to them. 

For the ‘wild card’ semester studio at the RAvB we have proposed to introduce our ongoing research project ‘Learning from Venice’, our developed research method ‘on-site explorations’ and our approach of ‘dialogues’. 

Temporary walkways installed during 'Acqua alta' in Venice
Can we learn from Venice, where the seasonal fluctuations of the water, so-called ‘acqua alta’, already has become part of everyday life and both ad-hoc and more permanent solutions are (ready to be) installed?

With fooding as a phenomenon that occurs all over the world, we have focuson a site close to home, the Noordereiland in Rotterdam. This site already on occasion has to deal with inundation, which makes it easier to imagine it on an even more extreme scale.

We focussed the course on public space and its intersection with private space, accepting that we will have to find new ways to relate to a changing landscape, in which the existing urban context will (partially) disappear under water and needs to be rethought, both architecturally and in the urban scale. Reflecting on what it would mean for specific existing elements when affected by fooding, give us a chance to question the value and meaning of these spaces, their use and role within the everyday, as well. 

Students have incorporated our experimental approach so-called ‘on-site explorations’ making the prospective transformation(s) visible and experienceable in the real scenario 1:1 (‘marking on-site’). They had to take a (critical) position, conduct collective and individual research and formulate the outlines for their own project. 

As a result of the course, the students present their collective research and individual proposals as a catalogue of new strategies and devices in an immersive exhibition – with different formats combining models, video installations and sound recordings, a.o. and concluded the semester with a round table discussion. 

Conversation and lecture series
Within the first and second block we have invited a multidisciplinary board of specialists for a conversation series and as guest critics for the mid-term presentations. With these guests we have focussed on the topic of climate change and on various techniques for exploring, marking on-site and communication, translating findings into experienceable installations and on how to mediate between present and future, between two realities that we have to consider at the same time.

Semester studio
Research, communication and design

Proposed by rotative studio
Research methods: individual and collective research, on-site explorations, dialogues  
Conversation series
Final exhibition with individual and collective work


Academic Year
2021 - 2022 

rotative studio

Alexandra Sonnemans, Caterina Viguera

Conversation Series Guests
Meteorologist, weather forecaster Estel Figueras 
Musician, composer Ramon Landolt
Theater director Suze Milius 
Architect Alberto Pottenghi, Monoatelier 
Architect Pavle Stamenovic 
Architect Daniel Fuchs  

Arianne Fleege, Wessel Geysels, Justus Schäfer, Ronja Dmoch, Milou van Zomeren, Quirine Hoek, Daan de Jong, Esmee van Beekzuizen