• Type: R&D, Art
  • Full title: Land of Hope at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism 2021
  • Funded by: Stimuleringsfonds , Seoul Metropolitan Government
  • Ideation: Henk Hartzema
  • Core team: Aikaterina Myserli (project leader), Federica Francalancia, Sara Gholizadeh, Pieter Scholten
  • Status: 2020 – 2021

Taking a 100x100km snapshot of the Randstad as a case study in April 2020, our team estimated that 75% of the land is unbuilt -the majority of which is grasslands. By examining this 100x100km frame as a fictional open lab for experimenting and restructuring, Studio Hartzema, supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL with a start-up grant, unveiled the potentialities of this “Land of Hope” and verified its capability to accommodate sustainable development.

Site area
Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism 2021

Drawing inspiration from Superstudio, Randstad’s unbuilt space has been examined both as a shared object between collaborating urban centers as well as a collective resource and a basis for projective scenarios (reforestation, energy production, new land uses). A spin-off of this research, manifested in the form of an art object, has been invited to the Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism 2021 as a project representative of the Netherlands.

Render of the installation

The proposal was mainly represented by a circular physical model (non-touchable) with a diameter of 200cm and a maximum height of 50cm, exhibited in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza building in Seoul, Korea. Instead of a rectangular model that would represent exactly the 100x100km frame of the Randstad, our team decided to project an inscribed circle to the frame to create a 1:50.000 model, in order to correspond better to the exhibition’s concept. The form draws again inspiration from Superstudio and intends to showcase Randstad’s unbuilt land as a solid piece, an extruded object. A grid of 5x5cm “cuts through” this solid piece and creates an assembly of different pieces. The result is a 1:50.000 model of Randstad’s unbuilt land, divided by a 5x5cm grid (of approx. 6mm line thickness) and with exaggerated height. Additional material include a written article for the Biennale’s publication and a 1-min video of the proposal.

Render of the installation

Echoing the work of Superstudio, our team uses the grid as a tool to neutralize space and explore the intersection between global abstraction and local specificity. The idea is that the unbuilt land acts as a uniting field within the metropolis. The extruded form of the unbuilt land will encourage the audience to imagine a scale beyond the local and the national and to perceive this land as a collective resource for the city’s sustainable future.

Grid as a tool

As pressure towards the agriculture sector is projected to escalate and cities desperately seek space to expand, reflecting on a future for the unbuilt space of the Randstad is deemed extremely relevant, not only for the Netherlands but for cities all over the world. Covid-19 implications aside, issues of extreme urbanization, resilience and production are likely to drive the urban development of most metropolitan areas in the next decades.

Model impression
Model impression
Model impression
Model impression in the Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism
Online Exhibition Video
Project partners

For press questions and high-resolution images, please contact Agnesz van Elten: office@studiohartzema.com or on 010-2810751.