Following Fellows: Beyond City Limits
We gather reflections from six LINA fellows on their projects addressing urban and peripheral territories.

Working at the intersection of architecture and other fields related to spatial culture, LINA is a Europe-wide network of institutions geared towards promoting emerging thinkers and practitioners. In this conversation, we gather reflections from six LINA fellows — Foil&Soil, Bernadetta Budzik and Rachel Rouzaud, Dérive, EJ Williams, Laura Hurley and Robida — whose projects address urban and peripheral territories.

This article is one of a series featuring reflections from the current cohort of LINA Fellows. You can learn more about the LINA community here.

KOOZ Within our contemporary landscape of interconnectedness, how vast and far reaching are the margins of our built environments?

FOIL&SOIL In both the laboratory setting and in urban planning, we see how materials connect diverse aspects of life. By up-cycling and inventing new polymers, we blend natural and human stories, recognising the multilayered lives of matter.

DÉRIVE The limits of our built-up space have already been reached and open space should be cherished given the multitude of transition challenges. However, it is not self-evident that our existing open space contributes optimally to questions such as climate adaptation, nature-inclusive agriculture, and cultivation of bio-based building materials; essential urgencies for future-proof landscapes.

EJ WILLIAMS The vast field of interconnected circulation in our built environment is the inherent circulation between socio-ecologies. Dangerously now, nano-particles of chemicals are in contact with almost every single thing on the planet, and further, through this circulation. The margins reach as far and wide as systems of water and air circulation.

"The limits of our built-up space have already been reached and open space should be cherished given the multitude of transition challenges."

- Dérive

LAURA HURLEY In the contemporary landscape, the margins of our built environment do not end at site boundaries. The cumulative effects of the construction industry’s endeavours on the environment are frankly startling. Enabled by this interconnectedness, however, the proliferation of better practices is more feasible than ever, standards set will be observed far beyond the immediate environs.

BERNADETTA BUDZIK & RACHEL ROUZAUD In our practice, we focus on elements that break away from traditional notions of the built environment, such as architecture created by non-architects, ephemeral structures, and actions. Through this lens, we view the built environment as a representation of continuous change, shaped by everyday actions and decisions that influence every aspect of our lives.

ROBIDA Given the site-specificity, rootedness and radical affection of our spatial and publishing practice to a certain place we cannot but give an answer to this question that emerges from this specific site. The built environment drowns into the forest: its margins are constantly being negotiated with those of the brambles and hornbeams. The edges of village and the forest are unstable, change with seasons and respond to the inhabitant’s engagement and affection for the place.

"In the contemporary landscape, the margins of our built environment do not end at site boundaries."

- Laura Hurley


KOOZ Despite the importance of soil in our planetary ecosystem, the health of our soil is at risk as we continue to farm and seal surfaces at an alarming rate. Soil Knowledge investigates the deeper meaning to soil, and our interaction with it. What is the potential of rethinking our relationship to the matter which lies below are feet?

EJ WILLIAMS In unearthing what is beneath our feet there is the potential to listen and understand deeply. Soil Knowledge is the process of existing with reciprocal and indispensable ecosystems. As a methodology, it is a way to get in touch with and engage with living traditions, ways of building and to sense what is needed. It is a way of describing practices of survival and the essential practices of resistance and resilience, of practising and not forgetting. Soil is a building material and also a fundamental resource that underpins all life, and thus needs care.

"I see it as part of our duty as architects to record and work on new narratives and references in order for us to create a more balanced society and planet."

- EJ Williams

By deeply listening to other (hi)stories, we counter traditional disciplinary exceptionalism and leave space to consider alternative perspectives. As architects, drawing as a means to listen is integral to this process. This process of un-learning, adding other voices and (hi)stories to the Canon, is a process of decolonising our architectural knowledge production. The act of reclaiming architectural knowledge production is not only important to know that our world is being made in our image, but I see it as part of our duty as architects to record and work on new narratives and references in order for us to create a more balanced society and planet.


KOOZ Alluring Rural addresses the accumulation of undesired matter in areas with a high density of intensive agricultural activities juxtaposing geological eras with contemporary consumerism. How can this approach be deployed to reverse engineer our approach to materials?

FOIL&SOIL Alluring Rural addresses the problem of waste accumulation in regions marked by intensive agricultural practices, drawing parallels between geological epochs and consumerism. By adopting this approach, we can rethink our material design process, envisioning materials as potential contributors to a new geological era, predicted to be dubbed as the "Plastocene". This perspective invites us to reconsider the long-term impacts of our material choices and encourages conscious solutions that align with the future. Every waste has its worth due to the energy that has been used for its production, which should be further utilised for creation of products, objects and spaces.

"By adopting a critical approach to new materials, we have started considering the myriad of ways that nature incorporates and utilises synthetic materials, without defining them."

- Foil&Soil

In our practice, we tend to quote George Carlin, a comedian, actor, and social critic, who suggests that the planet was and will always exist, with or without us, and it’s a self-correcting system. If plastic is not degradable, then the planet will simply incorporate it into a new paradigm: the earth + plastic. We strive to think beyond what is merely good for us or our definition of the planet. By adopting a critical approach to new materials, we have started considering the myriad of ways that nature incorporates and utilises synthetic materials, without defining them.


KOOZ Addressing the accumulation of undesired matter in areas with a high density of intensive agricultural activities, your Atlas of Forest Occupations looks into the forest as spaces of activism. What can we learn from these spaces and the conditions that they enable?

BERNADETTA BUDZIK & RACHEL ROUZAUD We study forest occupations as case studies for multiple reasons. In this form of activism, protesters often establish new communities, leading to the creation of alternative rules and social norms. We focus on occupations with an anarchistic approach and horizontal structures, embracing queer, feminist, and non-binary perspectives. These values and causes are evident in the way activists shape their occupations and translate them into the structures they build. Activists question what is essential to live during a state of constant protest, creating opportunities to explore new methods of co-living and rethink future strategies.

"By bridging eco-activism and architecture, we emphasise the significant responsibility architects hold in creating sustainable living solutions." - Bernadetta Budzik & Rachel Rouzaud

By bridging eco-activism and architecture, we emphasise the significant responsibility architects hold in creating sustainable living solutions. This includes addressing ecological concerns while fostering inclusivity and community resilience. However, the architectural community still faces a lack of balance between theoretical discourse and meaningful, radical action. In this context, we draw inspiration from the bravery and perseverance of activists who push the boundaries of traditional practices.

Moreover, as researchers, we recognise the importance of documenting these unique actions. Regardless of the outcome of the occupation, they will disappear. Without proper documentation, the scale and impact of these movements may be lost, making it crucial to record and recognise their existence.


KOOZ Going back to the soil beneath our feet, (De)Growing the Rural Village of the Future explores how to grow a future-proof rural village by focusing on biobased building typologies, using the housing extension plan for Nagele as a case study. How does this project address the need for urban expansion in relation to fertile soil?

DÉRIVE As in the rest of the Netherlands, there is a need for more housing in the village of Nagele. The village community requested a substantial residential extension of a few hundred homes on the adjacent plot: the transition from village to polder. Built in the 1950s, Nagele has a special design process and appearance, due to the innovative building culture of 'Das Neue Bauen' — modern architecture — and its location on land reclaimed from the sea. The Noordoostpolder contains the most fertile soil of the Netherlands, and the proposed residential function conflicts with the current agriculture on the land. We address the need to interweave these landscapes and challenges: the village, sustainable residential extension and polder, sustainable agricultural production. We use interweaving in the sense to make it possible to live in between and with a nature-inclusive landscape, where inhabitants use the fertile soil for their local food production and cultivation of biobased building materials such as wood, reed and hemp. We developeda conceptual spatial framework for this ‘interweaving plan’, by connecting the rural village with the land and keeping a minimal footprint of the housing to explore the qualities of the land.


KOOZ The Summer School of the Academy of Margins is an opportunity to inquiry about the non-, the other-than- and the more-than-human actors inhabiting the landscape of Topolò, and to discover the possible meanings behind the term care in relation to a situated ecology. How do these diverse entities and their reciprocal relationships stretch or condense the limits of Topolò?

ROBIDA In a context like the post-rural village of Topolò — heavily depopulated and surrounded by a prosperous forest — we constantly negotiate the roles of hosts and guests with thorny brambles, ants and salamanders. We share a reciprocal hospitality with the creepers, hornets and beech martens, sometimes letting them take more space than we wish and in exchange, gently invading some of theirs. In winter, we allow brambles, weeds and lianas to thrive in the garden and in early spring, when is time to start planting vegetables for the summer, we softly renegotiate their position and ours, trimming them and year after year in an attempted redrawing of the borders between the garden and wilderness. There are spaces where the village morphs into forest, spaces in the state of perpetual becoming-forest in the ruins of old houses, in the abandoned fields once used for agriculture, in the paved paths or old dry stone walls. Ancestral traces of human inhabitation leave space to lively communities of vegetal and animal beings.

"This edge between the village and the forest is unclear, nonlinear, expanding and withdrawing and lingering, where hosts and guests meet and exchange roles."

- Robida

This edge — between the village and the forest, between the vegetable garden and the brambles’ intricate mass — is unclear, nonlinear, always in movement, expanding and withdrawing and lingering, where hosts and guests meet and exchange roles. It helps us to reimagine what interspecies spaces could look like, how they might be supported and maintained.


KOOZ The designed element of your project Peripheral Cartographies is an institution, one which aims to facilitate a postcolonial re-inscription of the Irish island of Inisbofin through a generative drawing methodology. How does your project reclaim the agency of the institution today?

LAURA HURLEY The island on which the project is set (and indeed the island of Ireland as a whole), was long subjected to the whims of institutional governance. Historically, cartography has been employed as a tool of the dominant culture to legitimise the annexing of land and subordinate the minority. In recasting the role of the institution, past repression — through the supposed objectivity of the 1830s Ordnance Survey's representation of landscape, identity, and ownership — can be counteracted and revised. The project subverts the traditionally enacted roles of an institution by drawing from the reality of the place, emphasising its wildness and aberrations rather than the enforced homogenisation used to alienate and remove the agency of the people who resided there. This reclamation of agency is at the core of the work – enacting an alternate practice of recording the island's history and future.


Foil&Soil is a post-plastic lab founded by Magdalena Gorecka and Magdalena Skowyra, that challenges the understanding of materials and re-imagines their development and applications on different scales. The lab serves as a bridge connecting material science, and urban planning.

Dérive operates between architecture, public space and spatial strategies. A collaboration founded by Hedwig van der Linden and Kevin Westerveld with the motivation to provide air within complex transition challenges. Educated as architects from Delft University of Technology, they are working from Brussels and Rotterdam. Dérive seeks synergy between conceptual thinking and co-creative practice by creating space for dialogue and local coalitions – consciously starting from the qualities and resources of existing habitats.

Robida is a collective that works at the intersection of written and spoken words – with Robida magazine and Radio Robida – and spatial practices, developed in relation to the village of Topolò (Italy), where the collective is based. Robida takes care of the abandoned terraces, occupies houses and gardens, opened a communal space and a summer school and through its cultural production re-imagines the village’s future.

EJ Williams is passionate about promoting user-led and resilient practices to foster meaningful connections, and is keenly interested in connecting planning with making, ensuring well-designed and useful spaces. Williams' background is in housing and healthcare buildings in various forms. Recently, Williams published and co-edited research on cultures for resilience and earthen vernacular construction, analysing architectural knowledge production and possibilities of integrating resilient materials and practices into the built environment. In April 2024 Williams became an Associate with Public Practice and currently holds the position of Principal Design Officer for Housing in Basildon, UK.

Laura Hurley is an Irish architectural graduate who is now based in London. Having worked at Cotter & Naessens Architects in Cork, Laura completed the MArch Programme in University College Cork and Munster Technological University in 2022 with her thesis Peripheral Cartographies. In June 2023, Laura was selected as one of the winners of the EUmies Young Talent Architecture Award for this project. Her work is materialised through a generative drawing methodology conducted at a bodily scale, supplemented by filmmaking, textual explorations and a distinct interest in blurring the lines between one's own internal world and physical reality.

Bernadetta Budzik & Rachel Rouzaud is a Polish-French team of architects based in Paris, who also pursue artistic practice and regularly collaborate on various projects. Bernadetta Budzik graduated from Münster and Cracow School of Architecture. Currently, she focuses on a study of the relationship of civil disobedience to architecture and how architecture-without-architects may thrive in grassroots movements. Rachel Rouzaud graduated from architecture school in Versailles, now teaching both there and in Bordeaux. She is interested in codes of representation, specifically new ways of communicating the architectural project. She creates carpets, domestic and artistic supports, and weaves links between disciplines to make architecture more accessible.

Federica Zambeletti is the founder and managing director of KoozArch. She is an architect, researcher and digital curator whose interests lie at the intersection between art, architecture and regenerative practices. In 2015 Federica founded KoozArch with the ambition of creating a space where to research, explore and discuss architecture beyond the limits of its built form. Parallel to her work at KoozArch, Federica is Architect at the architecture studio UNA and researcher at the non-profit agency for change UNLESS where she is project manager of the research "Antarctic Resolution". Federica is an Architectural Association School of Architecture in London alumni.

27 May 2024
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