Countryside: Rotterdam Study Abroad Option Studio

For almost a decade now, more than half of mankind lives in cities – a statistic that has triggered an exclusive focus on the urban, potentially at the expense of exploration and documentation of the countryside. Cities occupy only 2% of the surface of the planet. Looking at the remaining 98 % is looking at the future of the world.

The ambition for this studio effort is to document the character, nature and repertoire of the emerging countryside. This spring semester is a continuation of the 2016 Countryside Studio in Rotterdam, with more emphasis on research and production related to specific topics.

The semester will kick-off with collective work on Countryside in Media, cultivating an overview of unique and general features of countryside representation in different media.

During the semester the students will work in pairs, covering seven interconnected research topics:
1. Villages: as a potential future model of cohabitation and fueling experimental architecture, explored in the context of past efforts to design and establish villages.
2. 20th Century Redesign: countryside as a canvas of redesigned by dictators, democratically elected officials, entrepreneurs and others.
3. Color: what has happened to the use of color in the countryside during the last 100 years?
4. Off-Grid: a pull to the countryside that needs to be understood and documented with every new generation.
5. Precision and Remoteness: dealing with the paradox of knowing more about remote and vast territories (through satellite and other technology), while potentially experiencing less.
6. Tourism: the pervasiveness of tourism set against the delicacy of the countryside.
7. Future of the Tractor: digital development of the tractor suggests that the last farmer might be removed from the field very soon, or at least transformed into a bystander, operating the fields from a portable device.