Dr Marina Otero Verzier
School of Architecture
Architect and researcher Dr Marina Otero Verzier is a Visiting Tutor in the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art.
Marina Otero Verzier is an architect based in Rotterdam. She is Director of Research at Het Nieuwe Instituut, where she leads research initiatives such as ‘Automated Landscapes,’ focusing on the emerging architectures of automated labour, and ‘Architecture of Appropriation,’ on squatting as spatial practice.Show more
Otero is the Curator of WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th Venice International Architecture Biennale in 2018. With the After Belonging Agency, Otero was Chief Curator of the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, which addressed the implications of architecture in contemporary processes of displacement and identity construction.
From 2011-2015 Otero was based in New York, where she was Director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X, a global network of research laboratories for exploring the future of the built environment, which was launched by the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in 2008.
Her work, recently awarded by The Graham Foundation, Design Trust, and the FAD Thought and Criticism Award, has been published in different books and journals. Otero has co-edited Promiscuous Encounters (GSAPP Books, 2014), Unmanned: Architecture and Security Series (Dpr-Barcelona, 2016), After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay In Transit (Lars Müller Publishers, 2016).
She currently teaches at ETSA Madrid and RCA, and has taught seminars and studios at ETSAM, Barnard College, and Columbia GSAPP. Otero studied architecture at TU Delft and ETSA Madrid.
In 2013, as a Fulbright Scholar, she graduated from the M.S. in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at Columbia University GSAPP. She completed her PhD at ETSAM in 2016. Her thesis 'Evanescent Institutions' examines the emergence of a new paradigms for cultural institutions, and in particular the political implications of temporal and itinerant structures.
(2015 – To date) Head of Research and Development at Het Nieuwe Instituut, RotterdamShow more
The Research Departmentat Het Nieuwe Instituut acknowledges and gives visibility to research projects, practices, and initiatives, whose success is understood not in terms of academic citations, adherence to official formats, or profitability, but in their ability to offer departures from established modes of thinking. Grounded in the principles of design and innovation, concepts bound up with optimism as well as change and inherent conflicts, the investigations, exhibitions, and public events aim to become a motor for collective forms of knowledge and alternative forms of living. The department connects research projects with the existing collection of The State Archive of Dutch Architecture through a series of archive explorations. This endeavour not only acknowledges gaps (both thematic and methodological) in the official historiography — such as feminisms in architecture, queer perspectives, collective and radically improvisational spatial practices, as well as the architectural legacy of the former Dutch colonial territories— but also works to reframe acquisition policies to include new documents, subjects, and media. Otero, as founding head of the department, launched the first HNI International Open Call for Research Fellows; initiated the Reading Room Conference Series; and directs, among others, the projects ‘Automated Landscapes,’ focusing on the emerging architectures of automated labour; ‘Architecture of Appropriation,’ on squatting as spatial practice; and “Architectures of Security,” a critical research on urban security and the consequences of the increasing militarization of public space.
(2014 – 2016) Chief Curator at the Oslo Architecture Triennale ‘After Belonging: A Triennale in-Residence, on Residence, and the Ways We Stay in Transit’ (September 8-November 27, 2016), with the After Belonging Agency (Ll. Alexandre, I. G. Galan, C. Minguez, A. Navarrete, M. Otero).
The 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale addressed the objects, spaces, and territories for a transforming condition of belonging. Global circulation of people, information, and goods has destabilized what we understand by residence, questioning spatial permanence, property, and identity—a crisis of belonging. Circulation brings greater accessibility to ever-new commodities and further geographies. But, simultaneously, circulation also promotes growing inequalities for large groups, kept in precarious states of transit. After Belonging examined both our attachment to places and collectivities—Where do we belong?—as well as our relation to the objects we own, share, and exchange—How do we manage our belongings?
The core program of the Triennale included two years of research resulting in two main exhibitions, a call for interventions strategies, a book, and an international conference, together with diverse associated projects and three months of public programming in different cities around the world.
(2013 – 2015) Director, Global Network Programming, Studio-X, Columbia University GSAPP, New York.
Studio-X is Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)’s global network of advanced research laboratories for exchanging ideas and projects about the built environment, which was launched by dean Mark Wigley in 2008. It brings together scholars, professionals, students, decision makers, from different backgrounds and cultures, to foster research collaboration by organizing public programs. Each node in the global network is a site for emerging discussions on pressing urban questions such as circulation, development, preservation or urban conflict, both globally and locally. It is also a space to challenge contemporary debates on cities by including conversations that are generally left behind.
From September 2013 to January 2015, the Studio-X global network expanded, opening Studio-X Istanbul (November 2013), POP-UP Studio-X Shenzhen-Hong Kong (December 2013), and Studio-X Johannesburg (March 2014); launched the ‘Studio-X Research Guide’ and the ‘Open Memory Project’ in collaboration with Avery Library; the research series on ‘Security Regimes’—examining global spaces of exception —and on ‘Architectures of Sharing’—focused on resilient networks for knowledge-sharing; and initiated the first cross departmental research project in GSAPP, which focused on the informal settlement of Rio das Pedras (Rio de Janeiro) and that involved faculty and students from Architecture, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Real Estate Development, and the School of Public Health.
Advisory BoardsShow more
(2016–2018) MIARD Advisory Board at Piet Zwart Institute, Center for Postgraduate Studies & Research, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam.
(2009 –2011) Member of the Board at the Positive City Foundation, Madrid.
Selected Evaluation Committees
(2017) Jury member for the Master Research Prize, Piet Zwart Institute, Center for Postgraduate Studies & Research, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam.
(2017) External Board Member for the appointment committee, ‘Het kenniscentrum Creating 010, Hogeschool, Rotterdam.
(2016–2017) External Examiner, Master Information Design, Design Academy Eindhoven, Eindhoven.
(2017) Member of the PhD Thesis Committee, for the thesis ‘Hacia un Método de la Configuración. Van Eyck/Blom/ Hertzberger. Iniciadores y Sucersores, by Luis Palacios, Madrid.
(2017) Jury member for the Het Nieuwe Instituut International Call for Fellows, Rotterdam.
(2016) Jury member for UrgentCity - Towards a new vocabulary of Terms, Netherlands.
(2016) Jury member for the Järfalla Login Gate Competition, Stockholm.
(2016) Jury member for the Het Nieuwe Instituut International Call for Fellows, Rotterdam.
(2016) Jury member for In Residence: Open Call for Intervention Strategies, Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, Oslo.
(2014) Jury member for WorldWide Storefront (‘WWSF’), Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York.
(2014) Jury member for the Fulbright Scholarships in Spain, Madrid.
Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes
Selected BooksShow more
Architecture of Appropriation: Squatting as Spatial Practice (Rotterdam: Het Nieuwe Instituut, forthcoming). Co-editor.
After Belonging: A Triennale in-Residence, on Residence, and the Ways We Stay in Transit (Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2016). Co-editor.
UNMANNED: Architecture and Security Series (Barcelona: dpr-barcelona, 2016). Co-editor.
Promiscuous Encounters (Nueva York: GSAPP Books, 2014). Co-editor.
“Silent Walls. The Architecture of Historical Memory in Spain,” in Ed journal 01 “The Architecture of Architecture,” (Archinect, forthcoming, 2017).
“The Ethics of Engagement,” in Studio Future – Future Fictions in Art and Design (Hasselt: Z33 House for Contemporary Art, forthcoming, 2017).
“Arquitecturas para la democracia o máquinas de propaganda,” in CIRCO 228, Madrid, February 2017.
“Being at home is not what it used to be,” with After Belonging Agency, in CARTHA: on Making Heimat . Zurich: Park Books, 2017, p.101-115.
“Urgency,” in Aciclopedia. Breviario sobre la forma más allá del canon, Santiago de Chile: Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Chile, 2016, p.94-97.
“Future ruins of experimental practice,” in Felicity D. Scott What Went Wrong? / Out of Place, Santiago de Chile: Ediciones ARQ, 2016, p.6-13.
“Red Teaming,” in In Loving Support, Volume Magazine 49, September 2016.
“Mask. The Political Space behind the War on Terror.” Quaderns D’Arquitectura I Urbanisme, 266, Barcelona, January 2016.
“Circulating Borders: The BMW Guggenheim Lab,” in Mas Context 27, Debate, Chicago, December 2015.
“Fair Trade: Architecture and Coffee at the Serpentine Pavilions,” in The Avery Review, Critical Essays on Architecture, GSAPP, New York, September 2015.
“Geçiş Bölgesi. Urban Borders,” in Betonart Magazine 46, 2015.
“Borders Elsewhere. After Belonging and the Spaces of a Life in Transit,” with After Belonging Agency, in KOTE 6: Grenser [Borders], June, 2015
“Architectures of circulation and accumulation: reassembling the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions,” in ARQ 90, Santiago de Chile, 2015.
"You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. The House of Osama bin Laden," in SQM: The quantified Home, Space Caviar ed., Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2014, p.166-175.
“Bodies in Custody: Architectures of the Raid on Osama bin Laden Compound in Abbottabad,” in dpr-barcelona, blog, Barcelona, May 2014.
“Cuerpo, Casa, Imagen. Arquitecturas de la operación bin Laden en Abbottabad,” in SPAM_arq, VOL 8, Santiago de Chile, July 2014.
“125 Hectáreas de Arte,” in Arquitectura Viva 146, Madrid, December 2012, p.72-24.
“Tales from Beyond the Grave. The Aftelives of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions” in Domus online, November 2012.
“Aterrizajes: el BMW Guggenheim Lab”, in CIRCO 180, Madrid, July 2012.
WORK, BODY, LEISURE, curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th Venice International Architecture Biennale in 2018.
Architecture of Appropriation, exhibition at Het Nieuwe Instituut with research by the R&D department together with René Boer and TU Eindhoven, January-August 2017.
Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016: "After Belonging: A Triennale in-Residence, on Residence, and the Ways We Stay in Transit." Chief curator with the After Belonging Agency, 2016.
“Retreat”, co-curator with Ethel Baraona and Malkit Shoshan, at the Istanbul Design Biennial, Istanbul, 2014.
“Urban Borders,” co-curator with Marisa Yiu, exhibition at POP-UP Studio-X Shenzhen, Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), Shenzhen, China, December 2013–2014.
After Belonging, in the XX Bienal de Arquitectura de Chile ‘Dialogos Impostergables’, Parque Cultural Valparaíso, 2017. With After Belonging Agency.
Automated Landscapes, in ‘How Will We Work?’, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Vienna Biennale 2017, 2017. With Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Åzone Futures Market, contribution to the digital exhibition by Guggenheim Museum Nueva York, 2015.
"Export: Spanish Architecture Abroad," participant, Museo ICO, Madrid, 2015.
“Letters to the Mayor,” participant, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, 2014.
Selected Lectures and Presentations
“Constructing institutional memory: on the inclusion of non-author-based, precarious, and criminalized spatial practices in the museum,” lecture at Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, 2017.
“After belonging: subcultures beyond the hood,” presentation and panel discussion, Conference #Keepingitreal: architecture, agency & urban appropriation, TENT Rotterdam, 2017.
“After Belonging,” conference and panel discussion, with After Belonging Agency, Innovation Congress, Construmat, Barcelona, 2017.
“Curatorship as a space for collective investigation and political action,” conference and panel discussion, with After Belonging Agency, Primer Congreso Internacional en Comunicación Arquitectónica (COCA-17), Madrid, COAM, 2017.
“SMART CITIES? Impossible Objects, Political Objects, and Measuring Objects: an Excursion in Search of an Urban Epistemology,” co-organizer (with Storefront for Art and Architecture, The New School, and Het Nieuwe Instituut), and moderator, The New School, New York, 2017.
“Domesticities After Belonging,” conference and panel discussion, with After Belonging Agency, California College of Arts, San Francisco, 2017.
“Architectures of Security – Urban Diplomacy,” panellist and co-organizer of breakout session, Future Force Conference, The Hague, 2017.
“Architecture/ Displacement/ Belonging: What are the implications of architecture in contemporary processes of displacement?,” presentation and discussion, with After Belonging, The Architectural League of New York, New York, 2017.
“After Belonging,” presentation and panel discussion at the 2016-Ennials Debate, Lisbon Architecture Triennale, 2016.
"Ethics of Space: Shelter, Displacement and Belonging," presentation and seminar, Master in Social Design, Design Academy Eindhoven, Eindhoven, 2016.
“New World Embassy: Rojava,” presentation, Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, Oslo City Hall, Oslo, 2016.
“Exhibition Models: Curating Architecture,” lecture and panel discussion, Columbia GSAPP, New York, 2016.
“Evanescent Institutions,” conference, BETA, The Timişoara Architecture Biennial, Timişoara, 2016.
“After Belonging,” presentation, at the seminar ‘Prato Città-Fabbrica. The architecture of the Industrial District,’ Prato, 2016.
“Evanescent Institutions,” lecture, panel discussion and seminar at the ‘Congress on Public Spaces,’ organized by Vytautas Magnus University, Jutempus Interdisciplinary Art Program, Balticada y Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Art, Culture and Technology, Kaunas and Vilnius, 2016.
“Circulating Borders,” conference, Critic|All- International Conference on Architectural Design and Criticism, ETSAM, Madrid, 2016.
“After Belonging Intervention Strategies - A Forum on Arctic Negotiations,” presentation with After Belonging Agency, Architectural Association, London Festival of Architecture, London, 2016.
“Three Nordic Refractions,” presentation and panel discussion with After Belonging Agency, The Nordic Pavilion, La Bienale di Venezia, Venice, 2016.
“After Belonging,” lecture, with After Belonging Agency, Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, Norwegian Centre of Design and Architecture DOGA, Oslo, May 24, 2016.
“The politics of publishing: Producing and disseminating thought,” panel discussion, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, 2016.
“Architectures of the Osama Bin Laden Compound,” lecture, TEOK, The Edge of Knowledge, Basel, 2016.
“After Belonging: A Triennale In Residence, On Residence, and the Ways We Stay In Transit,” lecture, Oslo School of Architecture (AHO), Oslo, 2016.
“Exhibitions Reviewed,” panel discussion, Research on Display Conference, TU Delft, 2015.
“The State of Architectural Biennials and Triennials,” lecture and panel discussion, GSAPP, Columbia University, New York, 2015.
“Bodies in Custody: Architectures of the Osama bin Laden Compound in Abbottabad,” presentation, The University of Pennsylvania School of Design, 2015.
Åzone Summit, panel discussion, Museo Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York, 2015.
“The legacy of World Expos and Architecture Biennials and Triennials,” presentation, Piet Zwart Institute-MIARD, Rotterdam, 2015.
“Decentralized labor practices and distributed production networks,” presentation and panel discussion at the The Art of Economy symposium, Chicago Architecture Biennial, Future Firm, Chicago, 2015.
“After Belonging,” presentation at “Un-common river” One Architecture Week 2015, Plovdiv, 2015.
"Circulating Borders,” keynote lecture, Seminario de Invierno III, Proyectos Arquitectonicos, Universidad de Alicante, 2015.
"You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. The House of Osama bin Laden," presentation and panel discussion on the occasion of the book launch SQM: The quantified home, Architectural Association, London, 2015.
“Architectures of the Raid on Osama bin Laden’s Compound in Abbottabad,” presentation at the seminar "Missions and Missionaries: on the physical manifestation of the global organization of war and peace in the 21st century," Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, 2014.
"Circulating Borders: The Architecture of Global Cultural Institutions,” presentation and panel discussion at "New Modes, Models and Geographies of Practice,” Harvard GSD, Boston, 2014.
"Decentralizing Education: Studio-X," presentation and panel discussion, "Who Builds the City? Symposium," Ryerson University, Toronto, 2014.
"Retreat: Spaces of Exception," presentation and panel discussion, Istanbul Design Biennial, Istanbul, 2014.
"Historias de Ultratumba: La segunda vida de los pabellones de la Serpentine Gallery," presentation, Arquia Próxima Fórum, Granada, 2014.
“Studio-X: Architectures of Sharing,” presentation, POP-UP Studio-X Shenzhen, Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) Shenzhen, China, 2014.
“Ghosts of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions,” presentation at the symposium The Athens Minutes organized by DESTE Foundation and GSAPP, 2012.
Awards and Grants
(2017) Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Grant to organizations. Architecture of Appropriation: Squatting as Spatial Practice, Het Nieuwe Instituut.
(2017) FAD Prize, Thought and Criticism, (ex aequo). After Belonging: A Triennale in-Residence, on Residence, and the Ways We Stay in Transit (Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2016).
(2017) Feature Grant, Design Trust Hong Kong. Automated Landscapes, Het Nieuwe Instituut.
(2015) Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Grant to organizations. Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, After Belonging
(2015) Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Grant to Individuals. Unmanned: Architecture and Security Series, with Ethel Baraona y Malkit Shoshan.
(2015) Grant Programme for Architecture. The Creative Industries Fund NL. Unmanned: Architecture and Security Series, with Ethel Baraona y Malkit Shoshan.
(2016) First Prize, Open Call for Curator, Oslo Architecture Triennale, with After Belonging Agency.
(2014) Communication Award, Arquia Próxima, Fundación Arquia.
(2013) CCCP Award for High Academic Attainment, GSAPP, Columbia University, Nueva York.
(2011–2013) Fulbright Grant for Postgraduate studies, Fulbright Commission.
Otero is involved in various independent and institutional research initiatives.
Current and recent research
(2018) WORK, BODY, LEISURE
Dutch Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
With the title WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the 2018 Dutch Pavilion addresses the spatial configurations, living conditions, and notions of the human body engendered by disruptive changes in labor ethos and conditions. The project seeks to foster new forms of creativity and responsibility within the architectural field in response to emerging technologies of automation.
(2017–to date) Automated Landscapes
Department, Het Nieuwe Instituut
A long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched by Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2017.
(2016–to date) Architecture of Appropriation: On Squatting as Spatial Practice
Research Department, Het Nieuwe Instituut
Architecture ofAppropriation investigates squatting as an architectural practice in order to re-examine notions of vacancy and property, and propose alternative urban and domestic arrangements to the dominant, market-oriented housing policies.
(2011–to date) Evanescent Institutions
CCCP GSAPP, PhD ETSAM, Het Nieuwe Instituut.
This ongoing research project examines the emergence of new paradigms for cultural institutions. In particular, it focuses on the temporal architecture of cultural institutions, its political implications, and the forms of legacy of these seemingly impermanent structures.
(2017) Memory and Oblivion: on the public display of Francoist monuments in Spain
Independent research project on the debate surrounding the historical memory in Spain, developed together with photographer and filmmaker Guillem Valle.