Sanz Serif, a makeshift nickname earned as a result of my typographic likes, is the umbrella under which I present the diverse facets of my work: academic research on architecture and urbanism, design speculations, graphic design, curatorial and editorial work, and writings developed individually or collaborately, in institutional settings or independently.

Current focus: Workscapes.


Lights Out! - proposal on automation, honorary mention call for fellows of Het Nieuwe Instituut

Image: APM Terminals

My proposal Lights Out: Emerging Spaces and Territories of Non-human Labor received an honorary mention of the jury of the 2016 International Call for Fellows of Het Nieuwe Instituut. The jury appraised it as "is a timely and solid proposal that analyses the production of space for and by fully-automated industry. Lights Out! reveals how economic decisions and industrial processes function as key factors in the development and direction of spaces and entire territories." 

The proposed case studies are the Philips production centre in Drachten, the automated greenhouses for flower production and the Maasvlakte II in the Port of Rotterdam. Lights Out wishes to reveal full automation’s hidden spatial production.

More info here and in the jury report.


Emerging Curator 2015 - Canadian Centre for Architecture

I have been selected as the 2015-2016 Emerging Curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture witht he project: “Off:Re:On-Shore." The project will develop a communication strategy about on-shoring—that is, architecture, urbanism, landscape, and infrastructure as tangible and enduring ways to empower and improve the living standards of workers and communities in emerging markets.
Increasing automation, populist protectionist measures, and South-to-South competition are challenging a once thought safe path to development, and therefore putting more pressure on the conditions of workers offshore. This project seeks to look at the built environment of production offshore and to discuss the possibilities and limitations for transformative change of a renewed engagement of business with society through architecture and spatial practices.
The Emerging Curator Program offers the opportunity to propose and curate a project at the CCA related to contemporary debates in architecture, urban issues, landscape design, and cultural and social dynamics. The project is to be developed during a residency of three months at the CCA.

More info on the CCA Emerging Curator program here.

SPS Seminar 12 May – Victor Sanz: Planning a global network of industrial communities: The architecture and urbanism of the Bata Shoe Company industrial satellite cities [Presentation]


Today I presented the progress of my doctoral research at one of the SpatialPlanningSeminars organized by the Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy at the Department of Urbanism of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft. I really enjoyed the questions and discussions after the talk, great feedback! Thanks to Marcin Dabrowski for the invitation!



From its humble beginnings as a small workshop in 1874, the Bata Shoe Company became a gigantic industrial concern in the 1920s, built on the principles of scientific management and welfare capitalism. The growth of the company engulfed Zlín (Czech Republic), its hometown, and transformed it into a modern industrial garden city satisfying the needs of both a growing industrial population, and those of the company itself. As a reaction to the aftermath of the crisis of 1929, the enterprise began a strategy of decentralization and international expansion characterized by the design and construction of a series of modern industrial towns that replicated the model of Zlín around the globe (including The Netherlands).

This study is an exhaustive survey of these cities, their design, and their postindustrial conditions; it is a comparative work that has used field trips, photography, interviews, and archival material to explain the rationale behind Bata’s project, to document the design and implementation of the model to multiple contexts and geographies, and to evaluate of the urban legacy of this undertaking. With that, this research aims to explore the question of what can the design disciplines and other parties involved learn from a comprehensive assessment on the history and urbanism of the Bata satellite cities with regard to the re-imagination and sustainability of industry-sponsored interventions in developing countries today.


"Meet your Maker" theory seminar at The Berlage [Presentation]

Today I talked about industry, the Good Life, and Bata in the theory seminar "Meet your Maker: how an Industrial Renaissance can bring production back" held at The Berlage and conducted by Marta Relats, research director of the chair Design as Politics at the Faculty of Architecture and the Build Environment at TU Delft.

Thanks Marta for the invitation and the great discussion!

From the syllabus of the seminar:

The Good Life is about balance. Systems theory tells us that when all the parts of a system are equally developed and in balance, there is harmony and equilibrium, and a space in which to evolve. When one of the parts of a system has for some reason outgrown the others, firstly, it does so at the expense of the other parts being underdeveloped, and neglected and, secondly, it reaches quickly a point of degeneration. Generally that leads to the collapse of the system and its eventual disappearance, giving rise to a new system. This dynamic can be more or less explicit, more or less dramatic, more or less material. In the history of mentalities it is known as a change of paradigm, in economics it is a crisis (or a “crack”) followed by a recovery, in the natural world it is a natural disaster followed by a natural regrowth, and so on.

It is arguably the system of goods production among the ones with greater impact on the way we live. We will hypothesize that it is that way in the seminar, and we will examine the reasons why: productive life, jobs, determine for the majority of the active population where they live, how many hours a day they commute, where they are and what they do for the greater part of their time. The produced goods determine what people can afford: goods produced en masse are affordable and can reach many, small series are more expensive and therefore exclusive.

It is by the evolution of our productive system we label society: agrarian societies, industrial societies, information societies, knowledge society (the one we are supposedly in). 

Perhaps that last one has been labeled in a hurry: we are not quite there yet in the Star Trek utopian society where all material needs have been solved at a planetary scale and human beings can dedicate their lives to knowledge: this is not what our knowledge society means. What it means and why it is not true (why we are not there yet) we will elaborate on in the seminar.

In order for it to become true, among other things we would need to work on our productive system, which is far from ideal and far from balance. It is because of the malfunction of the economic system that there has been a recession (that they are in fact periodic), it is the most salient contributor to environmental degradation, and it is also the reason why many human capabilities are underdeveloped and deprived of nourishment. We will elaborate on each of these.


196,925m & PGDUDF as research cases in Mexican Cities Initiative at the GSD [Research]

Two of my projects--196965m and PGDUDF--have been selected as case studies for the Mexican Cities Initiative (MCI) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Take a look at them in the MCI portfolio:
Filed under 'Rethinking scales of knowledge': 196925m (with Laura Janka)
Filed under 'Alternative Urban Futures': PGDUDF (For SEDUVI)
The Mexican Cities Initiative at the Harvard Graduate school of Design is an emerging platform for experimental ideas and actionable knowledge to help guide the transformation of Mexico’s urban landscapes over the next decades. Drawing on the generous support of Mr. Rolando Uziel, a GSD Alumni, and under the direction of Diane Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, the Initiative supports a network of partnerships in Mexico, a public archive of Mexico-based research conducted at the GSD, and an annual competition for innovative summer student fellowships to research and communicate risk and resilience through the lens of everyday urbanism.
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