Demonstrator Pilots

The Bauhaus of the Seas Sails will be grounded on a portfolio of demonstrator pilots developed on sites located in four aquatic ecosystems: the Atlantic/Tagus River Estuary (Lisbon/Oeiras), the Venice Lagoon in the Adriatic and the Gulf of Liguria (Genoa), the Atlantic/Rhine–Scheldt Delta (Rotterdam), the Öresund Strait (Malmö) and the North Sea/Elbe River Estuary (Hamburg). 

As small-scale ‘lighthouse demonstrators’, these pilots will serve as test-beds for the implementation of Horizon Europe mission objectives and innovative solutions. They therefore deliver tangible and replicable results that lead to long-term benefits, while aiming to catalyse substantial additional investments that ensure the implementation of a full-scale project following the design phase. Crucially, the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails approach supports both the creation of ideas and the transfer of their ownership, so as to ensure an ideas-sharing culture and sustained legacy.

The sites, which include large-scale initiatives funded by EU structural and recovery funds, span significant coastal areas of each city/region. They are capable of adapting and scaling up Horizon Europe mission activities, thus creating a much-needed interconnection between cities, rivers, seas and the oceans. By committing their ambitious development plans to the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails, these cities/regions have demonstrated a clear leadership commitment on a political, planning and professional basis. As such, the demonstrator pilots will serve as a reference for the broader implementation of the New European Bauhaus under the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails vision, namely across observer cities located in the outermost regions such as the Azores and Madeira archipelagos in Portugal or the Canary Islands in Spain, as well as representatives from institutions in Africa and the Americas, such as Brazil. 

Tagus Estuary | Atlantic Ocean

Mar da Palha © Humberto Mouco | CML

Lisbon Mar da Palha

The Mar da Palha, or Sea of Straw (so named for the visual effect of sunlight on the waters of the Tagus estuary), is the waterway that connects the river to the Atlantic Ocean in Lisbon. The Estuário do Tejo Nature Reserve was established in the 1970s mainly on the estuary’s southern margin. The river’s northern margin, namely the Lisbon districts of Xabregas and Poço do Bispo, remains largely disconnected from the rest of the city. These districts are characterised by mostly obsolete industrial architecture but also by newly established, creative industries and activities with strong technological potential and economic feasibility. Pedrouços, a district where the Municipality of Lisbon plans to create a future Blue Hub as part of a permanent network spread along the river, will be the pilot project’s arrival point.

A Blue Makerspace drop aims to create a platform lab to conduct research and explore material applications and scenarios in urban environments related to the river Tagus, by means of an existing archive in the Beato area and the creation of a participatory heritage inventory. As a demonstrator pilot, it will prototype sea-based materials lab and scenarios open to the community. A Regenerative Menu drop aims to design a food menu that is beneficial to the Tagus river ecosystem. – create an eco-food-menu and test it in elementary school and museum canteens. As a demonstrator pilot, it will create an eco-food-menu and test it in elementary school and museum canteens.

The demonstration models will influence the programme of the Blue Hub, a knowledge and innovation hub dedicated to AI, the living sciences and the impacts of climate change on health. This hub will include an ID&I pole dedicated to the sea as an object of study.

Open Call NOW OPEN for three cross-disciplinary residencies taking place in Lisbon and Oeiras in 2024


Bugio Fort © Município de Oeiras


Oeiras has the world’s largest group of maritime fortifications, many of which are currently abandoned. Marked by the loss of marine biodiversity, marine litter and overfishing, the Municipality of Oeiras aims to reposition the city as a beacon for sea-based research and knowledge production. 

An Ocean Literacy drop aims to create an intergenerational strategy for sea education by gathering key researchers and partners from the public, private, and social sectors. As a demonstrator pilot, it will test an art-science residency project focused on the aquatic ecosystem of the Tagus, as well as implement a think-tank for the programme and model future contents of the future Tagus Museum. Developed by the Municipality of Oeiras and built on the unique set of maritime fortifications along its coast, this multi-nuclear museum will be dedicated to the sea, maritime heritage and culture. 

Open Call NOW OPEN for three cross-disciplinary residencies taking place in Lisbon and Oeiras in 2024

Öresund Strait | North Sea

Öresund Strait © Julian Hochgesang

Malmö Nyhamnen

Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmö is part of the transnational Öresund Region. Its population is young (nearly half is under 35) and diverse (179 nationalities represented), while its immigration figures are the highest of any major Swedish city. To address this growth the city must densify. Such effort includes converting an old industrial area (former docks) into a new vibrant, sustainable living and working district, named Nyhamnen or The New Harbour, where urban development is led by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

An Ocean Literacy drop will, with inspiration from UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) work, inform new relations between Malmö’s population and the sea, as well as new everyday practices in the city, through creative and participatory practices reaching out to different groups in Malmö.The activities within the ocean literacy drop will be connected to the current process through which blue biodiversity is being increased in Malmö’s south wharf basin, by developing a natural-based reef. The Wellbeing Reef drop will be reworked to adapt to this current process and focus on bringing the ocean back into the city, while creating common activities for both humans and non-humans. The drop’s activities will serve as experiments that explore how we understand the sea today, but also how we could be living with the sea according to a more mutual relationship. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) life frames of nature’s values model (Living from, – with, – in, or as nature) will be used in these activities to position how we talk about, and act towards and with the sea. The work will be used to design and refine a demonstrator, a “Ocean Culture Hub” in Malmö. The Hub will be a long-term collaborative platform to promote a new ocean culture in Malmö, where the sea is not seen as a resource but as a neighbour we need to take care of.

Hamburg Harbour © Bernd Didrich

Hamburg Elbe River

A major port city in northern Germany and the country’s second-largest city, Hamburg is connected to the North Sea by the Elbe river and is crossed by the rivers Alster and Bille. The city aims to become the European capital of green, digital transformation. 

A Regenerative Menu drop aims to design a food menu that addresses the effects of intense human activity caused by climate change on the transformation of the Hanseatic foodscape. An Ocean Literacy drop aims to create an intergenerational strategy for sea education, by gathering key researchers and partners from public, private, and social sectors. 

As demonstrator pilots, these drops will be developed through eco-gastronomy and Ocean Literacy fellowship programmes, which will design speculative solutions for a future Hanseatic foodscape. In articulation with the New Hanse Project, which addresses cooperative answers grounded on commons-based approach to data, the regenerative menu pilot will deliver an innovative digital prototype to address questions related to short food supply chains in the local economy, in particular regarding fishing in the Elbe river. 

The demonstration model explores future foodscapes in the context of the city of Hamburg. How will we eat in 2040? What will regenerative menus look like? What is the relationship between local agriculture and fishing with climate change? What is the ocean? What is the river? Art will be a vehicle to explore these questions and inform, engage and educate the public in a massive exhibition to take place in 2024. The co-creation process, which starts already in 2023 with a number of fellowships directed at local practitioners in the context of food, will have Ocean Literacy as a key element driving the cooperation and co-creation process of a common curriculum.


Venice Lagoon | Gulf of Liguria

Vernazzola beach © Comune di Genova

Genoa Vernazzola

Genoa’s highly urbanised coastline (93% of total area) crosses 65 river basins. Its dense cultural heritage (270,9 assets for 100Km2) is at risk due to the effects of extreme climate events (floods and coastal storms). The pilot’s development area will be Vernazzola, where the Genova Municipality administration is implementing a regeneration programme. Vernazzola is a typical, highly urbanised, sea-facing district that developed around the mouth of the Vernazza river within the Sturla district. Aside from sports and fishing clubs, the district hosts one of Genoa’s most popular beaches, located within a closed inlet between tall and narrow houses and the Sturla wastewater treatment plant. 

An Inclusive Digital Storytelling drop aims to promote the re-connection of citizens to this coastal area, highlighting the link between tradition and innovation. The demonstrator pilot aims to adapt the MEMEX software tool and platform for digital storytelling with content related to the available tangible and intangible heritage in the area, including the more than human perspective. Another goal is to engage local communities to develop an exchange between people and the sea, to raise awareness of the interdependency between human and marine ecosystems.

The demonstration model intends to integrate the historical framework of the city with the sea, promoting a positive and responsible use and enjoyment of the coast by Genoa’s citizens.

Venice Lagoon © AdSPMAS

Venice San Basilio-Santa Marta

Venice’s unique cultural heritage is endangered due to high tides. In the San Basilio district of Venice’s Dorsoduro sestiere, ancient settlements were replaced by industrial buildings and 18th/19th-century neighbourhoods. Large walls and multiple fences divide residential areas from the waterfront and port activities. The Venetian partners want to mend this urban fabric and reconnect people with the Lagoon, while creating new open spaces and housing.

A Blue Seniors drop aims to test interactive designs that reconnect senior citizens to the Lagoon, while a Future Tidal Architectures drop aims to co-design plans and social strategies for reconnecting the port to the city and attract new citizens. A Regenerative Menu drop aims to design a menu of eco-sustainable fishery and cultivation on the minor islands of the Lagoon as a lever for ecological transition.  

As demonstrator pilots, these drops will act upon the design of urban fabric and waterfront. They prototype senior citizen’s social inclusion, test urban delivery service for eco-sustainable fish and raise awareness for eco-aware tourism among citizens and tourists. The demonstration model will impact ongoing renewal activities operated by the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, the City of Venice, the Ca’ Foscari University and IUAV, while experimenting and producing feasibility studies that will inform new ideas for further investment and planning activities.


Rhine-Scheldt Delta | Atlantic Ocean

Westerschelde © Grenspark Groot Saeftinghe | Sven Dullaert

Delta Grenspark Groot Saeftinghe

This is a landscape of polders and creeks, mudflats and salt marshes, long hidden in the triangle between the river Scheldt, the port of Antwerp and a freeway. This territory, which covers approximately 18000 hectares, stands entirely on account of the national border between Belgium and the Netherlands that runs through it. 

A Future Tidal Architectures drop aims to forecast and design future scenarios that answer the challenges of sea-level rise and changing rainwater patterns in this transnational, liquid territory of jurisdiction.

As a demonstrator pilot, it will promote the prototyping of rewilding areas that have been reclaimed from the sea (de-pondering), as well as the engagement of local communities to find new cross-cutting usages and an identity-based model for the area that is grounded on the trinity of port development, nature development and agriculture.

The demonstration model will form the basis for the future integrated development of this area, which is part of the coast along the Belgian and Dutch borders. How to strengthen the existing estuarine nature values and make our landscape climate-adaptive? How can agriculture develop in a nature inclusive way? How can the port remain the economic gateway for the region? It will help various groups (farmers, environmentalists, port authorities) to develop shared values and new ideas for the area. Young designers will design future solutions for tidal architectures in the area, in a competition – such as Next Generation Podium for Eurodelta – to be organised in collaboration with Deltametropool/Sure Network.