Cantrell + Mendel awarded Graham Foundation Grant

Landscape Architecture Faculty awarded research grant for Ephemeral Material Infrastructures

Congratulations to Brad Cantrell, Professor and Chair of UVA Landscape Architecture, and Emma Mendel, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, on being awarded a 2018 Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in Fine Arts Grant.

This award supports the development of their research project, Ephemeral Material Infrastructures: Expanding Intuitive Knowledge of Hydrological Systems.


Project Abstract: 

The design and management of hydrologic landscapes requires methodologies that strengthen microcosmic relationships between particulates and water, in turn this research will allow for the capacity to be articulate with the tools used to manipulate and implement materials across vast scales of indeterminacy.

Deltaic landscapes suffer from the abstraction of ecological complexity at the hand of large scale planning doctrines and the exertion of engineered control systems. Both methods have impinged the delta and generalized the complexities of cultural landscapes in relation to ecological systems. Through the understanding of temporal changes in material relationships, this research posits deeper knowledge of intricate material systems that can be translated to the design of entire watersheds. The researchers will document material states of soil and hydrology in fluvial management, to develop a coherent design language that can be applied to micro-infrastructures. This methodology promises to create new forms of emergent infrastructure that are intuitively operated but connected and performing across vast territories. The research will focus on the alteration of material states and examine how these may occur in situ through forms of catalyzation and ossification, highlighting an ongoing reciprocity between material, site, and territory.


This April 2018, The Graham Foundation awarded $534,850 for new grants to individuals around the world to support 74 projects engaging original ideas that advance our understanding of the designed environment. The funded projects include exhibitions, publications, films, new media works, and site-specific installations that promote rigorous scholarship, stimulate experimentation, and foster critical discourse in architecture.

The funded projects were selected from over 600 proposals and represent a diverse group of individuals and collectives, totaling 74 projects undertaken by 111 collaborators. The projects are helmed by architects, artists, choreographers, historians, and filmmakers, who hail from around the world, representing cities such as Milan, Italy; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Tallinn, Estonia; Kampala, Uganda; and Chicago, IL, where the Graham Foundation is based. The new grantees join a worldwide network of individuals and institutions that the Graham Foundation has supported through the award of more than 4,400 grants over the past 62 years in its role as one of the most significant funders in the field of architecture.

You can also read about the announcement in an exclusive article published in the Architect's Newspaper.