Catherine De AlmeidaAssistant Professor - Landscape Architecture
Brief Vitae Download Curriculum Vitae
Master of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, 2011
Bachelor of Architecture, Pratt Institute, School of Architecture, 2008
Catherine De Almeida is a designer and educator with a diverse portfolio of design and research projects focused on the lifecycles of materials and landscapes. Her work has ranged in scale from large bio-cultural and sacred indigenous landscapes, to site design and architectural work, to furniture design and materials research. With a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, she explores ways of embedding multiple functions and programs within a single entity, space, building, or site to form greater efficiencies in design. Catherine’s design-research is built around landscape lifecycles—a holistic approach integrating multiple programs to reclaim landscapes and materials associated with waste.
For several years, she was a researcher for the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Loeb Library Materials Collection, where she analyzed and developed new methods for Lifecycle Assessment in materials. This led to a passion for incorporating the lifecycles of materials and sites in the multi-scalar design of landscapes. She was awarded a Penny White Fellowship to research the lifecycle and use of geothermal energy in Iceland, which led to her graduate thesis, “Energy Afterlife: Choreographing the Geothermal Gradient of Reykjanes, Iceland.”
Before joining UNL’s College of Architecture in 2016, Catherine taught undergraduate and graduate design studios at Cornell University focused on using waste reuse processes in brownfield transformation to create multi-layered hybrid landscapes that are economically generative, ecologically rich cultural destinations. She was also an Associate at Whitham Planning and Design in Ithaca, New York where she worked as a landscape architect and planner on numerous urban infill projects, including the transformation of a deindustrialized Superfund site into a mixed-use district known as the Chain Works District. Catherine has lectured about her work at Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY ESF, and the DredgeFest: Great Lakes Symposium and will present a forthcoming paper at the Landscape Architecture as Necessity Conference in September hosted by University of Southern California.
Areas of Interest
Catherine’s research and design interests focus on material and energy reuse in diversified site programming to promote resilience, adaptation, and flexibility in design. She is particularly interested in designing landscapes that allow waste streams from one system to become fuel for other systems. Her landscape lifecycles design-research synthesizes lifecycle approaches with concepts of industrial ecology and urban metabolism. These interests promote the restructuring of local and regional infrastructural systems to reclaim vulnerable sites and territories associated with perceived undesirable conditions, and explore the relationships between environmental justice, waste, and brownfields. She is ultimately interested in how humans interact with ecological systems and resources and how design can improve these relationships by establishing symbiotic, hybrid bio-cultural systems. In addition to waste, Catherine is also interested in exploring the use of another category of neglected materials – intangible and ephemeral forces such as heat, wind, and humidity – as media of design.
“[Un]Desirable Waste: Reclaiming Vulnerable Deindustrializing Territories with a Landscape Lifecycle Approach” in Preemptive Territorial Design, Landscape Architecture as Necessity Conference Proceedings (forthcoming).
“Material Remnants: Design Archaeology on Ithaca Falls and the Ithaca Gun Brownfield Site,” in Landscape Architecture Frontiers: Heritage, Conservation, and Archaeology, Vol. 2 Issue 6 (March 2015): 76-83.