Catherine De Almeida
Trained as a landscape architect and building architect, Catherine’s research examines the materiality and performance of waste landscapes through exploratory methods in design research and practice. 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. Through her design work, research, teaching and engagement, she explores ways of creating multiplicity within a single entity, space, building or site to form greater efficiencies and performative capabilities in design. Since 2014, Catherine has developed her design research—landscape lifecycles—as a holistic approach that synthesizes multiple programs, forming hybrid assemblages in the transformation of waste landscapes and materials. She uses landscape lifecycles as a framework for investigating the performance, visibility, citizenships, emotions and injustices of waste materials and landscapes.
For several years, she was a researcher for the Materials Collection at Harvard University, where she analyzed and developed new methods for the lifecycle assessment of materials used in built environments. This led to a passion for incorporating the lifecycles of materials and sites in the multi-scalar design of waste 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,” and has been published and presented in various outlets. More recently, she was awarded several grants to continue her research in Iceland, focused on the Blue Lagoon and its waste reuse strategies. She continues to expand this research through documenting case studies of waste landscapes that have evolved from bottom-up processes, advancing landscape lifecycles as a critical lens for evaluating the landscape performance of existing sites that engage with waste reuse.
Before joining the Department of Landscape Architecture at UW, Catherine was an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she developed courses examining the multi-scalar implications of materiality and waste. Prior to this, Catherine was a lecturer at Cornell University where she taught undergraduate and graduate design studios focused on brownfield transformation. 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 received her MLA from Harvard University and her BARCH from Pratt Institute. She is a certified remote drone pilot, an Honorary Member of the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts, and a Fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies. Her work has been supported by numerous grants, and recognized in national and international publications and media outlets, including the Landscape Research Record, Journal of Landscape Architecture, and Journal of Architectural Education.