Research, Scholarship and Creative Work

CADC Seed Grants

The purpose of the CADC Seed Grant program is to provide funding to support faculty research, scholarship and creative work.

These funds serve to advance faculty work that has the potential to secure external funding or yield visibility to the faculty and college through resulting work, including publications, exhibitions and fellowships. The application cycle typically opens in late Fall.

2023 Awardees

Mark Alan Blumberg
Restorative Urbanism — Engagement, Exploration, Exhibition, Dialog

This project engages community members in an exploration of restorative design potentials in North Nashville. Experiments in interactive community engagement activities will inform AU student designs. The analyses and design solutions will be presented to the North Nashville community via a symposium panel and exhibition at the Nashville Civic Design Center.

Gwendolyn Cohen
Soil Atlas of the Alabama Blackland Prairie

This project seeks to closely study soil to reveal its complex ecologies and its recordings of history. It will engage with the tools and techniques of diverse scientific disciplines and reveal the findings through expressive drawing and narrative. By selecting a single area in Alabama, the Blackland Prairie Soil Area, this close look will reveal the life and stories contained within a handful of soil.

Sarah Coleman and Isaac Cohen
Super Significant Sections: Reading Cultural Landscapes as ‘Process’

This proposal grows from insights generated during our 2022-23 SEED Grant, “Underdog Landscapes,” in which identified a range of landscapes that we believe merit inclusion in the official record, and by extension, care and acknowledgement. While we continue to document, engage with and promote those landscapes, this proposal emerges from observations we made of sites inscribed onto state and national registries. In particular, we identified a number of lesser-known sites in which preservation practices of bounding create bizarre disjunctures in the broader landscape. These strange or unsavory adjacencies reveal both present and historic lack of consensus about the significance of these places, disputes over what these landscapes mean and by extension what they should be for. This study seeks to account for these disjunctures, anachronisms and adjacencies, and draw them back into relation with site histories that have been separated from their contemporary contexts.

Jake Elbrecht and Mackenzie Stagg
A New Hybrid Timber Construction Typology for Affordable Housing: Phase 1A

The abundance of timber in the Southeast is driving interest and innovation in mass timber construction at a moment when affordable housing is critically needed throughout the United States. One unexplored method of integrating mass timber with affordable housing is the development of a new hybrid timber construction typology, integrating the strength and speed of construction afforded by mass timber while maintaining the established systems associated with stick-framed construction. As Phase 1A of a greater initiative, this research seeks to tackle the feasibility, benefits and challenges of a new hybrid timber construction typology in affordable housing. The project deliverables will include a white paper and a matrix of design solutions that can be utilized in subsequent research phases.

Eilís Finnegan
Gifting, Ghosting and Giga-waste

“Gifting, Ghosting and Giga-waste” is a proposal offshoot from a recently finalized project and exhibition for the 5th Annual Chicago Architecture Biennial 2023, which aims to further develop scholarship and technological innovation by way of AI (artificial intelligence) diffusion modeling to design speculative futures (gifting), illustrate ghosted industrial histories (ghosting) and explore digital representation techniques for mitigating data hoarding (giga-waste).

Aurélie Frolet
Drawing Divine Water: Analyzing the Nuragic Holy Wells of Sardinia

The purpose of this research proposal is to visit the Nuragic Holy Wells in Sardinia in order to document and analyze them through architectural drawing. While they have been studied archaeologically, they are relatively unknown in the architectural discipline. I propose to use experimental contemporary drawing techniques to introduce these Bronze Age infrastructural relics to the architectural discussion. Their mythical, symbolic, ceremonial, celebratory, didactic and community-oriented relationship to hydrological infrastructures provides valuable examples from which present day designers can learn. The requested funds would be used for travel to Sardinia, lodging, incidentals and museum and archaeological site entry fees.

Matthew Hall and Nathan Matteson
Judgment & Value: A case study on architectural impact

How do we judge the architectural act and measure its impact across a diverse landscape of perspectives? What can we learn from to advance, and what can we discard? The product of this grant is a detailed book proposal and potential symposium via a collaboration with practicing architects, engineers, artists and critics internationally, each framing a particular body of work in post-war Sweden relative to the competing forces that determine architecture’s purpose, impact and ultimate fate.

David Hill
Auburn Basins [Experimentation + Monitoring]

This project proposes to evaluate, manipulate and monitor a series of large-scale vegetated stormwater basins installed in December 2020 at the Advanced Structural Testing Laboratory (ASEL) facility at Auburn University. Four stormwater basins were designed by Hillworks (landscape architects) in collaboration with LBYD civil engineers. Each of the basins were designed to have a distinct plant community and accommodate different volumes (and types) of stormwater. After three years of plant establishment and growth, this grant proposal intends to assess the overall efficacy of each of the distinct basins, propose strategic manipulations to each plant community (employing both tactical seed distribution and plant removal) and to monitor the vegetal, stormwater and spatial results of each manipulation.

Kelly Homan
Alabama Grasslands 2.0

This SEED grant proposal seeks to build on a previously awarded SEED grant and a larger awarded grant through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The proposal is to continue documenting grasslands across the state.

Frank Hu
Expanding Scales of sUAS Multispectral Imagery Analytics

Building upon the work from a previous SEED grant related to multispectral imagery capture of meadows, this proposal expands the scope and scale of that research by utilizing an upgraded multispectral sUAS (drone) to analyze a wider range of sites. This sUAS allows for the capture of more challenging sites in both type and scale, including urban sites, wetland sites, forested sites, as well as continuing the work in meadow sites. Finally, this project aims to complete the larger goal of developing a sUAS how-to guide that assists in making this technology more accessible and useful to the users in the design discipline.

Emily Knox, William Shivers and Kiel Moe
Auburn Forest First Futures

This grant will support three forest and timber-focused faculty representing the departments of architecture and landscape architecture to begin developing a forest-first, non-extractive approach to the future of Alabama forests, timber products and timber buildings. The forest-first studies will document Alabama’s forest types, their natural and managed histories, physiological dynamics, risks and projected futures, ultimately taking the form of a series of drawings and models. The grantwork will culminate with the production of an exhibit and workshop, using these initial forest-first studies to more publicly consider the role of landscape architecture in thinking around timber futures.

Junshan Liu
Data Collection and Analysis for the Sustainable Preservation of Cultural Heritage Sites in Petra, Jordan

This proposal presents a collaborative research endeavor between the CADC and Georgia Tech, focused on assessing tourism and environmental impacts on UNESCO World Heritage sites in Petra, Jordan. The study uses advanced survey techniques, including 3D LiDAR scanning and photogrammetry to provide a comprehensive understanding of Petra’s vulnerabilities to inform future preservation efforts. The initiative advances research and scholarship in building science and architecture and leverages established partnerships for larger grant opportunities from agencies such as US AID and UNESCO.

David Shanks and Jacob Elbrecht
Sylvan Skins: Timber Overclad Panels for Net-Zero Carbon Retrofit of Affordable Housing

The purpose of this research proposal is to explore the application of timber-based biogenic materials to a façade overclad panel system for the retrofit of affordable housing. The requested funds would be used to design, prototype and test the performance of a timber overclad panel that could be applied to the retrofit of existing public housing in Alabama. The research aims to demonstrate how a timber-based overclad panel system can deliver important benefits for low-income building occupants, the local economy and the environment more broadly.

Robert Sproull
Exploring the Intersection of Critical and Social Infrastructure in European Architecture and Landscape

Funding for this project would go towards documenting European examples of buildings, structures and landscapes that fulfill the dual role of critical and social infrastructure. The methodology of this research will encompass site visits, photographic documentation and architectural analysis through section drawings showing the relationship between critical and social infrastructural elements for each visited project. The majority of funding in this grant request would cover expenses for travel before and after my participation in the ENVD European Study Abroad Program.

Xavier Vendrell
Site, Construction, My Favorite Movies and Other Circumstances. Xavier Vendrell architect

This work will assist in the completion of the book: Site, Construction, My Favorite Movies and Other Circumstances. Xavier Vendrell architect (tentative title) with an anticipated publication in fall 2025. This Seed Grant will allow Vendrell to finish collecting materials and essays and editing the manuscript for publication. The funding requested would be used to hire an editorial assistant to aid manuscript review, and the compilation of some graphical material.

Eric M. Wetzel and Kenneth S. Sands, II
Core Temperature Visualization System (COTVIS)

Heat stress is a major contributor to injuries and fatalities to skilled construction workers. Recent on-person sensor advancements have alerted workers to acute physiological issues before those issues become serious. This research attempts to fill the gaps in the current market solution with an on-person visualization system.