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photo credit: Viviana Catros

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GRAFT and Marianne Birthler announce a second round of Graft Travel Grants

2018 marked the 28th anniversary of the fall of the inner German border wall and the point at which the Wall had been gone for exactly as long as it had existed. GRAFT and Marianne Birthler, the curators of the German Pavilion at the 16th Architecture Biennale in Venice, took this parallel as an opportunity to explore the topic of “UNBUILDING WALLS”. Following on from the exhibition and the issues it raised, the curators announced two Travel Grants with a value of 3000 € each.

In 2020, GRAFT and Marianne Birthler will be awarding a second round of two travel grants to fund study or project trips that deal with the topic of climate change and its consequences for the built environment.



Man-made climate change confronts us with a multitude of conflicts and dangers that challenge and question our way of life as individuals and in society. As architects, we bear particular responsibility for drastically reducing CO2 emissions in the construction industry, which currently account for 40 percent of all CO2 emissions. We need to rethink planning and construction practice in such a way that it no longer contributes to dangerously spiralling global warming and at the same time addresses new spatial requirements. In the awareness that this is a global problem, the travel grants aim to support projects that act across national borders to find solutions to phenomena caused by climate change.

The GRAFT Travel Grant 2020 aims to support work that will deal with built, physical or even strategic interventions aimed at overcoming global warming or its consequences. These can be of a planning, artistic or political nature. Inspired by the exhibition UNBUILDING WALLS, such works can also deal with current debates on nations, protectionism and division, for example with regard to migration patterns arising from climate change, or with associated aspects of climate justice. Other potential funding topics include analyses of or responses to extreme weather events, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, the protection of flora and fauna, or material and energy innovations at different scales. These may have an urban planning, architectural, political or social focus.

Research work conducted as part of such projects should have a transformative artistic or creative aspect, i.e. be more than merely documentary. These transformation processes can be presented in the form of models, designs, media installations, animations, photographic works or other similar formats. Applicants should specify the medium they intend to use as part of their project in the application.

Reflecting the spirit of collaboration between the politician Marianne Birthler and GRAFT architecture office, the grant is aimed particularly at applicants who address not only the topic outlined above but also its means of implementation from an interdisciplinary perspective. Especially welcome are collaborative projects that consider their topic in a broader socio-political context and bring together different approaches, backgrounds and strategies to leverage their full potential. Preference will be given to projects that are themselves climate-conscious in their approach, use of materials and means of mobility.

The funding provided by the grant should be used to cover travel costs arising in conjunction with research on the topic and with experiencing the subject of study in question, as well as for completing the work conducted and its presentation.

The work that the grant will fund must be completed by December 2020. The results will be presented in January 2021.



Eligible applicants are

– Bachelor, master’s or diploma students around the world,

– Bachelor Master’s and diploma graduates, who have completed their studies within the last two years

– Doctoral students

Group applications are permissible providing all members of the group meet the conditions for participation. The grant funding of 3000 € is independent of the number of participants.




All submitted documents must bear the names of the applicants.

Please submit the following documents:

Application form, completed and signed (group applications: supply a separate form for each member of the group)

– Certificate detailing enrolment as a student or doctoral student / diploma, bachelor, or master’s degree certificate or comparable document (group applications: supply certificates for each member of the group)

– Curriculum Vitae, max. 1 page (group applications: supply a CV for each member of the group)

– Portfolio of past work, max. 8 A4 pages, 10 MB (group applications: supply portfolios for all members of the group)

– Presentation of the concept/idea and the media format of the proposed result in the form of a short written description (max. 1 page) and sketch.

– Plan of proposed travel requirements

– Approximate breakdown of the project budget and proposed use of grant funding




Applicants should submit their concept idea and proposed use of grant funding in a form of their choosing in writing and digitally (pdf). Submissions should be written in English using metric units.

Each application should cover a single project only.




Applications should be sent to media@graftlab.com and be submitted by 14 March 2020.



The selection committee, comprising the politician Marianne Birthler (former Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic), Peter Cachola Schmal, director of the Deutsche Architekturmuseum, and the three founding partners of GRAFT architecture office, Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit, will decide jointly on the awarding of the grant based on the documents submitted by the applicants.

Grant funding will be paid in two instalments: 50% after the awarding of the grant and 50% on completion of the project.



The results of the project must take the form of an artistic/creative work. The format in which they are submitted and presented can be chosen by the applicant. The subject or topic of the project should be communicated in a clear, presentable form suitable for exhibiting or presenting to the public. Accordingly, applicants agree to elaborate their work or objects to a sufficient level of quality suitable for an exhibition. This applies equally to architectural and urban designs and concepts as it does to artistic objects, animations, performative works, films or photographic works.

In addition, applicants agree to document their research trip in writing and pictures in the form of a booklet and to prepare this accordingly for presentation on completion of the project.

The project results should be presented in English using metric units. The booklet must also be supplied in digital form.






GRAFT Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH and Marianne Birthler

Heidestrasse 50, 10557 Berlin, Germany

T +49-30-30645103-0   F +49-30-30645103-34



The selection procedure is not anonymous. The selection committee’s decision is final.



– Marianne Birthler, curator of UNBUILDING WALLS

– Lars Krückeberg, curator of UNBUILDING WALLS, CEO and founding partner of GRAFT Architects

– Wolfram Putz, curator of UNBUILDING WALLS, CEO and founding partner of GRAFT Architects

– Thomas Willemeit, curator of UNBUILDING WALLS, CEO and founding partner of GRAFT Architects

– Peter Cachola Schmal, curator and executive director of the Deutsche Architekturmuseum (DAM) and Commissioner General of the German Pavilion at the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2016



The decision of the selection committee and the awarding of the grant will be published in mid-April 2020 on the website www.graftlab.com/news.



GRAFT and Marianne Birthler will handle all submitted documents with due care but cannot take responsibility for any loss or damage of documents.



Application documents will be retained up to a set date for collection on prior request. After such time, the organisers will dispose of the application documents and cannot guarantee their continued availability.



The applicant(s) agree to confer GRAFT GmbH the right to publish and publicise the results of all project work made possible with the help of the grant funding free of charge.




– Announcement of the travel grant: December 2019

– Application deadline: 14 March 2020

– Selection committee meets to decide and announce the awarding of the grant: March 2020

– Submission of project work: December 2020