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unbuilding walls travel fellowship

photo credits: Brooke Adams, Antonio Giráldez López



We’re happy to share the realized projects of our two TRAVEL GRANT 2019 winners: Brooke Adams’ UNBUILDING HERE and Antonio Giráldez López’ MORE THAN WALLS.




Title of Project: MORE THAN WALLS

Research topic: Contemporary borderscapes in the Strait of Gibraltar

Destinations: Strait of Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco.

Testimony: “Europe borders have become a laboratory of radical spatial practices focused on migratory control that should be examined through its architectural implications. Borders cannot be conceived as walls but as dynamic assemblages of technological, human and architectural resources. Travelling through the Strait of Gibraltar allowed me to unveil and understand the inner logics of contemporary borderspace production based on a site-specific research through the main hotspots of Spanish South Border.”

–  Antonio Giraldez Lopez, Unbuilding Walls Travel Grant Winner 2019



Research Topic: The unbuilding of walls occurring across America, showing how people are UNBUILDING Here and providing timely narratives of hope.

Destinations: A journey through the US, from California to Washington DC.

Stories collected in the following cities: San Diego, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Tucson, AZ, San, Antonio, TX , Dallas, TX, New Orleans, LA, Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA, Charlottesville, VA , Washington, DC


Testimony: “In 2018, I travelled to the Venice Biennale to see GRAFT Architecture’s UNBUILDING WALLS exhibit at the German Pavilion. Standing among the towering black rectangles reminiscent of sections of the Berlin Wall, I was deeply impacted, imagining how unmovable, impassable, and permanent the Wall must have felt: not only physically, but mentally and socially. GRAFT offered a fellowship to creatively explore interventions for how barriers between people can be overcome.


The hope for the world lies in our ability to join together despite differences. My project displays the unbuilding of walls occurring across America, showing how people are UNBUILDING Here and providing timely narratives of hope. “

– Brooke Adams, Unbuilding Walls Travel Grant Winner 2019


Visit Brooke Adam’s project website for more >> https://www.unbuildinghere.com/


The jury committee selected two winners from numerous applications from over ten countries for this year’s UNBUILDING WALLS Travel Grant on January 14. We congratulate Antonio Giráldez López with “MORE THAN WALLS” and Brooke Adams with “UNBUILDING HERE” to their convincing proposals and wish them much joy and success in the realization within the coming months. Thanks to everyone who sent in a proposal and helped make the first UNBUILDING WALLS travel fellowship a success.



2018 marks the 28th anniversary of the fall of the inner German border wall and with it the point at which the Wall has been gone for exactly as long as it existed. The German Pavilion at the 16th Architecture Biennale in Venice, curated by GRAFT and Marianne Birthler, takes this parallel as an opportunity to explore the topic of “UNBUILDING WALLS”. The exhibition examines the unique spatial phenomenon of the void of the border zone and the projects that have since attempted to recode and reinhabit the former death strip in different ways. 28 projects illustrate how a range of approaches, typologies, interests and experiences of the Wall have given rise to a correspondingly broad spectrum of solutions and architectural debates. Alongside Germany’s experiences of unbuilding walls, the exhibition also examines current barriers, fences and walls around the world. Rising populism has brought questions of identity, protectionism and border defences back into the centre of politics and society and presents new challenges for architects, philosophers and social researchers.

Following on from the UNBUILDING WALLS exhibition at the 16th Architecture Biennale in Venice, the curators have announced the awarding of two UNBUILDING WALLS Travel Fellowships with a value of 3000 € each. The prize money supports an educational or project excursion, on-site research and the implementation of the results in concrete projects.

Eligible projects should be concerned with built, physical or strategic interventions aimed at overcoming barriers and can take the form of a concrete project or be of a political nature. Research work conducted as part of such projects should have a transformative artistic or creative aspect, i.e. be more than merely documentary in nature. 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.

Projects should examine the respective physical as well as mental barriers and ways to overcome them. They can focus on urban and architectural questions as well as social and political aspects. Inspired by the exhibition UNBUILDING WALLS, projects may examine current debates on nations, protectionism and border demarcation as well as other barriers not necessarily related to nationalist perspectives. They might be concerned with social segregation and other “walls in the mind” and should incorporate and integrate social and sociological components as part of an overall holistic approach.

Reflecting the spirit of collaboration between the politician Marianne Birthler and GRAFT architecture office, the fellowship is aimed particularly at applicants who address not only the topic of overcoming walls and boundaries 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.

The funding provided by the fellowship 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 fellowship will fund must be completed by October 2019. The results will be presented in November 2019.



Eligible applicants are

Bachelor, Master’s or diploma students around the world as well as graduates who completed their studies within the last two years

Master’s and Diploma graduates (completing their studies after 31 December 2018)

Doctoral students

Group applications are permissible providing all members of the group meet the conditions for participation. The fellowship 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 fellowship funding

Applicants should submit their concept idea and proposed use of fellowship 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.



Submission of the application until the 31st of December, 2018 to media@graftlab.com



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) and the three founding partners of GRAFT architecture office, Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit, will decide jointly on the awarding of the fellowship based on the documents submitted by the applicants.

Fellowship funding will be paid in two instalments: 50% after the awarding of the fellowship 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 application. The subject or topic of the project should be communicated in a clear, presentable form suitable for exhibiting or presenting to the public. The scholarship holders commit themselves to a representative presentation of the objects and works that adequately meets the needs of an exhibition context. This applies just as much to architectural and urban designs and concepts as to artistic objects, animations and performance, film or photographic works.

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 submitted as digital file.





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



GRAFT and Marianne Birthler will announce the awarding of the fellowship in mid-January 2019 on the company 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 fellowship funding free of charge.



Announcement of the travel fellowship: 3 October 2018

Application deadline: 31 December 2018

Selection committee meets to decide and announce the awarding of the fellowship: mid-January 2019

Submission of project work: October 2019

Presentation of the results: 9 November 2019