Canal Connectivity

Featuring the Work of 2023 Nix Fellow Matthew Tepper
Canal Saint Martin, France
Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, France, July 2023. © Matthew Tepper

FRI, APR 5 – WED, APR 24, 2024

MON, APR 15, 2024

Venice of the North refers to a collection of European cities paralleling Venice’s revolutionary vision in prioritizing waterways, specifically canals, into the cities’ systems of culture, transportation, design, and development. While the influx of canals rose through trade industries, they began formulating a unique cultural identity for each canal’s respective region. While prominent stretches of canals discouraged public access built up by industry, new adaptations have formulated a re-established vision of connecting land and water, allowing for dynamic and ever-changing opportunities as a visual and experimental focal point. 

This exhibition by 2023 Sarah McArthur Nix Travel Fellow and UVA undergraduate architecture student Matthew Tepper looks to Paris’ Canal Saint-Martin and Canal de l'Ourcq, and Southern France’s Canal du Midi as sites for investigation, alongside other Venice of the North canal systems. This historical and present-day analysis aims to understand waterfront characteristics in relationship to non-waterfront region counterparts. Further, it introduces conceptual design possibilities to curate successful water and waterfront development for cities that could initiate greater connectivity through public, private, and interstitial realms. 


Matthew Tepper

Matthew Tepper is a fourth-year undergraduate student from Long Island, New York, pursuing a B.S. in Architecture with minors in Global Sustainability and Urban + Environmental Planning. With a lifelong fascination for urbanity through means of photography and digital art, his passion for architecture has continued to explore different mediums through recent studio courses, research, and a final thesis proposal. Tepper thematically focuses on community design and how to reimagine typologies for interstitial spaces and public life. Building upon lessons compiled from the Sarah McArthur Nix Fellowship, his Spring thesis proposal, Reinterpreting a Post-Industrial Identity: A Community-Driven and Climate Resilient Hub, will explore the urgency for coastal resiliency through a transect of Red Hook, Brooklyn, analyzing historical notions of commerce and industrialization as an arts-driven, connected, and revolutionalized waterfront. 
Since January 2022, Tepper has proudly served as the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Chapter President, recognized as one of the fastest-growing chapters globally in 2022. He was recently the recipient of the 2023 National Chapter Leader Honor Award at the AIAS Forum Conference in New Orleans in January 2024. His involvement extends as a Student Ambassador for prospective and admitted student information sessions and tours. He is also a Lawn Resident and serves as an engaged representative of the School of Architecture Student Council and Council of Presidents.


Supported by the Sarah McArthur Nix endowment. 

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