Marya Demetra Kanakis
selected projects / archive / info

Chicago, 1996.
Marya Demetra Kanakis is a Greek-American architect, researcher, educator, and editor.

Spanning ecology, urbanism, media theory, and curation, her explorations critique ecological urbanism as a coexistence between humans and machines, revealing new representations of nature through technology. From designing healthcare clinics, to completing urban design research for SOM, to working on sustainable housing projects for Kanye West - Marya’s work is multiscalar, revolving around her interests in science, art, botany, and STS studies. During her studies at Harvard University, Marya’s research projects weave narratives of sustainability into unexplored territories: from exploring the lineage of designed species throughout medicine to narrating episodes of global landscape destruction from nuclear energy.  Her recent research, Grafted Natures: The Ecology of a Blurred Species, proposes repositioning authorship in the Anthropocene. She writes on the history of mankind as told through parallel histories of grafting (botanical and medical) exposing centuries of authorship in reconstructing ‘nature’ - and translating this to the design of a book. Reconstructions of ‘nature’ are also explored in a videographic herbarium where 3d-scanned genetically modified crops are juxtaposed against ancient botanical rituals.

Her current research interrogates new methods of publication design and media, culminating into the BOOKSCAPES lecture series for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Her methodology for all projects involves mapping archives of data and bibliographies. After completing her post-graduate studies, Marya returned to her alma mater, Illinois Institute of Technology, to teach a graduate studio on the topic of health and urbanism. Her work has been featured in the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and several independent exhibitions (Cambridge, Chicago, Venice, Milan, Rome, Mexico City, and Munich). Her editorial work includes: Future Tempos: Conversations Across Time and Media with ACTAR Press, and authored texts within the PhD Journal, Prometheus, as well as a forthcoming contribution to DISC Journal and an interview feature in USC’s journal, Space.

Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Master of Design Studies in Ecology

Illinois Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Architecture, honors
Specialization in History + Theory

Universita IUAV di Venezia
visiting student