Graduate Architecture

Felecia Davis: The Jeffrey Fine, C'76, MArch'78 and Andrea Katz Lecture

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 6:30pm
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Virtual event. Join via Zoom or visit Weitzman on YouTube to watch the livestream.


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The Department of Architecture presents Felecia Davis, who will give the Jeffrey Fine, C'76, MArch'78 and Andrea Katz Lecture.

Davis’s talk is entitled “Seams: Crafting an Architecture.” She explains:

The path that one walks as a Black architect or designer has many seams, or places that one improvises and stitches together to make a story, or really understand where one is in the world and how to make sense of things that cannot under any circumstances make any sense and never did. There are many gaps and lacunae that are bridged by these seams. Working along these gaps constructs a place of creativity, and ways of making that integrate fragments from the past but in fact also project a future. [I] will present prior and current works in computational textiles or textiles that use sensors or microcontrollers or simply the natural properties of the textile itself to communicate some information to people. These projects are examples of work along a seam.

Felecia Davis’ work in computational textiles questions how we live. She re-imagines how we might use textiles in our daily lives and in architecture. Computational textiles are textiles that are responsive to cues in the environment using sensors and microcontrollers or textiles that use the changeable properties of the material itself to communicate information to people. In architecture these responsive textiles used in lightweight shelters are transforming how we communicate, socialize, and use space. Davis is interested in developing computational methods and design in relation to specific bodies in specific places engaging specific social, cultural and political constructions. Davis is an Associate Professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University and is the director of SOFTLAB @ PSU. This lab is dedicated to developing soft computational materials and textiles and is for the use of Penn State students and faculty, industry, and community partners engaged in collaborative research and projects. The point of the lab is to establish a culture of hands on making and thinking through computational materials and the lab links together research, teaching and practice. Davis’ work in architecture and textiles connects art, science, engineering and design and was recently featured by PBS in the Women in Science Profiles series. Davis is currently completing a book that examines the role of computational materials in our lives titled Softbuilt: Networked Architectural Textiles. Davis’ work was part of the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Reconstruction: Blackness and Architecture in America. She is a founding member of the Black Reconstruction Collective a not-for-profit group of Black architects, scholars and artists supporting design work about the Black diaspora.

Davis has completed a PhD in the Design and Computation Group in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT. She received her Master of Architecture from Princeton University, and her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Tufts University. Davis is also principal in her own design firm, FELECIADAVISTUDIO where the firm has received several finalist awards for her architectural designs in open and invited design competitions.

This lecture is sponsored by the Jeffrey Fine, C'76, MArch'78 and Andrea Katz Lecture Fund, providing financial support for an annual public lecture presented by distinguished practitioners of architecture. 

If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email news@design.upenn.edu to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.