Felecia Davis is an associate professor of architecture, lead researcher in the Stuckeman Center for Design and Computation, and director of SOFTLAB in the Stuckeman School. She has lectured, taught workshops, published, and exhibited her work in textiles, computation, and architecture internationally, including the Swedish School of Textiles, Microsoft Research, and the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.).
Davis’s work in architecture and textiles connects art, science, engineering and design and re-imagines how we might use textiles in our daily lives and in architecture. In 2022, Davis was named a winner of the Architectural League of New York’s 2022 Emerging Voices competition. She was featured by PBS in the “Women in Science Profiles” series and her work was part of the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) “Reconstructions: Blackness and Architecture in America” exhibition in 2021.
As a result of her inclusion in the MoMA show, Davis co-founded the Black Reconstruction Collective, a non-profit organization of Black architects, scholars and artists that supports and funds design work about the Black diaspora.
She is currently writing a book that examines the role of computational materials in our lives titled “Softbuilt: Networked Architectural Textiles.”
Davis has taught architectural design for more than 10 years at Cornell University, and design studios, most recently at Princeton University, and the Cooper Union in New York.
She is principal in her own design firm, FELECIADAVISTUDIO. She has received several finalist awards for her architectural designs in open and invited design competitions such as the California Valley Central History Museum, the Queens Museum of Art Addition and the Pittsburgh Charm Bracelet Neighborhood Revitalization Competition, and the Little Haiti Housing Association in Miami.
Davis earned a Ph.D. from the Design and Computation Group in the School of Architecture and Planning at M.I.T. She received her M.Arch from Princeton University, and her B.S. in Engineering from Tufts University. While at M.I.T., she worked on a dissertation that develops computational textiles or textiles that respond to commands through computer programming, electronics, and sensors for use in architecture. These responsive textiles used in lightweight shelters will transform how we communicate, socialize, and use space.
- B.S. from Tufts University in 1982
- M.Arch. from Princeton University in 1993
- Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017
- Architectural Design I
- Architectural Design II
- Special Topics; Inquiry into Design and Computation
- Special Topics: Responsive Architectural Fiber Composites
- Special Topics: Softbuilt: Crafting Technology with Textiles
- Architectural Design I
- Design Computing Guided Research
- Thesis [M.S./PhD]
Honors + Awards
- Winner of the Architectural League of New York’s 2022 Emerging Voices competition
- Agnes Scollins Carey Memorial Early Career Professorship in the Arts 2018-2021 for “Knitted Light: Construction of a 1:1Demonstration Prototype for a Solar Fiber Tension Shade Structure Using Fiber Optic Strands and Potentials for Fiber Optic Strands in Knitted Textiles,” College of Arts and Architecture, Penn State.
- Stuckeman Family Faculty Career Advancement Incentive Award for Softbuilt: Computational Textile Architectures, book forthcoming from Actar-Press.
- Stuckeman Faculty Career Incentive Grant 2018 for the book Softbuilt: Computational Textile Architectures.
- Best Paper Award for “Touch:Communication of Emotion Through Computational Textile Expression”. 6th International Conference on Distributed, Ambient, and Pervasive Interactions. Human and Computing Interactions International Conference, July.
- H. Campbell and Eleanor Stuckeman Fund for Collaborative Research for “Woven Light: Manufacture of a Solar Fiber Tension Structure Shade Prototype Using Fiber Optic Strands”. Interdisciplinary Research with Department of Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture, the Department of Architectural Engineering, the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The Pennsylvania State University, Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
- The Raymond A. Bowers Program for Excellence in Design and Construction in the Built Environment, for “Woven Light: Design of a Solar Fiber Tension Structure Shade Prototype using Fiber Optic Strands”. Interdisciplinary Research with Department of Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture and the Department of Architectural Engineering. The Pennsylvania State University College of Engineering.
- Innovation Grant 2016, College of Arts and Architecture for “Couture Computing: Wearable Computing” to develop a new Stuckeman Center for Design Computing course for graduate students offered spring 2018.
- College of Arts and Architecture Individual Faculty Grant for “Wearable Water Filters”. The Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture.
- Schlossman Research Award and Fellow, M.I.T. School of Architecture Planning  For FELT: The Textility of Communicating Emotion.
- Harold Horowitz Research Award, M.I.T. School of Architecture and Planning and the Media Lab  For Patterning with Heat: Responsive Tension Structures.
- Rosalia Ennis Research Award for African American Women, M.I.T. School of Architecture and Planning  For Patterning with Heat: Responsive Tension Structures.
- Best Paper of Conference, for “Sensing Touch Curtain: Soft Architecture”, Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics (Sigradi) 2011, Augmented Culture, Santa Fe Argentina, November.
- M.I.T. Graduate Student Council Travel Award, University-Wide Award.
- M.I.T. Presidential Fellow, University-Wide Award.
Exhibitions + Productions
- Made Sense: Matters of Art and Design Education: TOUCH panel presenter, Chaired by Yasmine Abbas and Aaron Knochel.
- Wearing the Future: Imagining the Possibilities, Workshop on sensors and wearables for health and wellness at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine Co_chair with Dr. Rebecca Bascom M.D., March.
- “Softbuilt: Networked Architectural Textiles,” Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Sept. 2018. Podcast GSAPP Conversations #52 with Alexander Odom.
- “Touch: Communication of Emotion through Computational Textile Expression,” Presentation at the Human Computer Interaction International 2018, Distributed, Ambient and Pervasive Interactions, Emotion and Ambient Computing, Las Vegas,” https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-91131-1_23.
- “Positioning Materials: Leggings for Physical Activity Classification”, Presentation at the WEAR NYC 2018 conference The Thread that Ties Us Together. Innovation Track, Material and Design Innovations. June.
- “Softbuilt: Networked Architectural Textiles,” Presentation at the ArcInTex Body and Space: Cross Disciplinary Dialogues at the Swedish School of Textiles, April.
- “Quantified Walk: Knitted Prototype for Gait Monitoring,” Presentation for the Center for Research on Advance Fiber Technologies at the Programmable and Wearable Molecular Composites Symposium, The Pennsylvania State University, March.
- “FELT: Emotion, Space and Communication”, Presentation at the Between Data and Senses: Architecture, Neuroscience and the Digital Worlds, University of East London and Arup Global Research, London, March.
- “Quantified Walk: Knitted Prototype for Gait Monitoring”, Presentation at the Material Research Institute Millenium Cafe, February.
- “FELT: Emotion, Space and Communication,” Exhibition in the Faculty Arts Research Space, Pennsylvania State University, College of Arts and Architecture December.
- “Quantified Walk: Knitted Prototype for Gait Monitoring,” Center for Health Organization Transformation Symposium, at The Pennsylvania State University, September.
- “Responsive Textile Panels,” Exhibition in the first Stuckeman Center for Design Computing Open House and Symposium Design + Computing, The Pennsylvania State University, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, April.
- “Please Touch Gently,” Exhibition in the first Stuckeman Center for Design Computing Open House and Symposium, The Pennsylvania State University, Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, April.
- “Patterning by Heat: Responsive Textile Tension Structures,” November Keller Gallery, M.I.T. School of Architecture and Planning.
- “The Textile Mirror: The Geometry of Emotion,” video shown by the Design and Computation Group at the Advances in Architectural Geometry, Centre Pompidou, Paris, September.
- “Liquid Wall,” Installation at Haefele Showroom for the International Furniture Fair New York, sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper, Haefele and Raydoor, Spring.
- “Urban Feedback Loop, the Rectangle, Urban Plan,” Curated Installations for the North-side of Pittsburgh, Exhibited at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Spring.
- “shotguns,” video drawing exhibited in the Drawn In Exhibition, at August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Spring.
- “Walking Tours: Urban Riffs” Exhibition in the harlemworld: Metropolis as Metaphor show at the Studio Museum in Harlem, January–April.
- Installation at Project Rowhouses Shotguns Exhibition, Curated by David Brown and William D. Williams, Houston, Texas.
SELECTED WORKSHOPS AND LECTURES
- “Soft Architectures: Computational Textiles and Augmented Space,” Invited to present to Gediminas Urbonas’ course in M.I.T. Art Culture and Technology Program, April.
- “3D printed Textiles” Workshop for Leah Buechley’s New Textiles Course, MIT Media Lab, April, Workshop Lead, Felecia Davis.
- “Form Active Structures and Digital Translations” Workshop at the Swedish School of Textiles March, Workshop Lead, Felecia Davis.
- “Soft Architectures,” Lecture at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras Designer Seminar Series March.
Publications + Presentations
- Book, Softbuilt: Computational Textile Architectures, Actar-D Press, forthcoming 2019.
- Chapter, “FELT: Emotion, Space and Communication.”In Data, Architecture and the Experience of Place, Ed. Anastasia Karandinou, Routledge-Taylor Press, forthcoming 2019.
- Chapter, “FELT: Communicating Emotion Through a Shape Changing Textile Wall Panel” in Textiles for Advanced Applications ed. Bipin Kumar, Intech Publishers, Croatia, fall.
- Chapter, “Knitted Heat-Active Textiles: Pixelated Reveal and the Radiant Daisy” in Acive Matter, ed. Skylar Tibbits, M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA, fall.
- Book Editor with Jose Duarte, Design + Computing, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Pennsylvania State University, fall.
- Dissertation, Softbuilt: Computational Textiles and Augmenting Space Through Emotion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Chapter co-Author with Mabel Wilson and Yolande Daniels, “Inside and Out: Three Black Women’s Perspectives on Architectural Education in the Ivory Tower” in Space Unveiled: Invisible Cultures in the Design Studio ed. Carla Bell, Routledge Press.
- Patterning by Heat: Responsive Textile Structures, Catalogue SA+P Press, Cambridge, Mass.
- “One Week, Eight Hours” in The Green Tripod: Ecology, Economy and Social Equity in Service of Sustainable Design ed. Kim Tanzer and Rafael Longoria, Routledge Press Spring.
- Chapter “One Week, Eight Hours” in Row: Trajectories Through The Shotgun Rowhouse ed. David P. Brown and William D. Williams by Rice University School of Architecture Press, Houston Texas.
- “Walking Tours: Urban Riff” in harlemworld: Metropolis as Metaphor The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.
- Chapter “Places of Memory: Walking Tours of Manhattan” in Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race ed. Craig E. Barton by Princeton Architectural Press.
- Chapter “(un)Covering/ (re)Covering” in White Papers, Black Marks ed. Lesley Naa Norel Lokko by Athlone Press, London.
- “What If? Spaces: Practices for Diversity, Equity, Place, Identity and Change”, In PLATFORM, Convergent Voices, Eds. Nichole Wiedemann and Charlton N. Lewis. https://soa.utexas.edu/publications/platform
- “SciTech Now, Women in Science Profile, Episode 318” Broadcast March 20, WPSU/PBS/NPR Podcast, Produced by Cheraine Stanford. http://wpsu.psu.edu/tv/programs/scitechnow/episode-318/
- “Women in Science Profiles” WPSU http://wpsu.psu.edu/digital/women-in-science-profiles/felecia-davis/ January.
- “Women in Science Profiles Live Chats with Local Schools” WPSU https://wpsu.psu.edu/digital/women-in-science-profiles/felecia-davis/chat-with-felecia-davis/ February.
- “Actuating Mood: Design of the Textile Mirror,” Seventh International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction February 10–13. Barcelona, Spain. First Author, with Asta Roseway, Erin Carroll, and Mary Czerwinski. Demonstration of the Textile Mirror and Paper Presentation.
- “3D Printed Textiles from Textile Code: Structural Form and Material Operations” in Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics (Sigradi) 2012, In (Formation), Fortaleza, Brazil, and November, 327–331.
- “Form Active Translations: Knitted Textiles to 3D Printed Textiles” in Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics (Sigradi) 2012, In (Formation), Fortaleza, Brazil, November, 392-396.
- “Sensing Touch Curtain: Soft Architecture and Augmented Communication,” in International Journal of Architecture and Computation, Vol. 10 (2), 219–236.
- “Sensing Touch Curtain: Soft Architecture,” in Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics (Sigradi) 2011, Augmented Culture, Santa Fe Argentina, November.
- “Telephoning Textiles: Networked Soft Architectures Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics (Sigradi) 2011, Augmented Culture, Santa Fe Argentina, November.
In the News
- Architecture professor earns international innovative research award
- Architecture professor honored with Cooper Hewitt National Design Award
- Interdisciplinary Penn State team awarded SOM Foundation Research Prize
- Penn State to host architecture, interactive design, textiles virtual meeting
- Stuckeman School architecture professor named Emerging Voices winner
- Stuckeman Center for Design Computing hosting spring lecture series