May/06
Felecia Davis

Seams: Race, Architecture and Design Computing

MIT Architecture | Spring 2021 Lecture Series
In collaboration with the Design and Computation Group
6:00 PM, webcast

Felecia Davis

Felecia Davis’ work in computational textiles questions how we live and 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. Felecia 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 is part of the Museum of Modern Art’s forthcoming 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.  

Image Credits:

01 Freedom Corner, Hill District Pittsburg; Detail, Fabricating Networks Quilt.

02 I-579 Highway, Hill District Pittsburg; Detail, Fabricating Networks Quilt.

03 Taking Down Civic Center, Hill District Pittsburg; Detail, Fabricating Networks Quilt.

04 Wylie Avenue Lot, Hill District Pittsburg; Detail, Fabricating Networks Quilt.

05 Detail, Fabricating Networks Quilt.

06 Felecia Davis portrait. Courtesy of Felecia Davis.