In recent years, Davis has been using computer scripting and mechanized weaving technology to design textiles that move. These soft building components are computational insofar that electronics are woven into each textile, allowing the textile to send signals back and forth with a target object. This capacitive sensing allows the textile to register the distance between its position and its target object, with the varying distances triggering different responses in the textile. This produces a kind of textility: the body is metaphorically woven into this material in a feedback loop of forces that in turn, reshape the material, the body, and the environment. Davis maintains Architextiles, engendering this type of textility, have the potential to morph standard conceptions of shelter and enclosure; Architextiles constitute a novel type of infrastructure that receives input and responds almost passively, but that also registers its physical transformation in its surface.
In addition to her numerous writings on Soft Architecture, Computational Textiles and Digital Fabrication, Davis is featured in the published works Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race, “Inside and Out: Three Black Women’s Perspectives on Architectural Education in the Ivory Tower” in Space Unveiled: Invisible Cultures in the Design Studio, Row: Trajectories through the Shotgun House as well as the catalog of the exhibition Harlemworld: Metropolis as Metaphor held at the Studio Museum, organized by Thelma Golden. Her project “One Week, Eight Hours,” was exhibited at Rick Lowe’s show, Trajectories Through the Shotgun Rowhouse in 2004.
Davis received her Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Tufts University in 1982. She has a Master’s of Architecture from Princeton, and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Design and Computation. Davis received the Harold Horowitz Research Award from M.I.T. School of Architecture Planning in 2012 for Patterning with Heat: Responsive Tension Structures, as well as the Schlossman Research award for FELT: The Textility of Communicating Emotion, the following year. Davis was also granted the Rosalia Ennis Research Award for African American Woman from M.I.T in 2011, and her paper “Sensing Touch Curtain: Soft Architecture” won her Best Paper of Conference from the Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics the same year. Davis is principal of her own design firm Felecia Davis Studio, Assistant Professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design and Computation in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University, and director of SOFTLAB.
Header Image: Penn State College of Arts & Architecture, ArtsandArchitecture.PSU.edu
Stuckeman Center for Design and Computation, Stuckeman.PSU.edu
Felecia Davis Studio, FeleciaDavistudio.com