Jack Davis to receive award for impact on architecture
November 6, 2018
Professor Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Endowed Chair in Architecture in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has earned the highest award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Virginia.
Davis will be recognized with the William C. Noland Medal at AIA Virginia’s Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 9, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The William C. Noland Medal is the organization’s most prestigious award, presented to one member architect who has made a profound and lasting impact on the profession.
"I am humbled by this recognition,” Davis said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the membership of the AIA Virginia who contribute a significant body of professional knowledge in support of our built environment."
Davis has been a leader in architecture for more than 40 years, representing the profession in Virginia, the mid-Atlantic region, nationally, and internationally. As dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies from 2006 to 2017, he presided over a college renowned for its programs and faculty, with its School of Architecture + Design consistently ranked among the nation’s top five by DesignIntelligence throughout his tenure.
In a letter nominating Davis for the award, Helene Combs Dreiling, Virginia Tech alumna and current interim executive director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board, said, “Across this country and around the world, the small rural community of Blacksburg, Virginia, is widely regarded as producing architecture’s best-prepared and ultimately successful graduates. How is this possible? Because Jack has been an exemplar among deans relative to his engagement with the professional society that represents our discipline. … To each of his endeavors, Jack brings his special Ut Prosim spirit – an approach that combines excellence in design with care for the public interest.”
Davis’s career has been a tapestry of design, education, constructive research, public service, and professional practice. He joined Virginia Tech’s faculty in 1984 as an associate professor, after previously teaching at the University of Florida and the Boston Architectural College.
Throughout 34 years of service to Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Davis’s administrative roles have included dean, interim dean, associate dean for academic affairs, and chair of the professional program in architecture program. During his leadership as dean, the college’s endowment doubled, and Davis decentralized the financial organization to encourage increased entrepreneurial activities and self-reliance by its four schools. Between 1989 and 2001, he was principal and co-principal investigator on more than $2.5 million in research grants.
Davis was twice named one of the nation’s Most Admired Educators by DesignIntelligence – in 2009 and 2014. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, senior fellow of the Design Futures Council, and a LEED-accredited professional.
In professional and private practice, Davis has served as principal designer on more than 30 large- and modest-scale projects, several of which have won design excellence awards from the AIA Virginia, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the AIA, and the Virginia Masonry Council. He is the architect of record for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ Research + Demonstration Facility, a laboratory research center for programs of study in the college.
As president of AIA Virginia during its 100th anniversary, Davis organized and led the Virginia Accord Symposium focused on the next 100 years of Virginia’s built environment. As founding president of the Architecture + Construction Alliance (A+CA), he helped organize a 19-university consortium aligning the professional and academic interests of architecture and construction.
In a news release announcing Davis’s award, AIA Virginia noted: “His impact on the profession through service to the AIA as President of AIA Virginia, Invited Member of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, as well as Vice President of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction, has blended his professional and academic experiences to the benefit of the future of the profession in a most profound way.”
After stepping down as dean in 2017, Davis returned to teaching design studio in the third year of the five-year professional program. He is currently working with a team of faculty and students on a state-of-the-art library and environmental data center for Mzuzu University in Malawi, Africa.
Davis also continues as a citizen architect, serving on the Blacksburg Historic Design Review Board and Town Planning Commission.
He earned both his bachelor’s degree in architecture and master’s degree in environmental design from Virginia Tech in 1974 and 1975, respectively.
In addition to Davis, two Virginia Tech architecture graduates who earned AIA Virginia Emerging Professional Awards will be honored at the ceremony in Richmond: Kevin Jones, an assistant professor in the School of Architecture + Design, and Erin Webb, a senior project manager at 3north in Richmond. The Virginia Emerging Professional Award recognizes emerging leaders for their contributions in design, research, education, or discourse; mentorship; and service to the profession and/or community.