René Davids

Research Expertise and Interest

architecture and urban design and theory

Research Description

René Davids, F.A.I.A., is a principal of Davids Killory Architecture. Work includes housing for extended families and homeless mothers and children, and residential work along the state of California. The design work of Davids Killory Architects has been published around the world and honored with numerous awards, among them two Presidential Design Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, three AIA National Honor Awards, and three Progressive Architecture Awards. Davids was awarded( with Taylor Medlin) the first Prize in the 43rd Central Glass Competition in Tokyo, Japan. He has also been awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for research on the hillside elevators of Valparaíso, Chile, and is currently working on a book that examines the relationship between technology, topography, and urbanism in selected Latin American cities. 

With Christine Killory, Professor Davids co-edited the AsBuilt series published by Princeton Architectural Press which explores interrelationships among architectural forms, materials, and technologies; three volumes have been published: AsBuilt 1: Details in Contemporary Architecture (2007), AsBuilt 2: Detail in Process (2008), and AsBuilt 3: Details Technology and Form (2012); the series was supported in part by a grant from the Graham Foundation. The City Review has qualified the books in the series as “non-nonsense books about a lot of sensational and wonderful projects that are filled with fabulous photographs and drawings and good technical commentary."

Davids has also edited and substantially contributed to Shaping Terrain: City Building in Latin America (University Press of Florida, Spring 2016). Research for the book was supported in part by a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the Fulbright Specialist Program. The Journal of Latin American Geography in reviewing the book points out that the Latin American urban aesthetic in Shaping Terrain: City Building in Latin America adapted to the contours of both natural and social landscapes in the New World sets the stage for a series of well-crafted essays, each one easily standing alone as a case study of a particular architectural form in a specific urban setting. Collectively, they remind the reader of the very premise of geographical space, of site and situation, and elaborate on topographical and human imperatives influencing the landscape”. Davids has also written articles that have appeared in Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed LandscapesThe International Journal of the Constructed Environment the Journal of Urban Design, and Places Magazine among other publications.

 Davids was educated at the Escuela de Arquitectura y Urbanismo at the Universidad de Chile. After winning the prestigious National Arts award in Santiago for an art project, kept in the Museo de Bellas Artes collection in Santiago de Chile, Davids was awarded a fellowship by the British Council to study art and architecture at the Royal College of Art in London UK. After graduating he was invited to teach at the Royal College, UK, the Architectural Association School of Architecture, U.K, and the McIntosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, UK. Davids has also taught at the schools of architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Universidad de Chile, Universidad Católica de Chile, the Universidad Católica del Perú, University of California at San Diego, the University of Arizona, the University of New Mexico and has been an invited critic in schools around the US and the world.

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