About the award
Using a thoughtful design process that offers authentic responses to programs and contexts, Jacob Davis, AIA, deftly intermingles design and sustainability to shape a healthier and more resilient future. Davis is an exemplary young architect whose level of service and contributions to the profession have already made a significant positive impact on the built environment, specifically for those who live and work in it.
Davis is a senior associate at Memphis’ archimania, the firm he joined in 2013 after finishing his graduate studies at Georgia Institute of Technology. The firm quickly recognized his thoughtful but rigorous design thinking, and he became a leader on projects that demonstrate archimania’s bold portfolio on a national level. He was instrumental in the design of the world’s first buildings to be certified as both Zero Energy and Zero Carbon. The projects were recognized by the COTE Top Ten Awards, and Davis serves as the firm’s lead for the AIA 2030 Commitment.
The first of those projects, Civitas, is a progressive single-family home in Memphis that represents the owners’ values and desire to explore meaningful family experiences through connected spatial relationships and material continuity. It sits on a 6,000-square-foot corner lot within a 25-year-old new urbanist subdivision with views of the Mississippi River and the delta beyond it. In addition, the home achieved LEED Platinum for Homes certification despite the hot and humid conditions of the American South. Other key projects include 663 South Cooper, which reexamines Middle America’s aging commercial building stock as a conduit for community building, and a new civic-oriented home for Ballet Memphis.
Eager to share his knowledge with his peers, Davis has been a key member of the AIA Memphis Board of Directors and chair of the chapter’s Committee on the Environment. On a national level, he is currently serving on the AIA COTE Subcommittee for Climate Action-Climate Justice, offering his perspective and expertise on the mid-South region.
For more than a decade, Davis has returned to academia as a design critic and adjunct professor at the University of Memphis, connecting with students and guiding them in their design-related research pursuits. Across his undergraduate and graduate courses, Davis has emphasized the adaptive reuse of Memphis’ civic institutions, overlooked sites as major cultural centers, and the city’s mid-century suburban commercial corridors. Student projects, undertaken with community partners, have focused on the development of sites with high-impact opportunities for many Memphis communities.
While he is consistently recognized for his design talent, Davis’ commitment to elevating the profession has defined him as an architect, leader, and mentor. The wisdom he imparts to his students enriches their educational experiences while encouraging them to shape a more equitable and sustainable future.