Urban Studio Alumni Spotlight: Neil E. Davis (BArch ’76)

Neil Davis, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, is President and Director of Design at Davis Architects, a nationally recognized architecture, design, and planning studio located in Birmingham, Alabama. An Auburn University architecture program alumnus, Davis received his Bachelor of Architecture in 1976 before joining Davis, Speake & Associates. With over forty-two years of experience as a designer and planner who specializes in higher education environments, the passion and vision that he brings to the firm are apparent in every project that Davis has completed over the past four decades.

Davis Architects has historically supported Urban Studio. Davis met Urban Studio founder, Frank Setzer, while participating as a juror for Frank’s students at Auburn University the year before Urban Studio was created. As a result, Setzer asked Davis to return as a studio critic and adjunct faculty while the program was in its infancy. “From its inception [Urban Studio] was a just cause. Most students matriculated though the Architecture program into urban environments without an urban perspective [and] the Studio gave them that opportunity,” says Davis. “Speaking as an employer, the internship program growing out of the Studio has been a blessing and the source of many of our employees over the years.”

While Davis Architects remains connected to Urban Studio through the fifth-year architecture internship program, today Davis and Davis Architects is supporting the Urban Studio as it moves into the next phase in its history. With longtime College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC) supporter, Beth Stukes (’81), the Franklin Setzer Endowed Fund for Excellence was created; a matching fund of $35,000, matched $1 for $1 up to that amount. This new fund for excellence is the first of its kind for Urban Studio and will perpetually provide the studio with additional annual income.

Support of this kind is a defining reason Urban Studio continues to grow. Urban Studio Director, Alex Krumdiek, AIA says “Davis’s continual support and advocacy of the Urban Studio provides validation to the Urban Studio programs [which] allows us to shape future architects as well as the city environment itself.”

Please join Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA), with the Urban Studio, in thanking Neil Davis for his dedication the program.


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