Hi! 👋 I am an architectural historian interested in how people interact with plants to make buildings. My research and teaching uses architecture as a lens to understand histories of traditional knowledge, extraction, and agribusiness.

At the Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera italiana I am jointly appointed by two research institutes: the Institute of the History and Theory of Art and Architecture (ISA); and the Institute of Urban and Landscape Studies (ISUP), where my new research project, Voyaging Vapors: Plant Histories of Plantation Architectures is funded by a Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione grant (2024–2028).

I completed my PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2021, and my dissertation project, Palm Politics: Warfare, Folklore, and Architecture, won the Society of Architectural Historians David B. Brownlee Award. I was recently a Princeton Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University (2022–23), and am an Associate of the Science, Technology, and Society Cluster at the Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore.

I am also a contributing editor to ARDETH Journal (Turin, Italy), and a founding member of ANZA East Africa (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania).

You can contact me at: davisw@usi.ch

Link to my ORCID iD

Photograph by Shirley Surya 王蕾, 2023