M.ARCH 2011 graduates Leah Davies and Allison Wilson were the featured guest speakers last week at a special White House event celebrating the PBS documentary, Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter. Joined by filmmaker Jason Cohn and acclaimed California “green” architect Michelle Kaufmann, Davies and Wilson spoke to a full auditorium about the sustainable and affordable design of WaterShed, the University of Maryland’s first place winning entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. The event, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities,
was part of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)'s Grass Roots Leadership Conference.
"It was an honor to share our experience with this generation of young architects, and also to be in the company of Michelle Kaufmann, whose innovative designs and enthusiasm inspire us all," said Leah Davies. "As recent graduates, I hope we were able to motivate these students to use their creativity to push the envelope and learn through active experimentation, as we did with WaterShed.
Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and The Painter,
which premiered on PBS last December, tells the story of husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, who are considered two of the most important designers of the 20th century, and whose philosophies continue to echo in contemporary design trends. The panel discussion provided the audience—many of whom were architecture students—an opportunity to learn more about the creative possibilities of functional “green” design from young professionals in the industry.
“Thoughtful sustainable design is where architecture is headed,” says Wilson. ”Students' ability to gain insight into the complexities of these types of challenges through hands-on experiences in school will craft them into powerful forces for progress in the professional environment.”
Allison Wilson graduated with a Master of Architecture in spring of 2011 and is currently working for Ayers Saint Gross in Baltimore. Leah Davies received her Master of Architecture in the winter of 2011 and is working at Perkins+Will in Washington, DC. They were both architecture team leaders for the University of Maryland WaterShed Solar Decathlon team.
"Leah and Allison are perfect examples of the sort of young professionals we are so proud of producing in Maryland," says David Cronrath, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. "Their poise, professionalism and passion for sustainable design are infectious. I am certain they inspired many emerging architects."
To watch the panel discussion, click here.