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PORTFOLIO Selected works Georgina A. Davis

Summary I am currently working in New York at an environmental consulting and strategic planning firm that researches applications of Biophilia in the built environment. I completed my Doctoral Dissertation at Texas A&M University in 2015 and I have also had the chance to participate in active scientific research projects from Alaska to Antarctica, and to travel to over a dozen other countries. While these projects were sometimes outside the field of Architecture, they provided me with opportunities to experience new places and environments, and to be a part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary team –something I look forward to continuing in my work.

Summary 2

Georgina A. Davis |


Education 2015

Texas A&M University Ph.D. in Architecture: A Study of Remote, Cold Regions Habitations and Design Recommendations for New Dormitory Buildings in McMurdo Station, Antarctica


College of Architecture Semester abroad (Independent research), Antarctica Fall semesters

2009 2008

Georgina Davis My interest in architectural design has focused on occupant health and productivity, as well as the energy efficient design of a building and its systems. I am also interested in large scale urban design that includes the future of cities and communities that balance the natural and built environments.

Graphic AutoCAD Revit Photoshop InDesign Program DOE-2 eQuest Adobe Acrobat MS Office Manual Model making Digital photography Technical drawing Light carpentry Laser cutting


Texas A&M University Master of Architecture with a Certificate in Sustainable Urbanism


College of Architecture Fall Semester Abroad in Japan Translating the Japanese Small House


Washington University in St. Louis Graduated Cum Laude Bachelor of the Arts in Architecture with a minor in English Composition




20152005-15 present

Publications and Honors 2017

Architectural History of McMurdo Station. Polar Record, 53 (2), Cambridge University Press, Mar 2017, p. 167-185.

In prep

Review of Energy Sources for McMurdo Station, Antarctica


L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness Fellowship


William W. Caudill Research Fellowship


2011-12 2007

Edward J. Romieniec Endowed Graduate Traveling Fellowship

Research Analyst | Terrapin Bright Green I research biophilic design in the built environment as it relates to occupant health, design, commercial value, and resiliency. I work under direction but am also able to pursue topics independently. Field Associate for a Project in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica | Texas A&M University (TAMU) Assisted with field work for an NSF-funded study on the winter diving behavior of Weddell seals. Aug-Oct. 2009, 2010, 2015; Aug-Dec 2016. Field Manager for a Wilderness Science Field Station | TAMU Supervised the design, construction, and logistics for a wilderness facility for a Department of Marine Biology undergraduate and graduate summer teaching and research program in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Associate at International Wildlife Research (IWR) I assist in the preparation and execution of an annual training session with IWR, a corporation that advises the oil and gas industry as well as state and local governments about oil spill contingency planning for marine mammals and provides specialized training. (part time) Graduate Teaching Assistant | TAMU Assistant for various undergraduate and graduate courses, including a stacked Environmental Systems (e.g., HVAC) course, two writing intensive undergraduate classes, and an introductory drawing class.

Graduate Research Assistant | Energy Systems Lab (ESL) Participated with ESL faculty on student research projects that focused on energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

RĂŠsumĂŠ 3








2004 Research Station in Remote Alaska The site is peaceful, yet replete with sounds of life. With no cars, television, or sirens to mask my surroundings, I instead hear the sound of eagle wings, an otter breaking clams in the cove, indefatigable thrushes, the crunch of footsteps far down the rocky beach. A change in the weather is often heard before seenwestern hemlock boughs and ocean waves betray a rising wind.

Metal roof Tongue-in-groove ceiling

Before construction began, we knew the site was fragile. The muskeg underfoot transforms into mud after one day of heavy traffic. Even if heavy machinery were available on an island this far out, it would destroy the spongey meadow. All materials are shipped and manhandled. Mechanical advantage is put to good use. The 90 posts for the foundation, the handheld auger, the bracing, the log walls, the roofing, PVC pipes, and the windows were all hand-carried from the beach to the meadow. We always protect the site with temporary boards or permanent walkways.

2014 Gable windows, double paned 12-14� Red cedar log walls Wrap-around deck (3 sides) 8x8� Douglas fir prime posts

During the Alaskan summer the days are long but wind and rain often cause delays, especially during foundation construction. It took three summers to dig the holes for the foundation posts, then sink, level, and brace them. After installing the subfloor it only took one summer to stack the log walls. With a roof overhead we recently began working on the interior finishes, including stud walls, electrical wiring, laminate flooring, propane pipes and lighting, water distribution, and a black water system.


South porch (faces ocean) Off-Grid Alaska 5


Doctoral Dissertation: A Study of Remote, Cold Regions Habitations and Design Recommendations for New Dormitory Buildings in McMurdo Station, Antarctica (2015) McMurdo Station

LC-130 delivers people and cargo

Popular hangout in a Quonset hut

Different building styles

A small town at the end of the world

McMurdo Station is located in one of the most remote and inhospitable places in the world, and is sometimes mentioned as an analogue to living off-planet, making it a perfect case study for design in extreme environments. I spent two late-winter seasons observing the existing station, systems, and living conditions. After researching and compiling a comprehensive history of building technology for the station, I also modeled a dormitory building using DOE-2 and created a quantitative method of evaluation for station buildings that incorporated qualitative factors. The resulting matrix evaluates three scenarios: McMurdo Station currently (“McM”), the proposed design by a Colorado architectural firm (“OZ”), and an ideal design (“Ideal”). The results provided informed design recommendations which maximize sustainability and comfort at McMurdo Station and other habitations in extreme environments. For the three scenarios, each category was divided into subcategories scored: 1 = Failed to meet or achieve standards, 2 = Met or achieved standards, and 3 = Exceeded standards. Each subcategory was summed, and then the subcategories summed to give a subtotal and percentage of total possible points. These were then summed to give a final total and percentage. Low scores are highlighted in pink, while fair to good scores are blue and green, respectively.

Achieves objectives

Fire/ safety

Energy/ water

Environmental impact

2 2 3

2 3 3

1 3 3

1 3 3

1 2 3


1 2 3

3 2 2

1 3 2

1 3 2

1 1 3


Occupant Total comfort McM

Total OZ

Total ideal

Health and Safety Protection from Elements buildings McM As-Is OZ Ideal

13 15

connections McM As-Is OZ Ideal

category subtotal percentage Fire general precautions McM As-Is OZ Ideal

11 14 47%

3 2 3

3 2 3

2 3 3

2 3 2

3 2 3


3 2 3

2 3 3

3 3 3

3 3 3

3 3 3


2 3 3

2 3 3

3 3 3

3 3 3

3 3 3


24 80%

12 27 90%

12 14

detection/prevention McM As-Is OZ Ideal

14 15

structure/materials McM As-Is OZ Ideal

category subtotal percentage Spread of Disease IAQfrom Design Matrix (right) and detail (above) Excerpt McM As-Is 1 3 1 OZ 2 3 3 Ideal 3 3 3 maintainability McM As-Is 2 3 2 OZ 2 3 3 Ideal 3 3 3 category subtotal percentage

15 40 89%

3 3 3

1 3 3


3 3 3

2 2 3


41 91%

15 44 98%

14 15

13 21 70%

27 90%

15 30 100%

Example of building plans of the ventilation and exhaust systems of one of the station’s dormitories. These plans were instrumental in creating the base case model in DOE-2. Courtesy U.S. National Archives.

Building 209 as modeled in DOE-2.1E and visualized in Draw BDL. The left image shows the building with only the first floor and three story staircases. The complete building is shown on the right. Research 7

Revit and BIM Case Study (2010) The goal for this semester-long project was to create a building in Revit (avoiding library objects) and then choose a feature that could be parametrically controlled. In order to model the log cabin in Alaska, it was necessary to create custom objects and families to represent a foundation made of ninety Douglas fir posts, interlocking log walls, and a knotty pine tongue-in-groove ceiling (right). For the BIM experiment, I chose to control the length of the porch overhang in order to demonstrate the relationship between its ability to shade the south wall and the sun angle at a high latitude (i.e., 65oN). A formula controls the length of the overhang based on the angle of the sun in four seasons, so that the south wall does not receive direct sunlight (far right). Optimally the porch is protected from rain from above but allows sunlight to warm it.





Research 8

Independent Study in Tokyo: Micro-homes in the West (2007) How can the Japanese micro-home, the kyo-sho-jutaku,1 fit into American culture? For many reasons (e.g., average body size, culture, tradition), the size of living spaces in Japan, spartan and beautiful as they may be, may not translate in the U.S. The small scale and tradition of floor-level living must be adjusted for Western audiences. As with many imports, a direct translation of the Japanese micro-home results in cultural conflicts and must be reexamined. An important starting point is an understanding of American concepts of comfortable spaces, i.e., what is the comfort range for people accustomed to ample room, privacy, and dedicated spaces. I analyzed these questions in three parts while myself living in a 980 ft2 apartment with two other people. First, I examined Japanese and American home design and how differences between them reflect fundamental cultural differences. Second, using real estate data and three case studies, I attempted to find the minimum square footage per person for an American small house that is comfortable, practical, and provides a sense of wellbeing. Ultimately I was left with a better sense of how important an informed rescaling is to make a micro-home perform as efficiently and be as appealing to an American audience as it is to a Japanese audience. 1Literally

kyo (狭), narrow, tight (space), shou ( 小 ), small, and jutaku ( 住 宅 ), residence/house



Tokyo is famous for very small and often irregular plots of land. Here, a wedgeshaped apartment building squeezes in next to a footbridge, a busy street, and a small urban stream.

C (above) The apartment as is (A), with two modified, larger models (B,C) which provide more space for those unaccustomed to the scale of small Japanese houses. (left) examples of small spaces and an urban density not imaginable by many Americans.

Research 9


A Small Mosque in Old Yazd, Iran (2006) This semester-long project combined an in-depth class research effort with individual design. Some of the questions we asked ourselves were, how to integrate a new building in a city thousands of years old; how well do energy efficient measures compliment a religious building located deep in the desert; and how do you design the complex to accommodate gender segregation?

Wind catcher (badgir)

Section AA A

Library B

Ablutions Courtyard Section BB Prayer hall


B With its strong ties to geometric form and abstract or natural design, Islamic architecture shares many similarities with Modern design, allowing a new building to translate easily into a very old, traditional city. Methods of cooling and water conservation (e.g., wind catchers) were already well established in the city and integrated seamlessly with the mosque.

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Palazzo Vecchio (floor)

Piazza San Pietro

Santa Croce interior

Santa Maria Novella facade

Campanile di Giotto

Piazzale degli Uffizi

Study Abroad: Florence (2004) This course, conducted jointly with the College of Art, was a study of the history of Florence through its architecture, from its early Roman origins to the modern period. Through weekend trips (including Sienna, Rome, and Bologna), daily sketch journals, and studio

Hostel site

projects that addressed designing new buildings in a medieval city, we experienced firsthand the organic evolution of an ancient city and the challenges associated with designing new structures in such a richly historic, urban setting.

Studio 12

Georgina A. Davis |


A History of McMurdo Station Through Its Architecture (Excerpt from article in Polar Record) A Land of Extremes Nearly every description of Antarctica begins with a list of the continent’s extremes: temperature, wind speed, average altitude, and relative humidity.

It boasts of no early human history and

therefore has no cultural artifacts, traditions, or memory of war. Unlike the Arctic, Antarctica remained isolated from early humans, covered in perpetual ice and surrounded by the tempestuous Southern Ocean. Although Antarctica has a rich, colorful recent history, it barely spans 200 years. With no local building materials or agriculture, everything must be imported. Like space travel, being in Antarctica is something humans can only do with great effort and logistical support, for the landscape –while striking– is both desolate and unforgiving. The same beauty captured in countless photographs over the last century can be a dangerous distraction from the fact that, if cut off from outside world, people face grim prospects and no chance of long-term survival. However, as with space travel, we have advanced from small, cramped enclosures to larger, modern research facilities. The focus has shifted from mere survival and getting by to one of long-term occupation (i.e., creating a sense of place in an alien environment and making it sustainable). Figure 1: Map showing Antarctica in context. McMurdo Station indicated, along with the 60 oS latitude line, also known as the Antarctic Circle.

Early exploration and the built environment McMurdo Station is located on Ross Island (Fig. 1), the southernmost active volcano named for

At this time, there were still lands and geographic landmarks to be explored, claimed, and

Captain James Clark Ross who first visited the area aboard the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in 1841.

conquered; even the North Pole had not yet been attained. Those drawn to the South Pole went in

The sound along the west coast of the island, which is frozen most of the year, was named after

search of adventure, glory, and to an extent, scientific recognition. The name itself, “Heroic Age,”

Lieutenant Archibald McMurdo.

bestows upon those journeys a great sense of romantic adventure, and when reading the first-hand

The east coast of Ross Island is locked in thick, permanent ice.

Captain Ross never set foot on the island but named the two volcanic peaks Mt. Erebus and Mt. Terror

accounts of these men, it becomes clear that they found it and much more.

after his vessels (Neider, 1974, p. 17). In Greek mythology, Erebus was the gatekeeper to the

These explorers sailed to the southern continent and established base camps along the coast which

underworld, a fitting name for the smoldering sentinel he discovered at the edge of the Great Ice

allowed small, exploratory teams to penetrate deeper into this strange, inhospitable land. Over time,

Barrier – known today as the Ross Ice Shelf (Fig. 2).

the coast of Antarctica became an icy time capsule for a few surviving buildings and memorials from

The continent of Antarctica remained relatively unexplored for five more decades except for

this period, all in various stages of disrepair, but mostly well preserved by the cold, dry air, and the

whalers and sealers who flocked to the rich coastal waters in search of fur seal skins and oil from

efforts of preservationists. People working at today’s modern Antarctic stations –complete with power,

elephant seals and whales. The first wave of Antarctic exploration, generally known as the “Heroic

heat, and nearly every modern convenience– can visit these historic sites as tourists. These buildings

Age,” began in 1895.

are often labeled monuments to the human spirit despite their humble classification as “huts.”


was produced by combining calcium carbonate with water in a small tank and then distributing the gas through a series of small diameter metal tubes to flame lamps. 2 This choice carries with it some disadvantages and risks, such as increased risk from fire and loss of visual connection to the outside world. This solution is not feasible everywhere in Antarctica (e.g., along rocky coasts), or for long-term settlements.

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Figure 2: Modern-day Ross Island with Mt. Erebus in the background. Photo by author, 2009.

Figure 3: Scott’s hut at Cape Evans. Photo by author, 2009.

The historical huts of the Heroic Age offer insight into the past and show what was humanly

comfortable temperatures and healthy ventilation rates was one of the challenges faced by these

possible even under the most extreme and remote conditions. Pearson (1992) categorizes the huts

expeditions. Only one hut, Amundsen’s Framheim, successfully achieved this balance, but did so in

into three styles: Scandinavian, British, and Australian, each with its own characteristics, design

part by being subnivean2 (buried beneath the snow) with a working (if somewhat temperamental)

successes, and shortcomings.

ventilation system. Amundsen placed great importance on proper ventilation (controlled air intake

Scandinavian-style Antarctic huts had heavy plank walls with cellulose-based insulation, gabled

and exhaust) not only on his ship (the Fram) but in their winter hut (Framheim). He considered it a

roofs with lofts, no verandah, oil-burning lamps, and a spatial organization that did not separate

necessity for comfort and health, and blamed reported health woes in other expeditions on poor

enlisted men from officers (i.e., they were “egalitarian”). Two examples of this style include the

ventilation (Amundsen, 1913, p. 199). Even so, there were still problems with thermal stratification,

huts built by Carsten Borchgrevink in 1889 and Roald Amundsen in 1910. Borchgrevink‘s camp at

a problem that persists in McMurdo today (mostly in older buildings).

Cape Adare is now considered the first building in Antarctica.

Both Pearson (1992) and Harrowfield (1995) offer comprehensive reviews of Antarctica’s first

British-style huts –lashed down with ropes– had timber frames clapped with weatherboarding

structures, looking not only at their historical importance and preservation but construction methods,

and insulation, gabled roofs without lofts, protected entrances without a verandah, acetylene

inspirations, lifespan, and their individual merits and drawbacks according to accounts from the men

lighting1, and a spatial organization that separated the party leaders from the enlisted men, if

who lived in them. With this information in hand, it is possible to gain a better perspective of why

not all the officers from the men. Two examples of this style include the huts built by Sir Ernest

these various huts differ in appearance and degrees of success. Each provides valuable lessons

Shackleton in 1908 and Sir Robert Scott in 1911 (Fig. 3).

that helped pave the way for future explorers to survive the climate and the long, dark winters.

Australian-style huts had timber frames insulated with felt or cork, a pyramidal roof over a

large square area, a verandah on three sides, framing posts sunk directly into the ground, and a spatial organization that separated the party leaders from the enlisted men. Two examples of this style include the huts built by Scott in 1901 and Sir Douglas Mawson in 1911. These three styles of Heroic Era huts each have their strengths and weaknesses, but what is clear is that besides keeping the shelter adequately heated, maintaining a balance between

1. Amundsen, R. (1913). The South Pole: An account of the Norwegian Antarctic expedition in the "Fram," 1910-1912, Vol. 1 of 2. (A.G. Chater, Trans.). New York: Lee Keedick. 2. Harrowfield, D. L. (1995). Icy heritage. Christchurch: Antarctic Heritage Trust. 3. Neider, C. (1974). Edge of the world: Ross Island, Antarctica. Doubleday: New York. 4. Pearson, M. (1992). Expedition huts in Antarctica, 1899-1937. Polar Record, 28(167) 261-276.

Writing Sample 1 (continued) 15


(left) Balloon launch at Winfly McMurdo Station, Antarctica, 2009 (right) Vieux basin, Honfleur France, 2014

(previous) Nacreous clouds McMurdo Station, 2015

Digital Images 17

(left) La Jolla Shores Park California, 2009

(right) Winfly on the sea ice Near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, 2016

Digital Images 18

(top) View from sea ice camp Winfly 2010 Ross Island, Antarctica (right) Big Razorback, Winfly 2009 Ross Island

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G. Davis - Portfolio_G  
G. Davis - Portfolio_G