2019-2020 Luce Scholar

Davis Butner is an aspiring architect and practicing musician with an interest in the intersection of architecture and the performing arts. Having worked professionally in both symphony administration and architectural design, Davis is passionate about the civic role of the performing arts and of architecture. This past summer, he participated in the inaugural chamber performance for Klarman Hall, Harvard Business School’s new multipurpose lecture hall which, over the last four years, he has helped design as an intern for the acoustic consultant, theater planner, and most recently, the project architect. He has previously held internships at APPAREIL Office for Architecture in Barcelona, Hartshorne Plunkard and Threshold Acoustics in Chicago, Theatre Projects Consultants in Norwalk, CT, and William Rawn Associates in Boston. Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with highest honors in Music and Architectural Design. While at Penn, he completed a fellowship at the Architectural Association in London and was the recipient of a Michael Yaron Prize, the Andrew Mellon Humanities Fellowship, and the Penn Design Interdisciplinary Studies Award. Currently, Davis is pursuing a Masters in Architecture at Yale University. A Graduate Fellow in the Franke Program in Sciences and the Humanities, Davis is currently researching the notion of ‘sacred acoustics’ and the impact of religious aural practices on the design of sacred spaces. Collaborating with Yale’s Institutes of Sacred Music, Divinity, and Drama, he is curating an exhibit at the School of Architecture surveying acoustic analyses of the religious architectural typologies of four faiths, culminating in an experiential performance tour of sacred spaces in New Haven. As a violinist and violist, Davis has performed extensively in the States and abroad. Highlights include starting the Graduate Chamber Music Collective at Yale, a chamber ensemble comprised of musicians pursuing graduate programs across the University, as well as participating in the annual Atlanta Symphony Musicians appreciation concert, a free public performance to raise awareness for the outreach initiatives of the Symphony’s musicians. Inspired by the legacy of renowned choral conductor Robert Shaw, whose views on public artistic planning were formative to his working philosophy, and by a love for his hometown, Davis is working with Sir Jonathan Mills, director of the Edinburgh Cultural Summit, on a proposal for a site-specific choral performance along the historic Beltline Project in Atlanta.