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Two UC Berkeley scholars awarded prestigious Guggenheim fellowships
18 April 2002

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations

Berkeley - One University of California, Berkeley, scholar who is researching architecture for the homeless in America, and another who is exploring same-sex sexuality in 20th-century French literature, are among the winners of 2002 Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships.

Sam Davis, professor of architecture and associate dean of the College of Environmental Design; and Michael Lucey, associate professor of French and comparative literature, are among 184 scholars, artists and scientists nationally who will receive a total of $6.7 million in fellowships, the Guggenheim Foundation announced this week.

Guggenheim fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for the future.

In addition to teaching, Davis is a partner in Davis and Joyce Architects in Berkeley. His work focuses on affordable housing and housing for special needs. His recent work includes a 100-bed homeless shelter built for Contra Costa County; and San Francisco's Larkin Street Youth Center, the first housing in the country specifically for homeless youth with HIV and AIDS.

"Architecture is not the first thing we think about in sheltering the homeless," Davis said. "For most homeless, the need for shelter is acute and immediate. A warm, safe place with a bed will suffice. If you are ill, if you have young children with you, the last thing you will think about is how does
this place look."

Through clients such as non-profit emergency housing and service providers, Davis said, he has come to appreciate how much a modest amount of design can do. More and more, design is seen as a means of establishing trust between the provider and the homeless and is a way to create a sense of belonging for those with little or no social connection, he said.

"It is within the difficult and often tragic arena that architecture serves its highest purpose," Davis said. "A visit to a major museum can be a powerful and moving experience. Public buildings are a reflection of our culture. But if we believe that architecture serves a society as well as reflects its values, then we must use it to provide for those with the most need and the fewest

With the Guggenheim fellowship support, Davis will take a sabbatical and complete a book on designing for the homeless. It will be aimed at interested lay people and professionals. Davis already has written a book about the architecture of affordable housing.

Lucey specializes in French literature and culture of the 19th and 20th centuries. He teaches social and literary theory, sexuality studies, 19th - and 20th - century British literature and culture, and 20th-century American literature and culture. He also is director of the recently established organized research unit at UC Berkeley, The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture.

Lucey has written a study of André Gide's writings from the 1920s and '30s, and just finished a book about the place sexuality holds in author Honoré de Balzac's understanding of the social world.

He will be on sabbatical for 2002-2003, and with the support of the Guggenheim award will spend January to June next year in Paris researching a new book.

"The tradition of first-person writing about same-sex sexuality in 20th-century France is a robust one, filled with distinguished and high-profile authors ranging from Colette, Proust, and Gide near the beginning of the century to Angot, Dustan and Guibert near the end," Lucey said.

"I am very eager to be working in Paris, with easy access to all the relevant documents, and also to be working with sociologists who can help me with practical and methodological information about how to think about and research social movements and their collective acts of representation," Lucey said.