Born in 1922, Mary Lund Davis grew up in Sacramento, California. She graduated with a B.A. in architecture from the University of Washington in 1945. While a student, she interned with the architectural firms of Chiarelli & Kirk, Moore & Massar and Thomas, Grainger & Thomas, which were influential in developing her appreciation for modernist design. Davis was the first female architect in Washington to become licensed after WWII, receiving her license in 1946.
Davis designed both residences and small commercial buildings and practiced in limited partnerships with various other architects including her husband, George L. Davis, Jr. Among her more notable work is a home designed for her father-in-law, George Davis, which was described in the local press as “Frank Lloyd Wright inspired.”
In partnership with Alan Bucholz, Davis designed the award-winning Tacoma Millwork Supply Company Office (1962). Featured in Architectural Record, the small office building used simple post and beam framing and plywood finishes. With fellow architect Donald Burr, Davis designed the contemporary James Reynolds House in Lakewood (c. 1958). Other notable work include her own home in Fircrest (1954), a modest 800 sq ft cabin which received the 1966 A.I.A.-Sunset Western Home Award, and a sprawling hexagon shaped lakefront house on Wollochet Bay outside of Gig Harbor (1970).
During the 1950s, Davis was a regular contributor to the Douglas Fir Plywood Association, supplying plans for home designs and “you build” furnishings. Copies of the architectural plans and softbound books such as “52 Fir Plywood Home Storage Plans,” which featured Davis’ designs, were distributed widely throughout the country. Davis currently resides in Gig Harbor.
Davis passed away on June 13, 2008.
By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian - January 2007