CREATE Common Ground class focuses on Calhoun City

January 31st, 2013 Comments Off on CREATE Common Ground class focuses on Calhoun City

Students in the CREATE Common Ground class taught by Leah Kemp had their initial visit to Calhoun City on January 24. They met with Mayor J.R. Denton and a team of community stakeholders to learn more about the area that will be the focus of their semester-long community improvement projects. (Photo By Leah Kemp)

Each year, a community in Northeast Mississippi is selected from a pool of applicants to participate with the CREATE Common Ground class. The result of a partnership between the Carl Small Town Center (CSTC) and the CREATE Foundation in 1998, it is the partnership’s belief that the greatest asset to a community’s development is the community’s ability to identify and understand the impact of the built environment on the quality of life.

This year, Calhoun City was selected to be the site of this semester-long service-learning course taught by Leah F. Kemp, assistant director of the CSTC. Throughout the semester, Kemp and her class of eight architecture students from Mississippi State University will be visiting Calhoun City for meetings, observation and research.

On January 24, the group toured the town and met with Mayor J.R. Denton and a team of community stakeholders to learn more about Calhoun City. While visiting, Kemp led a presentation at the Rotary Club, where members were anxious to hear from students about their initial impressions of the town.

The students will now use their research to develop projects – suggested ways to improve the community. They will meet again with the mayor and team of stakeholders for feedback on their projects before their final presentations at the end of the semester.

This summer, the students’ projects will be compiled into a book by the CSTC that will be presented to Calhoun City. The book will also contain recommendations for funding and grants that could help the town implement some of the projects.

“This can be a tool for them for both short-term and long-range planning,” said Kemp.

CREATE Common Ground has worked with dozens of municipalities throughout the fifteen years since its inception. Kemp said many of the projects have been implemented, including a student’s project to create a park in downtown Fulton.

For more information about CREATE Common Ground, contact Leah Kemp at (662) 325-2207.

H3 Hardy Collaboration featured in Architect magazine

January 31st, 2013 Comments Off on H3 Hardy Collaboration featured in Architect magazine

(From Architect, The Magazine of the American Institute of Architects)

2012 Design Review
By John Gendall
Category: Bond

Lincoln Center Theater LCT3
H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

Though its campus houses many of New York’s most preeminent performing arts institutions, Lincoln Center felt it was still missing a small theater amenable to emerging playwrights and more intimate performances. But it was also missing something else: available space to build such a theater. The dense Manhattan neighborhood wouldn’t allow any give in the campus footprint, and though there are open plazas, these have become canonical urban areas in their own right. In the end, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture settled on an unlikely solution: perching the new 23,000-square-foot Claire Tow Theater, home to Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, atop the Eero Saarinen-designed Lincoln Center Theater.

The rooftop addition rests on six concrete structural columns in the existing building, bridging the gaps between them with steel trusses. The architects punched through one of Saarinen’s concrete ceiling coffers to accommodate a channel-glass-enclosed elevator shaft, which connects the new 112-seat theater to the existing lobby. Aluminum screens prevent excessive heat gain and break up the addition’s mass. Clad in glass, the orthogonal building corresponds to Saarinen’s midcentury aesthetic beneath it. Now there are three main horizontal registers: Saarinen’s hulking concrete entablature, with the original glass curtainwall lobby directly underneath, and the new glass addition above.

”You’re messing with iconic architecture here, and the potential to go awry is huge. Yet they did a great job of being respectful of the existing building while still giving you a sense that they were trying to create something that had some identity.” —G. Martin Moeller Jr.

Project Credits
Project  Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, New York
Client  Lincoln Center Theater
Architect  H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, New York—Ariel Fausto, AIA (partner); Hugh Hardy, FAIA (founding partner); Mercedes Armillas, AIA (associate); Sara Silvestri*, Angela Chi, Margaret Sullivan (director of interiors); Lissa Evans
M/E/P/F Engineer  Arup
Structural Engineer  Severud Associates
Theater Consultant  Fisher Dachs
Acoustical Consultant  Jaffe Holden
Vertical Transportation  Van Deusen & Associates
Lighting Consultant  Fisher Marantz Stone
LEED Consultant  Ambrosino DePinto Schmieder
Code Consultant  William Vitacco Associates
Signage/Graphic Design  MTWTF
Contractor  Yorke Construction Corp.
Size  23,000 square feet
Cost  Withheld
Photographer  Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

*Sara Silvestri is a 2011 graduate of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University.

Third-year Architecture and second-year BCS students visit Birmingham

January 30th, 2013 Comments Off on Third-year Architecture and second-year BCS students visit Birmingham

Third-year architecture and second-year building construction science students at Railroad Park in Birmingham, Ala. (Photo by Professor Alexis Gregory)

Third-year architecture students and second-year building construction science students recently went on a studio field trip to Birmingham, Ala.

The goal of the trip was project site verification and exploration of Birmingham, specifically Railroad Park and the area around the project site, to give the students a better understanding of Birmingham, the needs of the city, and the requirements of the project site.

The project will be a community arts center for the developing Railroad Park area.

Third-year architecture studio faculty are Alexis Gregory, Emily McGlohn and Todd Walker. Chris Cosper is over the second-year BCS section.

Giles Gallery features Earthborn Studios

January 28th, 2013 Comments Off on Giles Gallery features Earthborn Studios

Earthborn Studios

Work by Earthborn Studios out of Leeds, Ala., is now up in the gallery in Giles Hall.

Self-taught pottery artist Tena Payne will be at the opening reception, which is set for Monday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

The gallery and reception are sponsored by Tau Sigma Delta, and Mack Braden and Kristin Perry have served as curators.

Earthborn Studios mainly does contract work for restaurants nationally and internationally.

“It is incredibly important and vital to be able to showcase regional artist’s work such as Earth Born Studio’s Tena Payne, in the School of Architecture Giles Hall Gallery,” said Michael Berk, director of the School of Architecture. “Having our students experience 3D work in other media (such as pottery and ceramics) expands the possibilities in their own studio work and design process.”

Building hope: Architecture students help with Habitat for Humanity

January 28th, 2013 Comments Off on Building hope: Architecture students help with Habitat for Humanity

(photo from The Reflector)

By Daniel Hart | The Reflector

The final products of most classes are often extensive research papers or grueling exams. The students in ARC 4990: habitat prototype house, however, will have a slightly different outcome: a fully designed and detailed Habitat for Humanity house to be built as the Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity House of fall 2013.

Taught by assistant professor of architecture, Alexis Gregory, the course came to be offered through the efforts of Gregory and April Heiselt, director of the Center for the Advancement of Service Learning Excellence.

April Heiselt said the course attempts to create opportunities for students to gain “hands-on” experience in their chosen fields, as well as provide a service or benefit for the local community.

Gregory said after doing service learning work with Habitat for Humanity at the Savannah College of Art and Design, she wanted to bring that to Mississippi State University through this class, which is an opportunity for architecture and building construction science students to work in a real world scenario and come to understand the impact their profession can have.

“Architects typically work with clients who have more money than the homeowner of a Habitat for Humanity house, so being able to provide design services to people who would not normally work with an architect lets the students see how important it is that everyone, rich and poor, have access to good design and great architecture,” she said. “Hopefully this will encourage students to work on pro bono projects once they become professional architects and constructors.”

Jake Johnson, junior architecture major and one of five students in the class, said the appeal of the class lays in both the experience it affords as well as the impact it can make.

“It wasn’t just a design-build project serving the interest of students, but it helps someone in need, and we will hopefully help improve the design of their (Habitat for Humanity) buildings for the future,” he said.

During the first week of class, students met with the family for whom the house is being designed and the Starkville Habitat for Humanity Board. Senior building construction science major and class member Adam Trautman said the reaction from the family was pronounced and reassuring.

“Any doubts I personally was having about the project and class were completely gone after we met with the family, getting to ask them what they wanted in the house and watching them light up,” he said.

Johnson said the class offers students a chance not to just produce a Habitat for Humanity home for the family, but also one that is molded to the family’s needs and wishes.

“When we asked if there was anything else, her (the mother in the family) eyes lit up and she literally pulled a paper from her purse that had different requests and wishes for her dream house, essentially,” he said.

A defining characteristic of the class is the way in which students must negotiate between the desires to design the family’s dream home, while also respecting the limited budget of a Habitat for Humanity house.

Troutman said this is the part BCS students learn, being the financial conscience of projects, and that he will practice this throughout the class.

“I understand that my role on the design team is helping control cost. That’s our role in any construction project, to take what has been drawn and make it come in under budget,” he said.

Johnson said the class is organized more like an architectural office than a traditional class, in that the professor and the students act as co-workers on a project.

“It’s not really a teacher-student relationship but more of an office relationship where we’re all peers,” he said. “It gives us an inside view of how our career will be.”

Gregory said throughout the semester the students will present their work periodically to the Starkville Habitat Board, refining their design and eventually creating final construction drawings to get the house built.

Information on donating to Habitat for Humanity for the Maroon Edition house and volunteering to work on the Habitat house being constructed this spring can be found at or by calling 324-7008.

CAAD well represented at annual SEC design school meeting

January 25th, 2013 Comments Off on CAAD well represented at annual SEC design school meeting

Jim West, AIA

Six years ago, a subgroup was created out of the SEC Academic Consortium (SECAC) for deans of design colleges and their directors of development to meet to discuss how they can work together and learn from each other.

Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Design, attended this year’s meeting in Athens, Ga., with Nathan Moore, the college’s director of development.

Mississippi State hosted the gathering last year, where West kicked off the idea of design learning and how design schools can bring value to a university.

This year, the major topic was service learning. The deans from Georgia, Arkansas, Auburn, Missouri, Florida, LSU and Mississippi State discussed how they provide service learning opportunities for their students that bring the expertise from the university into communities and the state. West said some schools incorporate service into their required coursework or with freshmen initiatives, as well as with one-time electives and volunteer events.

He said the meetings usually involve a lot of case studies where the deans discuss things they have done that worked and also things that didn’t work so well.

“It’s nice to gain some added experience without having to actually experience it firsthand,” he said.

The group also discusses issues common to the colleges at each meeting, such as funding strategies.

This year, they decided to work to improve collaboration and started with online courses. West said he expects online collaboration between universities in the SEC to really start growing soon.

The group also wanted to work to broaden collaboration beyond the deans and other administration. They plan to tap into the intellectual capacity available within the SEC to improve programs and the quality of student work through having groups of faculty provide critiques of other programs.

“The main goal of the meeting, however, is always to learn from each other to help us provide a better academic experience for our students,” said West.

Creative Windows & Doors, Marvin Windows create opportunities for architecture students

January 24th, 2013 Comments Off on Creative Windows & Doors, Marvin Windows create opportunities for architecture students

Sara Silvestri, the 2011 scholarship winner, attended Ghost Lab 13 in Nova Scotia.

The Creative Windows & Doors/Marvin Windows Fifth-Year Award was established in 2004 by Eddie Rives, owner of Creative Windows & Doors, and Marvin Schexnider and J.E. VanNatta, representatives for Marvin Windows and Doors.

Since then, the scholarship has supported student participation in the annual Ghost Summer Research Lab. Ghost is the research lab of Brian MacKay-Lyons, architect and professor at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture. The two-week summer program is offered to architects, students and professors and takes place on the ruins of a nearly 400-year-old village at the MacKay-Lyons farm on the Nova Scotia coast.

Each spring, the fifth-year student with the best final project is chosen and announced as the winner of the $4,000 travel scholarship at the School of Architecture’s Recognition Day program in May.

Sara Silvestri received the award in 2011 for her thesis project which focused on the iterative process of making and designing. With the scholarship, she was able to attend Ghost Lab 13.  Ghost Lab is typically a two-week design/build internship, but Ghost 13 became a three-day international architecture conference. During the conference, renowned architects from all over came to present their work. The discussions were focused on craft, regionalism and community.

“It was a really inspiring series of lectures, and I was so lucky to participate,” said Silvestri. “They discussed things like designing responsibly and using local materials. What works in one city won’t necessarily work in another city.”

The alumna is now a junior architect at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC in Manhattan, N.Y. The firm focuses on the design of cultural spaces such as performing arts centers, theaters, libraries and museums; Silvestri says the work she has done has been rewarding.

“Design related topics that are important to me are definitely relevant here, and I believe it shows in our work,” she said. “Our spaces impact the communities they are designed for.”

Along with the travel scholarship, Creative Windows & Doors and Marvin Windows and Doors also established the Annual Marvin Field Trip that allows fifth-year architecture students to travel to the Marvin Windows and Doors’ door factory in Ripley, Tenn., to observe the door production process. The students also tour the town square to observe several buildings, including the county courthouse that has been updated using Marvin products.

Drawing by Sara Silvestri during Ghost Lab 13

Ghost Lab 13 scenery (photos courtesy of Sara Silvestri)

Ghost Lab 13 participants. (Sara Silvestri circled)

Architecture alumnus featured in Retrofit magazine

January 23rd, 2013 Comments Off on Architecture alumnus featured in Retrofit magazine

Lance Davis, AIA, LEED AP, was recently interviewed for a cover story for Retrofit, a magazine for building owners, managers and professionals interested in renovation of commercial buildings and systems.

Davis, a 1995 graduate of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture, serves as program manager for Design Excellence Architecture + Sustainability with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Public Buildings Service Office of Design and Construction.

The article, “The New Hierarchy,” discusses work the GSA is doing to redesign the modern office, especially within existing buildings.

View the digital copy of Retrofit magazine.

Architecture student receives Association of Retired Faculty Award

January 16th, 2013 Comments Off on Architecture student receives Association of Retired Faculty Award

Danielle Glass was one of just five students to receive an award this year from the Mississippi State University Association of Retired Faculty. Founded in 1986, the Association of Retired Faculty annually presents student awards named in memory of former colleagues and association members who made major contributions to student development at the MSU.

Glass, a fourth-year student in the School of Architecture, received the William L. Giles Excellence in Architecture Award, named for the MSU president that was serving when the state’s only collegiate architecture program was established.

Students were presented a plaque and money for their outstanding achievement at a recent holiday banquet. Retired faculty, department heads and friends and family joined the students to honor them and celebrate their achievement.

Michael Berk, Director of the School of Architecture, presented the award to Glass.

“Danielle is one of our School’s most accomplished students,” said Berk. “The faculty were unanimous in their support for this award. Danielle’s current GPA is 3.96; that is an ‘unheard of’ GPA in our school; rarely do we graduate students in this GPA territory. This is an exceptionally high achievement.”

“It’s a big honor – they only give it to five people a year,” said Glass. “And to have the director present such wonderful things about me – it was a really great experience.”

Glass is currently president of Tau Sigma Delta honor society and previously served as co-president of AIAS. She has served as a School of Architecture teaching assistant, had an externship at Gensler in Houston, Texas and serves on the Director’s Council. She is also an intern at the School’s Car Small Town Center and was previously on the Dean’s Council, among other achievements.

Read more about the award on MSU’s website.

2011 architecture grad wins AIA Merit Award

January 15th, 2013 Comments Off on 2011 architecture grad wins AIA Merit Award

Travis Parker recently won a Merit Award from AIA Middle Tennessee, which is the association’s second highest honor.

Parker, a 2011 graduate of the School of Architecture, won for his design of a treehouse created for Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville.

Every few years Cheekwood holds a competition for an exhibition of treehouses done by local architecture and construction firms. The alumnus’ design was one of the winners, whose design was built and set up at the park’s entrance for the summer of 2012.

All the designs were based on great works of literature. Parker’s design was inspired by The Giver by Lois Lowry, and he abstracted the work into a highly conceptual final design.

Parker entered his design for an AIA award with Chasm Architecture. He is currently employed with Kennon-Calhoun WORKSHOP, LLC in Nashville, Tenn.

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