School of Architecture alumnus Howorth featured in business journal

April 30th, 2013 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus Howorth featured in business journal

Part of the Pinecote Pavilion’s charm and uniqueness is its design that allows all of its elements to be exposed. Unfortunately, this also leaves the structure at the mercy of nature and time.

Architect working on plans for Pinecote Pavilion

by Wally Northway | Published in the Mississippi Business Journal April 26,2013

A preservation project on one of Mississippi’s iconic structures is underway, and is already drawing interest, particularly among architects.

The Pinecote Pavilion at The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune is currently the focus of a study led by the architectural firm Howorth & Associates, and the nearly 30-year-old structure is earmarked for work to ensure it is still wowing viewers decades from now.

“I want to stress that this is a preservation project, not restoration,” said Pat Drackett, director of The Crosby Arboretum, which is owned and operated by Mississippi State University. “The Pinecote Pavilion is lovely. We are just wanting to make sure it stays that way.

“We have a lot of people all the time who stop in here just to see the pavilion. It’s on their bucket list of things to do.”

Why all the to-do over a pavilion?

Pinecote was designed by famed architect E. Fay Jones. A former mentee and close friend of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jones (1921-2004) was a modest Arkansan who preferred rural living. This was reflected in his designs that were generally smaller projects — chapels, pavilions, private homes, etc. — and that were noted for incorporating native materials and blending aesthetically with their surroundings.

Among his most enduring and endearing designs is the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Ark., Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Ark., and the Pinecote Pavilion.

Jones’ awards were numerous, and included the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1990, that organization’s highest honor. That same year, Pinecote won the AIA’s Honor Award for Design Excellence, becoming the first Mississippi structure to earn that designation.

Tom Howorth, FAIA, principal architect and president of Howorth & Associates, says Jones’ award-winning concepts — use of native building materials, natural aesthetics, repetitive themes — are all incorporated in the Pinecote Pavilion.

Howorth (BARC from MSU – May 1983) said Jones won the AIA 25 Year Award largely on the strength of three designs, “and one of those is Pinecote.”

The pavilion is an all-wood construction, built of the area’s yellow pine, and connected with dowels and nails. Among its most unique features is that all of the construction elements are visible and exposed.

This, however, also means the elements are exposed to the weather, making preservation a key concern.

Begun in 1985 and completed the following year, Pinecote has seen its share of storms, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm heavily impacted the structure, leaving a two-foot hole in the roof.

The roof and other visible damage was repaired, but it was found that the structure has warped slightly. Howorth said part of his team’s report would address whether to fix that issue, which is not readily apparent, or to leave it as is.

Beyond that, Howorth said the work would focus on preserving the structure — both short and long term. Thus, part of Howorth & Associates’ challenge is to draw up a maintenance plan.

“The pavilion is at Crosby, which has a staff, a maintenance team on the grounds, that is skilled in such areas as carpentry,” Howorth said. “Our state chronically struggles with maintenance of facilities.”

His team is drawing up a plan under which the Arboretum’s personnel could see to ongoing preservation and maintenance, he added.

The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, through its Bureau of Building is funding the project.

Project leaders are hoping to let bids for Pinecote in November, with a scheduled completion date of June 2014.

Perhaps no one anticipates the opening of the “new” Pinecote Pavilion more than Drackett. The Crosby Arboretum sees between 8,000-14,000 visitors per year, many of whom visit just to see the pavilion.

It is also an important revenue stream. It is a popular, in-demand site for weddings, meetings/retreats, parties, etc.

“We do a lot of weddings — I mean a lot, too,” Drackett said. “I just want to stress again that this is a preservation project. There is nothing shabby about Pinecote Pavilion, I assure you.”

Howorth, who never got a chance to meet Jones but did meet his wife once, recommends visiting at noon (11 a.m. during daylight savings time). As with many of his structures, Jones oriented the pavilion facing polar north (not magnetic north). When the sun reaches its highest, the skylight of the structure casts a shadow on the trees, just as Jones had planned it.

“It is absolutely stunning,” Howorth said.

For more information about the Pinecote Pavilion, including rental rates, visit the Crosby Arboretum’s website at

Dean Jim West featured in Starkville Daily News

April 30th, 2013 Comments Off on Dean Jim West featured in Starkville Daily News

Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, gave a presentation on the college’s statewide impact at the Starkville Rotary Club on Monday, April 29 at the Starkville Country Club.

Click to read the article by Steven Nalley in the Starkville Daily News from April 30.

Third-year architecture students present final projects, win BIA Awards

April 30th, 2013 Comments Off on Third-year architecture students present final projects, win BIA Awards

Haley Whiteman, who won a $1,000 Brick Award for her project, is busy at work before the final review presentation.

The third-year studio in the School of Architecture presented their designs for a Community Arts Center project located in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, April 23. Professors were Alexis Gregory, AIA; Emily McGlohn; Todd Walker, FAIA; and Chris Cosper, AIA (BCS).

The students worked on intermittent assignments throughout the semester with the second-year Building Construction Science students, allowing both studios time to work independently and as a team.

The students also researched and created the project programs consisting of three different focus areas for the Community Arts Center – Film/Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Historic/Industrial Arts. The students were allowed to choose one of the three possible program types, and they used this to create their building design. The students were also tasked with utilizing brick as a major component in their building but in a new and innovative way. This challenge, part of a yearly design competition funded by a generous grant from the Brick Industry Association (BIA), supports the pedagogical focus of the studio as the Tectonics II studio for the School of Architecture.

The reviewers of the student work included Glen Clapper, AIA, architectural services manager for the Brick Industry Association in the Southeast Region; Patrick Nelson, AIA, and Jermaine Washington, principals of Regarding Architecture in Birmingham; Brittany Foley, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, project architect with Williams Blackstock Architects in Birmingham; Matt Foley, NCARB, LEED AP, associate at Davis Architects in Birmingham; and Roy Decker, principal of Duvall Decker Architects P.A. located in Jackson.

The reviewers selected the winning projects by looking at how the students utilized brick as both a design and construction material in their project and felt that the winning projects were the most successful in their use of brick.

Brick Industry Association Winners 2013:
Samantha King – $1,000 Brick Award
Haley Whiteman – $1,000 Brick Award
Robert Ledet – Honorable Mention
John Taylor Schaffhauser – Honorable Mention

Students hard at work on their projects before the final reviews:

Final reviews:

Fifth-year architecture students present thesis projects

April 29th, 2013 Comments Off on Fifth-year architecture students present thesis projects

Fifth-year architecture students presented their thesis/comprehensive final projects in Giles Hall in Starkville from April 26-April 27.

Second-year architecture students present final projects

April 26th, 2013 Comments Off on Second-year architecture students present final projects

Second-year students in the School of Architecture presented their final designs for a boathouse on the Riverwalk in Columbus on Wednesday, April 24 in Giles Hall in Starkville.

Second-year professors this semester were Rachel McCann, Frances Hsu and Justin Taylor.

Fourth-year architecture students present final projects

April 26th, 2013 Comments Off on Fourth-year architecture students present final projects

Danielle Glass gets pointers from a guest juror.

Fourth-year architecture students were tasked this semester with designing a museum for the Howlin’ Wolf and Mississippi Black Prairie Blues to be located in/on/around the former McClure Furniture Store in downtown West Point. Included in the program are spaces for the West Point Arts Council, Incubators for economic community development and more.

The two sections of the Design IV-B studio, sponsored by Stion Corporation, ran concurrent final review sessions in the Jury Room (Professor Jane Greenwood’s studio) and the S|ARC Gallery (Professor Hans Herrmann’s studio).


Students have been working hard throughout the semester on their projects.


The School’s Advisory Board reviewed the students’ work in March and gave them tips to complete the projects.

First-year architecture students present final projects

April 26th, 2013 Comments Off on First-year architecture students present final projects

First-year architecture students presented their final projects on Monday, April 22 in Giles Hall in Starkville. Professors were Jake Gines and Andrew Tripp, and Finas Townsend served as the studio assistant.

Except for the final two weeks, the second semester of first-year studio has been dedicated to the notion that architecture is the representation of design.

The first two learning modules of this semester addressed composition and color, which are continuations of topics introduced but not completed in the first semester. The third learning module was a return to collage, where students were directed to invent and imagine their own sites. These sites became the basis for the fourth and final module, where students were asked to respond to two kinds of givens: the spatial conditions of their site and the basic elements of a program. Here is a brief description of the semester’s work:

In the composition exercise students were asked to create a matrix of images that demonstrated the various compositions of visual objects (directions, patterns, positions, shapes, sizes) and predicates (balancing, compressing, contrasting, graduating, repeating). They searched for these object-to-predicate relationships with their camera around town, in their previous work and in the creation of new iterative of drawings.

In the color exercise students became practiced in the systematic rationale of color space (hue, saturation and lightness) through a series of pastel drawings where they were encouraged to demonstrate the compositional techniques they had just learned. These drawings were contrasted by a series of exercises focused on the non-systematic perception of color depth, which resulted in colored relief models intended to emphasize the apparent depth of certain locations of color.

In this exercise students were challenged to invent their own sites (urban landscapes) through a process of collaging satellite images of existing city fabrics and infrastructures. Students were asked to consider ideas of complexity, heterarchy, and abstraction and then interpret these into drawings and three-dimensional models, which were then molded in plaster.

GIVENS: Part 01
Spatial Conditions: Students were asked to discover and document several microsites in their model that demonstrated an identifiable composition. Then, using paper and metal wire (skin and bones), they emphasized these compositions through simple constructions and excavations of the plaster. Students were challenged to be responsible for developing an iterative process of making, documenting, judging and remaking.

GIVENS: Part 02
Proportioning Programming: This final exercise only lasted two weeks but is very significant because it is intended to contrast our discussion of composition and to explore some elementary ideas of space planning. Students literally rolled the dice to determine the proportions of useful qualities (light/dark, wet/dry, level/not-level, fast/slow, and rough/smooth). They were asked to find or plan for the proportion of these qualities in their model. The boundary and scale of their proposal was up to them to determine.

The students were required to present their refined model, which can be at any scale that they determine. This presentation also includes at least three final drawings (at a scale of 1⁄2“ = 1’-0”): one plan (horizontal section) and two vertical sections (or bent sections) and a series of documentary photographs. These drawings and photographs constitute the required standard material, but students are also required to create a full compliment of representations that show a complete understanding of the space and programmatic elements. Finally, students have been asked to imagine their proposals as a meeting place for at least two people, and, given the spaces
and qualities of those spaces, the students have been asked to imagine and write a narrative or fiction that this proposal could plausibly support. Rather than dwell on design processes, the students are expected to raise questions of space, givenness and the transition from composition to space-planning in a foundations studio.

CSTC well represented at American Planning Association national conference

April 25th, 2013 Comments Off on CSTC well represented at American Planning Association national conference

John Poros presents on rural sustainability at the APA national conference in Chicago.

John Poros recently presented a session on his research on rural sustainability at the American Planning Association’s national conference. The conference was held on April 15th in Chicago, Ill.

Poros is the associate professor in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State and the director of Carl Small Town Center (CSTC), a nonprofit community design and outreach component of the School.

Poros’ session was attended by more than 200 participants and was selected as the Small Town and Rural Planning session for the year.

Leah Kemp also presented at the conference’s poster session.

The poster was titled “Baptist Town Neighborhood Revitalization.” Kemp serves as the assistant director of the CSTC and presented recent work the center has done to help the Greenwood neighborhood.

May graduations include two leading architects, former governor

April 25th, 2013 Comments Off on May graduations include two leading architects, former governor

(By Sammy McDavid | University Relations)

STARKVILLE – Janet Marie Smith, a Mississippi State alumna and architect internationally recognized for her innovative baseball stadium designs, will be commencement speaker next month for both of the university’s spring graduations.

Also during the May 10 and 11 public programs in Humphrey Coliseum, MSU will bestow honorary doctoral degrees on, respectively, former governor William F. Winter and Madison architect Robert V.M. Harrison. Winter’s degree will be in public service; Harrison’s, in science.

More than 2,400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students are candidates for 2013 spring semester diplomas.

Smith, a Jackson native who last year was named senior vice president of planning and development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, speaks first at the 7 p.m. ceremony on the 10th for graduates of the Bagley College of Engineering and its Swalm School of Chemical Engineering; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its School of Human Sciences; and colleges of Education, Forest Resources and Veterinary Medicine.

Her second address will be at 10 a.m. on the 11th to graduates of the colleges of Architecture, Art and Design and its School of Architecture; Arts and Sciences; and Business and its Adkerson School of Accountancy.

Smith is a 1981 MSU architecture graduate who also holds a master’s degree in urban planning from City College of New York. In 1994, she was named the architecture school’s alumna of the year; in 2011, the inaugural class of the Sports Business Journal’s “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business.”

Before being hired last summer by the Dodgers organization, Smith was vice president of planning and development for the Baltimore Orioles, a position she had held previously in the early 1990s. Prior to returning to Baltimore, she was in similar leaderships positions with the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves. With the Braves, she also was president of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development, a division of the Turner Broadcasting System.

During her first stint in Baltimore, Smith oversaw the design and construction of Camden Yards and, in the process, created a model for other downtown ball parks around the country. In Atlanta, she led in transforming Olympic Stadium into Turner Field; in Boston, she was responsible for transforming venerable Fenway Park and leading the program that placed the ballpark on the National Historic Register.

Winter, Mississippi’s chief executive 1980-84, is nationally recognized for leadership in helping bring about the state’s education reform act that created the Magnolia State’s first public kindergartens, among other school improvements. A former state legislator who later was elected state tax collector, treasurer and lieutenant governor, he has been honored with a Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the 2009 Mississippi Medal of Service by his home state.

A graduate of the University of Mississippi and its law school, the Grenada native also holds a Mississippi Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award and is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. He currently is special counsel for the Jones Walker firm’s Government Relations Practice Group in Jackson.

Winter is a World War II veteran who continually has been praised for a lifetime of work involving efforts to expand opportunities for others. He is the namesake of Ole Miss’ racial reconciliation institute and the state’s teacher scholar loan program.

Harrison is a former two-term president of the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects and former member of the national AIA board. A partner for more than three decades in the Jackson architectural firm of JH&H, he was instrumental in helping establish MSU’s architecture academic program. Additionally, he served on the architecture school faculty for 13 years, and continues two decades of service on the school’s advisory council.

An intern development program for architecture graduates that Harrison proposed in his University of Florida master’s degree thesis was adopted, after being pilot tested, by Mississippi as the model in 1978. It now is mandatory for architectural registration in all 50 states.

He helped found the state chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute and served as its president. He remains among only a few professionals to hold the distinguished rank as a Fellow of both the AIA and CSI.

Harrison’s continuing support of the MSU architecture program includes endowment of a lecture series, gifts for scholarships and facilities in both architecture and landscape architecture and fundraising assistance. The popular campus auditorium in Giles Hall, home of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, is named for him and his wife Freda.

Read more on WCBI.

Architecture student work selected for SubSIPPI event

April 18th, 2013 Comments Off on Architecture student work selected for SubSIPPI event

Jordan Gill | “Corteza Viva”

Jordan Gill’s watercolor piece, “Corteza Viva,” was chosen for a pop-up art show, one of many events meant to bring awareness to SubSIPPI, a film documentary of what is supposed to be the true portrayal of Mississippi. Gill is a fourth-year student in the School of Architecture.

The show, hosted by SubSIPPI, was held in a student’s warehouse studio in Jackson on April 6 and consisted of 26 female Mississippian artists. Local bands provided entertainment.

The SubSIPPI organization has hosted many similar events for people of all backgrounds to collaborate together through art. Click here to watch the official trailer for the SubSIPPI documentary.

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