June 2nd, 2016 Comments Off on CAAD holds alumni reunion in Philadelphia
(Photos submitted by Keith Bush, S|ARC Class of 1987)
The Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design hosted an alumni reunion and reception on Thurs., May 19, 2016, in Philadelphia, PA.
Held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown and coinciding with the 2016 AIA Convention, the informal gathering was a time for CAAD alumni, friends and family to re-connect, visit and network as well as get updates on what is currently happening within the college.
May 9th, 2016 Comments Off on School of Architecture holds annual 2016 Recognition Day
Class of 2016: (Front row, left to right): Devin A. Carr, Casey A. Walker, Lorianna J. Baker, Hannah C. Waycaster, Larry A. McMahan, Jacob L. Johnson, Jordan L. Hanson; (Second row, left to right): Ryan M. Bridges, Haley Whiteman, Jonathan Greer, Sang V. Nguyen, Emily K. Morse, Nenyatta K. Smith, Patrick D. Brown; (Back row, left to right): Carter V. Brown, Ethan D. Warren, Scott M. Polley , Stefan K. Balcer, Ryan L. Mura, Megan R. Vansant, Ericia L. Cox, Cody M. Skinner, Daniela G. Bustillos, Austin T. Robinson
Recognition Day for the School of Architecture was held on May 6, 2016, in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall.
Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, introduced MSU Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Peter Ryan, Ph.D.
Ryan welcomed everyone to campus.
Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) and owner of Hal and Mal’s Restaurant, presented the 26th Annual Dr. William L. and Jean P. Giles Memorial Lecture.
The School of Architecture faculty members were recognized before announcing the awards.
2015-2016 School of Architecture awards:
20th Annual Allen & Hoshall Faculty Award
Recipient: Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory
The architectural firm of Allen & Hoshall of Jackson, Mississippi, has established a $500 annual award to a faculty member “who has demonstrated excellence in teaching.” The award winners are selected by the fifth-year graduating class. ______________________________________________________
Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society (TSD)
Chapter President: Ashton Aime
Faculty Advisors: Assistant Professor Jacob Gines, Associate Professor Hans Herrmann
Tau Sigma Delta is the architectural (and allied programs) honor society open to top academic students in design disciplines. Induction does not occur until the student consistently demonstrates high academic standards and is in the third-year.
Maria Degtyareva, Zachary Henry, Omkar Prahbu, Lara Lynn Waddell, Ben Webster
TSD Fifth-Year Graduates:
Hannah Waycaster, Casey Walker, Jake Johnson
TSD First-Year Design Award
Recipient: Trey Box
The Tau Sigma Delta First-Year Design Award is presented to the first-year design student who has exhibited excellence in design. This is a book award.
TSD Bronze Award
Recipient: Devin Carr
The Tau Sigma Delta Bronze Medal is presented by the third- and fourth-year student membership of the society to a fifth-year student who, in his/her thesis project, has expanded the students’ insight and awareness of architecture.
TSD Faculty Book Award
Recipient: Assistant Professor Zulaikha Ayub
The Tau Sigma Delta Faculty Book Award is presented by the third- and fourth-year student members to the faculty member who has inspired them
TSD Charles Calvo Digital Media Award
Recipient: Tyler Warmath
In fall 2000, Tau Sigma Delta established this book award in memory of a School of Architecture faculty member, Charles Calvo, and his contribution to the field of digital media in architecture. This award goes to a fourth-year student who, like Charles, has exemplified an incredible knowledge and skill in digital media and has continually educated other students in this field. A copy of the book given to the award winner is also given to the library in memory of Charles.
National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)
Chapter President: Kapish Cheema
Faculty Advisors: Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn, Assistant Professor Andreea Mihalache
National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) is the student arm of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Students participating seek to enhance the educational experience of its members by fostering diversity within the School of Architecture and the community at-large.
The 2016 NOMAS Diversity Award
Recipient: Diondria Bingham
Chosen by the NOMAS membership, the NOMAS Diversity Award is given to a
student who has shown outstanding initiative and leadership in promoting diversity within the School and the larger community.
Alpha Rho Chi (APX)
Chapter President: Sara Peppers
Faculty Advisor: Assistant Clinical Professor Justin Taylor
Alpha Rho Chi is the only national co-ed professional/social fraternity for architecture and the allied arts. MSU’s Hippodamus chapter includes members representing architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and engineering. Their mission is academic excellence, and the group focuses on leadership, mentoring and professionalism.
Alpha Rho Chi Student Book Award
Recipient: Stefan Balcer
The Alpha Rho Chi student book award is given to a graduating fifth-year architecture student who is an active member of Alpha Rho Chi who has furthered the mission of the fraternity through service.
American Institute of Architecture Students
Chapter President: Emily Turner
Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory
American Institute of Architecture Students is the student counterpart of the American Institute of Architects. The chapter works closely with professional architects in the state through the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
AIAS Member of the Year Award
Recipient: Zachary White
The recipient of the AIAS Award is chosen by the AIAS membership. The qualifications for this award are: “…that the student goes above and beyond what has been asked of him/her; has shown initiative and leadership qualities; has been
an AIAS leader within his/her year level; and does well academically.”
Mississippi Chapter AIA Book Award
Presented by: Jim West
Recipient: Anna Barr
This award is funded by the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It recognizes a high-achieving student who holds a leadership position within the MSU chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students.
First-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Jeffery Roberson, Instructor
Recipient: Davis Byars
This award is a book selected by the first-year faculty and is presented to a first-year student selected on the basis of ‘design excellence’.
Second-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Justin Taylor, Assistant Clinical Professor
Recipient: Matthew Lewis
This award is a book selected by the second-year faculty and is presented to a second-year student selected on the basis of ‘design excellence’.
Third-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Emily McGlohn, Assistant Professor
Recipients: Lara Lynn Waddell and Zachary Henry
This award is a book selected by the third-year faculty and is presented to a third-year student/s selected on the basis of ‘design excellence’.
Fourth-Year Capstone Awards:
Fourth-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Hans Herrmann, Associate Professor
Recipient: Ashton Aime
This award is a book selected by the fourth-year faculty and is presented to a fourth- year student/s selected on the basis of ‘design excellence’.
Fourth-Year Jurists’ Award
Recipients: Ryan Fierro and Morgan Powell
The Jurists’ Award, a book award, is conferred by visiting jurors and critics upon the student(s) who has achieved the greatest personal growth as a designer, and whose work has contributed to the overall success of the fourth-year Design Studio.
ARCC King Award
Presented by: Jacob Gines, Assistant Professor
Recipient: Ryan Fierro
Selection for this award is made by the entire faculty. Named in honor of the late Jonathan King, co-founder and first president of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC), this award is presented to one student per ARCC-member school. Selection of the recipient is based upon criteria that acknowledge innovation, integrity, and scholarship in architectural and/or environmental design research.
Fifth-Year Jurists’ Award
Presented by: Jassen Callender, Jackson Center Director
Recipients: Devin Carr and Jonathan Greer
The Jurists’ Award, a book award, is conferred by the fifth-year design faculty upon the student(s) who has achieved the greatest personal growth as a designer and whose work has contributed to the overall success of the fifth-year Design Studio.
Academic Achievement Award
Recipient: Jacob Johnson
The Academic Achievement Award is a book award presented to the graduating fifth-year student who has the highest cumulative MSU grade point average.
Creative Windows & Doors/Marvin Windows Traveling Fellowship
Recipient: Hannah Waycaster ($1,600)
In September 2004, Dave Young and Eddie Rives, owners of Creative Windows & Doors; and David Morris, Marvin Windows representative, established this traveling fellowship for a student completing the fifth-year.
Alpha Rho Chi Medal
Presented by: Dean Jim West
Recipient: Patrick Brown
The Alpha Rho Chi Medal is awarded to the graduating fifth-year student who has shown an ability for leadership, performed willing service for the school, and gives promise of professional merit through attitude and personality. The medal is offered each year to every NAAB-fully accredited school of architecture. The recipient is chosen by the entire faculty of the school.
AIA Henry Adams Certificate and Medal
Presented by: Dean Jim West
Certificate Recipient: Jacob Johnson
Medal Recipient: Haley Whiteman
Sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, the AIA Henry Adams Certificate and Medal are considered to be the most important awards given to graduating students. They are awarded for “general excellence in architecture” throughout the course of study. The medal is awarded to the most qualified student, and the certificate is awarded to the runner-up. Selection is made by the entire faculty.
Other Notable Student Awards, 2015-2016:
Aydelott Travel Award
Lara Lynn Waddell
A $2.4 million endowment – established by the late Alfred Lewis Aydelott, FAIA, and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott – provides a $20,000 award each year to four architecture students currently enrolled in the professional architecture degree programs at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Auburn University; Mississippi State University; and the University of Tennessee. As MSU’s recipient, Lara Lynn Waddell will travel this summer to Atlantida, Uruguay; Rome, Italy; Muuratsalo, Jyvaskyla, Finland; and Havana, Cuba, to study four unique buildings. She will work next semester with her faculty advisory, Emeritus Professor Dr. Michael Fazio to compile a report.
Second Place, Gensler Diversity Award
Rashidat “Mo” Momoh
Gensler, a global firm, has awarded more than $200,000 in academic scholarship over the last 16 years. The Gensler Diversity Scholarship is a juried program recognizing emerging talent among African-American college students enrolled in an accredited architecture program. As a second place winner, Mo has accepted a paid internship this summer with Gensler in Boston.
Association for Retired Faculty (ARF) William L. Giles Award
for Excellence in Architecture
This $500 award was established in 1997 in honor and memory of William Lincoln Giles, a charter member of ARF. It is given each year to a student selected by the School of Architecture on the basis of academic excellence and overall leadership within the school. Funding for the award comes from a contribution by Ms. Hazel Presson, aunt of Ginger Giles Jones, Dr. Giles’ daughter.
First Place, Arts & Humanities, 2016 Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium
Emily’s project, “The Application of Architectural Theory to Multifamily Housing Through a Feminist Lens,” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory.
Second Place, Community Engagement, 2016 Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium
Anna’s project, “Continuing to Improve on Outreach Design,” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory.
Honors College Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Emily received funding to conduct research under faculty mentor Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory. Topic: Feminist architectural literature to write a scholarly paper on this topic in regards to design/build and community engagement.
Honors College Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Anna received funding to conduct research under faculty mentor Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory. Topic: Construction drawings for the Oxford-Lafayette Habitat for Humanity house designs.
Institute of Classical Architecture & Art New York City Summer Program Fellowship
Scott was one of 18 students selected out of 50 applicants to attend the ICAA Summer Studio in Classical Architecture – a four-week, immersive program introducing students to skills, knowledge and resources essential to the practice and appreciation of classical design.
Second Place & People’s Choice Award, MSU Investing in Innovation E-Commerce Competition
Jared C. Creel
Jared’s project for the prototype startup competition, “StruggleBusBox.com” was a project with Taylor A. Lee, a business administration major, under the guidance of Visiting Assistant Professor Erik Herman.
AIA St. Louis Chapter Scholarship
Curtis received a $500 scholarship from the chapter.
2015 Epting/Mathews MSU Co-op Student of the Year
This award recognizes one outstanding co-op student at Mississippi State each year for academic excellence, exhibited professionalism in the work place and leadership in respective organizations. Johnson received a $500 scholarship sponsored by Huntington Ingalls and a recognition plaque.
Method Studio Undergraduate Research Fellow – Fall 2015
Maria received a $3,000 Stipend Award and worked on research for Method Studio, a full-service architectural and design firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Research was conducted under the guidance of Assistant Professor Jacob Gines.
Method Studio Undergraduate Research Fellow – Spring 2016
Edward received a $3,000 Stipend Award and worked on research in the spring semester for Method Studio under the guidance of Assistant Professor Jacob Gines.
Paul Grootkerk Travel Award
($4,000) Kirkland Webber
The Paul Grootkerk Travel Award (funded by Ted T. Porter) is available to full-time students who will have completed their second year of study. Candidates must have a minimum MSU 2.5 GPA, be hard working, and can demonstrate financial need.
Acme Brick Company Scholarship
($2,000) Kapish Cheema, Caleb Fearing
Applicants must be: entering the fifth-year design studio in the School of Architecture; have a minimum grade point average of 3.0; be of good moral character; and have demonstrated leadership ability and strong overall academic performance.
Duvall Decker Minority Travel Scholarship
($2,000) Diondria Bingham
Applicants must be currently enrolled as a full-time student and be a member of an under-represented minority group in the practice of architecture and also meet the following criteria: 1)self motivated learner; 2)high GPA; 3)demonstrate financial need.
Eley Guild Hardy Architecture Annual Scholarship
($2,000) Brandon Fairbanks
In May 2007, Taylor Guild III and David Hardy established this scholarship to assist talented students in their fifth-year of study in the architecture program.
Rowan Taylor Endowed Scholarship
($1,250) Olivia Baker, Isaac Galindo, Chester Mitchell
Applicants must be entering freshmen with a minimum 3.0 GPA; have demonstrated exceptional design work and ability to achieve exceptional design; and have demonstrated financial need.
Charles H. Dean, Jr. Annual Memorial Scholarship
($1,000) Jared Robinson, Lara Lynn Waddell
Any full-time MSU students in their third- through fifth-year of design studio may apply. Applicants must be Mississippi residents and can demonstrate financial need.
Lyndall Gail Wood Memorial Scholarship
($1,000) Rashidat Momoh
This scholarship was established by the Wood family to honor Lyndall Gail’s passion as an MSU architecture student. Applicants must be full-time students entering the fourth-year design studio in the School of Architecture, be in excellent academic standing with the university, and be a student with exceptional design ability.
Matt L. Virden III and M.L. Virden IV Memorial Scholarship
($1,000) Patrick Greene, Kelli Weiland
Students must be entering their third-year; have a 2.80+ GPA; be of good moral character; have demonstrated leadership; can show financial need; and a resident of: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, Desoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington, or Yazoo Counties.
Stephanie Mihojevich Pizzetta Annual Scholarship
($1,000) Ashton Aime, Maria Degtyareva, Caleb Fearing, Zachary Henry, Rashidat Momoh
Candidates must be full-time students at Mississippi State University; have completed their second-year of design studio in the School of Architecture; have a minimum 3.0 GPA; and can demonstrate financial need.
Joseph L. Echols Scholars Program
($850) Diondria Bingham, Damion Hardy
($600) Quintarius Brown, Myles Jeffries
Candidates for the Joseph L. Echols Scholarship must: be a current undergraduate and underrepresented architecture student; show strong work ethic by maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA; present a satisfactory work portfolio; demonstrate financial need.
Pryor & Morrow Annual Scholarship
($500) De’Andre Gaskin, Damion Hardy, David Kett, Kirkland Webber
Any full-time MSU students in their second- through fifth-year of design studio may apply. Students must be Mississippi residents and can demonstrate financial need.
Angelo “Pops” Primos Computer Scholarship
($195) Tony Coleman, Damion Hardy, Danielle Mason, Donald Murray
Applicants must be full-time MSU students entering the second-year design studio in the School of Architecture; and can demonstrate financial need.
Johnson-McAdams Design Discovery Scholarships
($600) 3 Awards, To Be Determined
Applicants must be from Leflore County, or be an under-represented minority group in architecture; and high school students interested in a career in architecture and related disciplines.
Joseph L. Echols D2 Scholarships (Design Discovery)
($600) 3 Awards, To Be Determined
Candidate must: be a high school student who shows an interest in majoring in architecture by taking college preparatory math and science courses and demonstrating ability; show strong work ethic and satisfactory performance; be a minority student from the Marshall County area; demonstrate financial need.
View all the photos from Recognition Day below:
Click here to download the program.
May 5th, 2016 Comments Off on archimania in the news
archimania’s Hattiloo Theatre near Overton Square in Memphis, Tenn., is among six designs being considered for the World Architecture News (WAN) Award as the best international architecture for performing arts. (photo via archimania.com)
archimania, a Memphis firm led by MSU S|ARC graduate Todd Walker, has been in the news a lot recently.
At the AIA Memphis Gala, the firm won nine out of 11 awards. Last year, the firm took half of the awards. Read more about last year’s event here.
They also have two of six designs being considered for the World Architecture News (WAN) Award as the best international architecture for performing arts. Read the story at world architecture news.com and The Commercial Appeal.
A design plan by archimania was recently selected for the Ballet Memphis’s headquarters. Read the story via The Commercial Appeal.
Way to go, archimania!
April 1st, 2016 Comments Off on School of Architecture, Institute of Classical Architecture and Art hold lecture in classical design
The School of Architecture at Mississippi State University and the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) hosted the Dan and Gemma Camp Lecture in Classical Architectural Design on April 1 in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall.
F.L. Crane Professor and Director of the School of Architecture Michael Berk welcomed guests – including students, alumni, S|ARC Advisory Board members, as well as the lecture sponsors – Dan and Gemma Camp.
Tracy Ward, a 1987 graduate of the School of Architecture, introduced the lecture. A registered architect and architectural historian as well as chairman of the Mississippi Committee of the ICAA, Ward discussed the national nonprofit group that focuses on promoting the classical arts.
Emeritus Professor of Architecture Michael W. Fazio, Ph.D., then presented the main lecture on “The Works of Benjamin Latrobe.”
Fazio is an architect and architectural historian. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Auburn University, a Master of Architecture degree from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in the history of architecture and urban development from Cornell University. He practices architecture in the southeast region, most often as a preservation and restoration consultant preparing historic structure reports. He is also an actively publishing scholar whose articles have appeared in the Society of Architectural Historians Journal, Arris (the journal of the Southeast Society of Architectural Historians), and the Journal of Architectural Education. An accomplished author, his books include Buildings Across Time: An Introduction to World Architecture, The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and Landscape of Transformations: Architecture and Birmingham, Alabama. Fazio was a professor at Mississippi State University from 1974 until 2005.
The Dan and Gemma Camp Lecture in Classical Architectural Design is sponsored by Dan and Gemma Camp (founder and developer of the Cotton District in Starkville) along with a generous gift by Briar (S|ARC Class of 1994) and Michelle Jones.
The lecture is also a part of the 2015-2016 Harrison Lecture Series lineup.
Upcoming lectures include:
- April 8, 4 p.m.
Author, Pamphlet Architecture 25: Gravity Project
Project Director, Ralph Appelbaum Associates
- April 15, 4 p.m.
Gregory Walker and Benjamin Wiemeyer
Principals, Wow Atelier
- May 6, 1 p.m., S|ARC Recognition Day
(Dr. William and Jean Giles Memorial Lecture)
Author, Little Stories
Owner, Hal & Mal’s Restaurant
The Harrison Lecture Series is sponsored through a generous gift by Freda Wallace Harrison and Dr. Robert V.M. Harrison, FAIA, FCSI.
March 22nd, 2016 Comments Off on CAAD to hold 2016 alumni reunion in Philadelphia
The 2015 CAAD Alumni Reunion was held in Atlanta, Ga.
The Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art, and Design will host an alumni reunion and reception on Thurs., May 19, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pa.
Held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown and coinciding with the 2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention, this informal gathering will be a time for CAAD alumni, friends and family to reconnect, visit and network as well as get updates on what is currently happening within the college. CAAD alumni and friends don’t have to register for the AIA convention to attend this free event.
Other university receptions will be held at the same time in this location, so we expect to be able to network with many additional visitors from the AIA and other professional organizations. See photos from last year’s reunion in Atlanta.
Who: CAAD Alumni, friends and family; peers in the industry
What: A time to catch up with classmates, reconnect, and network with friends.
When: Thursday, May 19, 2016, 5:30-8 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
Grand Ballroom, Salon K
1201 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Contact Christie McNeal at 662-325-9839 or email@example.com with questions.
March 21st, 2016 Comments Off on Architecture alumna Janet Marie Smith to speak at Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
Janet Marie Smith, alumna and internationally recognized architect, presented Mississippi State University’s keynote address at the spring 2013 commencement exercises. (Photo by: Megan Bean)
Janet Marie Smith, internationally recognized baseball stadium architect and MSU School of Architecture alumna, will speak at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson on Thurs., April 21, at noon.
Smith’s address is Part II of the Hometown Speaker Series, which is being held in conjunction with the Hall of Fame’s presentation of the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.”
Smith completed her architecture degree at MSU in 1981 and her master’s in urban planning from City College of New York. She has designed stadiums for the Atlanta Braves, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. She currently works for the Dodgers as senior vice president of planning and development.
Click here to download the full release and schedule of events.
January 22nd, 2016 Comments Off on CAAD to host career panel in conjunction with MSU Career Days
January 5th, 2016 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio one of several from MSU making a difference in storm aftermath
Via Alumnus magazine | Mississippi State University | Fall 2015 | By Zack Plair
Storm Season: A decade after Katrina, continued research seeks to prevent devastation
Preparing to walk into her bridal shower in September 2005, Laura Buchtel McWhorter struggled to wipe the tears from her eyes and regain her composure.
A Metairie, Louisiana, native and 2003 graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast meteorology, she had evacuated her south Louisiana residence just days before Hurricane Katrina’s catastrophic landfall on the Gulf Coast.
As she arrived to her shower in Tupelo, she received on her cell phone the first images of her parents’ home sitting in more than a foot of water. Her grandparents’ home, she later learned, was in the same shape.
Her family members, thankfully, were fine. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for everyone.
More than 1,800 people on the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi died after Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, made landfall as a Category 3 storm on Aug. 29, 2005. The storm laid waste to entire communities on the Mississippi coast, while the storm surge caused levees to fail and flood New Orleans, displacing hundreds of thousands of residents.
McWhorter and her husband, Kelley, married on Oct. 8 that year at the Chapel of Memories on Mississippi State’s Starkville campus. Immediately after their honeymoon, she said they went to Metairie to help her family sift through the waterlogged rubble and start the process of getting them back on their feet.
“It was a happy time because of the wedding, but it was a trying time, too, because of the storm,” McWhorter said, recalling the upheaval. “It was definitely a crazy time.”
That December, McWhorter had the opportunity to fill in for the beleaguered chief meteorologist—who had worked months straight without a day off since Katrina—at WWLTV in New Orleans, a CBS affiliate where she had interned during her senior year at MSU. Her interim work led to a full-time meteorologist job at the station, where she’s worked ever since.
But when she and her husband moved to New Orleans in the spring of 2006, they faced a city still wounded from Katrina’s wrath and man’s failures.
“It didn’t even look like a city,” McWhorter said. “At night, it was so dark and the silence was deafening. Even in the day, everything was just so brown and gray. Nobody knew if New Orleans would come back. There was a period when we thought, ‘This is never going to be right again.’”
A REFUGE FROM THE LAST RESORT
More than 500 miles away, Michael McDaniel was appalled. He said it was the only word that came to mind when he saw the mess before him in early autumn 2005, and 10 years later, he still can’t think of a better one.
A graphic designer working in Austin, Texas, at the time, he saw firsthand what life was like for those living in Houston’s Astrodome after being moved from the Superdome in New Orleans—the original “refuge of last resort.”
He said he vividly remembers instances where desperate people, who had presumably lost most of their worldly possessions, wandered around the stadium holding up makeshift signs with names of family members they couldn’t locate scrawled across the front. The chaos there was “mind-boggling,” he said.
And so, that’s what he’s trying to do—using a disposable coffee cup as a template.
A Centreville native and 1999 Mississippi State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in art, McDaniel developed the idea for Exo, a portable emergency shelter. Reaction Housing, his Austin-based company, will soon begin full-scale production of the shelter, along with other emergency shelter products.
Built similar to a teepee using a lightweight, durable, proprietary material, McDaniel said the latest version of the Exo weighs about 375 pounds. The units can sleep two to four people, but there is also a model with desks and shelves that can be used as a mobile command center at a disaster-relief staging area.
All furniture and elements of an Exo fold flat, meaning four people can quickly set up, take down and carry the shelter without machinery. It doesn’t contain its own power source, but with 110-volt outlets, each unit can connect to an outside power source, such as a generator or a car battery with an inverter.
Exos use keycards, similar to those at hotels, but can also be accessed with a regular key. McDaniel explained Reaction uses a software system to control access to the units and track registered Exo users, which would allow people to more easily locate their loved ones if the product was employed during a disaster.
McDaniel started developing the Exo in 2007. He said he basically worked on the concept and design in his backyard at nights and on weekends for the first six years.
He started Reaction in 2013, after his product acquired its first angel investor. McDaniel said Reaction now has more than two months of orders to fill. Most of those are from commercial or individual customers who are willing to spend the roughly $12,000 per unit on recreation or other personal use.
While that might get the Exo noticed, McDaniel said he is still striving for his product to serve a greater purpose and create sales volume that will drive down the price. He said he hopes, in time, government agencies and private aid organizations will purchase Exos in advance of an emergency. That way, if a hurricane is headed for the Gulf Coast, for instance, the agency or organization could quickly stage a mass shelter area.
“We see this as becoming a tool for planning, rather than just a knee-jerk reaction,” McDaniel said. “A hurricane is the only disaster that you can see coming and plan for. And with these, people won’t be sleeping on Army cots in sports arenas. It’s a way to better keep the people and their belongings safe.”
MORE ACCURATE PREDICTIONS
Mississippi State University faculty and staff are also doing their part to improve disaster forecasting, response and recovery.
The university’s Geosystems Research Institute teamed up in 2014 with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and California-based Liquid Robotics to test the effectiveness of an unmanned ocean-surface vehicle in more accurately predicting the paths and intensities of hurricanes.
Associate research professor and meteorologist Pat Fitzpatrick, who is stationed among three GRI teams at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, said
institute researchers field-tested three Liquid Robotics-manufactured Wave Gliders last summer in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Wave Glider looks like it’s on a surfboard. Its main structure floats on the ocean’s surface tethered by a cable to underwater flaps that use waves for propulsion. The glider’s floating structure carries battery- and solar-powered instruments to measure wind, pressure, waves, currents, water temperature and more.
The data from the gliders is collected via satellite.
Weather buoys are the standard for reading environmental measurements of storms, but if a storm doesn’t cross over a buoy, storm path and intensity predictions can be inaccurate. With more study, Fitzpatrick said he hopes NOAA can one day deploy a fleet of gliders to fill in gaps where there are no buoys.
“All it takes is a little more information to completely change the predicted path of the storm,” he said. “NOAA was very pleased with our work last year, but I think this needs more study. We need to get one of these into an actual hurricane and see how it does.”
Mississippi State’s Social Science Research Center is developing technology using “human sensors” that could make future emergency response quicker and more effective.
Sponsored by a $150,000 grant from NOAA, SSRC researchers have accessed Twitter’s archives and sifted through almost 5 million tweets posted from the New York and New Jersey areas during Hurricane Sandy in 2008. The majority of the tweets deal with the storm, including hundreds of thousands of photos of flooding and other storm damage, and each is geocoded to within 5-10 feet of where it was posted.
The team, which includes Fitzpatrick, John Edwards and Somye Mohanty, also surveyed 20,000 residents of the Sandy-affected area, to find out how they received information about the storm and how they responded.
“This data is as useful, if not more useful, than traditional survey data,” said SSRC director Arthur Cosby. “People were using social media during Sandy to ask for help and offer help, while others were organizing aid efforts.”
Using what they’ve learned about how people use social media to request and offer assistance, the team is now developing software that emergency management services can use during disasters to see tweets from the affected area. This will help first responders use Twitter to directly contact those who need help and respond more quickly to issues.
Mohanty said it would also allow emergency managers to more easily convey accurate information to the public during weather events or other disasters.
“The more information you have, the better decisions you can make,” Mohanty said. “The better decisions you make, the more lives you can save.”
The Biloxi-based Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, a Mississippi State research center, has taken charge of making the post-Katrina Mississippi Gulf Coast better than it was before the storm.
Using a federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as several regional partnerships and community volunteer hours, the studio’s professional staff has helped design and build more than 230 new homes and rehabilitate another 100 in Katrina-affected communities in Mississippi.
David Perkes, the design studio’s director, said the focus on resiliency rather than speed helped plot a better long-term vision for the coast. In other words, the studio doesn’t just want to build basic housing that would become rental property in five to 10 years, he said. Instead, the plan is to work with property owners to build homes that will stand the test of time and be passed down from generation to generation.
“An important lesson we learned through this rebuilding work was the value of involving community members in the design process,” Perkes said. “In doing that, we hope we will instill in them a stronger sense of ownership.”
Perkes’ team of designers and landscape architects have earned American Institute of Architecture recognition for their home designs. Most recently, the studio won an Environmental Protection Agency Gulf Guardian Award for restoring Bayou Auguste in east Biloxi, which Katrina devastated.
Through that project, the team removed debris and repaired the bayou’s wetland habitat by building a neighborhood wetland park. Mississippi State students and community volunteers also engaged in educational programs about improving the bayou’s functions of restoring and improving the nursery habitat for fish and shrimp, reducing pollution and debris entering the ocean through the integrated bayou and storm water system, and creating a marshland to contain floodwater from extreme storm events.
“Resiliency is not just about becoming better prepared for a disaster,” Perkes said. “It’s about improving the day-to-day quality of life in these communities. We’re wanting to take the awareness that comes from Katrina, and use it to build a sustainable, resilient community mindset.”
MOVING FORWARD AFTER THE STORM
Back in New Orleans, despite McWhorter’s fears and those of many who trudged through the early post-Katrina days, the city has bounced back.
Neighborhoods organized after the waters receded, she said, and people, all bound together by crisis, started helping one another. The storm and its aftermath, it seems, became part of the New Orleans DNA.
“There was such a sense of community because we were all going through the same thing,” McWhorter said. “We all have our Katrina story, and we’re all connected by that bond.”
That bond the storm created in New Orleans, however, also brought with it a sort of hangover for residents, especially in dealing with the threat of severe weather, she said. And it’s changed the expectations for meteorologists in the area.
During the run-up to Hurricane Gustav’s landfall in 2008, which fortunately fell short of its “Katrina-like” force projections, McWhorter said a sort of weather-related post-traumatic stress became evident.
She explained that Gulf Coast residents have learned the storm terminology and want to see all the hurricane models, but most of all, they want meteorologists’ advice on how to stay safe.
“I don’t think I was prepared to be part meteorologist, part psychologist when I got into this business,” she said. “Here, you don’t just tell people what the weather is like; you actually have to coach them through it.
“People here are gun-shy about any storm. They want all the information you can give them, even what you would consider to be the more scientific stuff. They expect it.”
In the decade since the storm, she said, the city built back little by little—rebuilding houses, businesses and infrastructure destroyed by Katrina’s wrath. With better levees, better evacuation plans and more accurate weather forecasting, McWhorter said New Orleans is much better prepared if another Katrina hit.
What guarantees the city’s survival more than anything else though, she added, is the same force that pulled it through the pain Katrina wrought – its people.
“The storm toughened us up, and it taught us just to live our lives day to day,” she said. “If another Katrina hits, there’s definitely going to be damage. When the inevitable happens and a bad storm comes, we’ll survive and rebuild. If we made it through Katrina, we can make it through anything.”
November 16th, 2015 Comments Off on Architecture alumnus Lance Davis staying busy with U.S. General Services Administration
Lance Davis, AIA, LEED program manager for Design Excellence Architecture+Sustainability, in front of the U.S. General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. (photo via http://plus.usgbc.org/monumental-green/)
Program Manager for Design Excellence Architecture+Sustainability for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Lance Davis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and a 1995 graduate of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State, has been staying busy lately.
Davis was recently asked to be part of the plenary panel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference, Past Forward.
During the conference, Davis presented a power session, “ESPCs: Using Energy Efficiency Initiatives to Spark Reinvestment,” where he discussed the use of ESPCs for historic preservation.
This week, Davis will speak at the Embassy of Canada about his work for the sustainability of architecture for the U.S. Federal Government and how Canada can play a better role in this effort.
At the end of the week, he is also scheduled to speak at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Federal Summit in Washington, D.C., on GSA’s sustainability efforts and successes. His Nov. 20 G10 session is titled “Mending Mid-Century Modern.”
The USGBC’s magazine, USGBC+, recently featured the work of the Federal Government in an article titled “Monumental Green,” and Davis was interviewed for the piece.
November 10th, 2015 Comments Off on Marvin Windows, archimania host fifth-year architecture students
(Via Associate Professor and Jackson Center Director Jassen Callender)
For eleven straight years, Marvin Windows and Doors, a premier made-to-order wood and clad wood window and door manufacturer, has hosted the fifth-year School of Architectures students at their door manufacturing facility in Ripley, Tenn.
In addition to a day of guided tours on Oct. 22, Marvin Windows provided hotel accommodations, breakfast and lunch to the students.
Archimania, a Memphis firm led by MSU graduate Todd Walker, hosted the students a day earlier. Archimania employees and MSU alumni Kayce Williford and Will Randolph provided tours of several of the firm’s Memphis-area projects.