School of Architecture participates in career expo event

October 7th, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture participates in career expo event

Students, faculty, staff and alumni from the Mississippi State University School of Architecture participated in “Imagine the Possibilities,” a career expo. for Northeast Mississippi 8th graders sponsored by Create’s Toyota Wellspring Education Fund.

The event was held Oct. 6-7 at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, and MSU participated in the Architecture and Construction Pathway, one of 18 pathways at the event.

MSU projects included:

  • Listen with Legos
    Goal: To show the importance of teamwork and communication between architects and construction professionals
    Task: One student served as the architect and had the directions and diagram. The other student served as the constructor and had to listen to the architect’s instructions to put together the set as quickly as possible.
  • Giant Jenga
    (A big hit!) Built by Building Construction Science students at Mississippi State University … because, why not?!
    “It’s the classic block-stacking, stack-crashing game of JENGA! How will you stack up against the law of gravity? Stack the wooden blocks in a sturdy tower, then take turns pulling out blocks one by one until the whole stack crashes down. Is your hand steady enough to pull out the last block before the tower collapses? If it is, you’ll win at JENGA!”
  • Pop-up Houses
    Students were given a house “plan” and were tasked with putting together the house. They were sent home with the challenge of putting together a pop-up MSU Chapel of Memories designed by an architecture professor at MSU.
  • Sharpen Your Sketchup Skills
    Students were allowed to try their skills at Google Sketchup with some help from MSU volunteers.

See more about the event and photos at or on social media with the hashtag #itp2015.

First female African American MSU architecture grad memorialized

October 5th, 2015 Comments Off on First female African American MSU architecture grad memorialized

Mississippi State University

A Nashville, Tenn., resident is honoring the memory of a family member who made history at Mississippi State.

Betsy Jackson, along with her siblings, recently established the Sheila Rene Jackson Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.

In 1984, Sheila Jackson became the first female African American receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture. She went on to a professional design career with the city of Atlanta and Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute, among other organizations.

“The School of Architecture is honored to be the recipient of this generous memorial scholarship,” said school director Michael Berk. “She was a pioneer in helping to break gender and racial barriers in the architectural profession and remains an incredible role model for us all.”

Berk, who also holds the school’s F.L. Crane Endowed Professorship, said the Jackson Scholarship will be awarded to a worthy student completing the final year of the school’s traditional five-year undergraduate program. Among other criteria, preference will be given to female African American majors, he added.

“My sister believed in helping others,” Betsy Jackson said. “My siblings and I wanted to do something that would not only honor Sheila’s legacy at MSU, but also would do what meant the most to her, help others.”

Established in 1973, MSU’s architecture school offers the only accredited professional degree of its kind in Mississippi. Housed in downtown Jackson, the senior-year study requirement was the nation’s first self-contained, fifth-year program in the major.

For information on creating scholarships through the College of Architecture, Art and Design, contact Perry K. “P.K.” Thomas, the college’s development director, at 662-325-2464 or

Read the story in The Dispatch.

School of Architecture alumnus to lead Natchez Democrat

August 21st, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus to lead Natchez Democrat


Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 4.24.31 PM

Gulf Coast Design Studio director, Mississippi AIA discuss lessons from Hurricane Katrina

August 21st, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Design Studio director, Mississippi AIA discuss lessons from Hurricane Katrina

AIA Architect: Lessons from Katrina

Seven Gulf Coast-area architects speak about what they’ve learned in the decade since the hurricane

By Scott Frank

To coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we reached out to a cross-section of architects for their first-hand and varied insights on any positive developments in terms of design approaches, public policy changes, client attitudes, and still-remaining gaps and vulnerabilities for the Gulf Coast region.

Based on what has been learned in the years following Hurricane Katrina, what are the most important considerations for communities in disaster-prone areas?

Mark Ripple, AIA: In New Orleans, we have spent the last century living under the delusional idea that we could keep pumping our city dry, building higher and higher floodwalls, and that ultimately our engineering acumen would keep us safe. We ignored basic principles which were clearly understood by our urban forerunners of the 18th and 19th centuries—that flexible, adaptable design approaches which embrace and engage our environment is the optimum long-term approach.

Allison H. Anderson, FAIA: Communities need to accept that an event is not a once-in-a-lifetime event and plan for the next one—one that will be stronger and more damaging to life and property. If they understood that there was a 10-year timeline, and that they had 10 years to prepare for the next storm, it would have changed the recovery substantially.

David Perkes, AIA: When disasters occur, it is almost automatic that FEMA will expand its flood zones. This catches homeowners off-guard and presents real challenges from insurance and building code standpoints if they decide they want some design elements to better protect their home against future storms. The change in flood zones actually changes the entire notion of being a homeowner, where their residence can go instantly from being an asset to a financial liability.

Ann Somers, AIA: To have a delineated plan in place for evacuation, and a plan in place for those that do not leave in time but need shelter; then have contacts with all the groups that can help after a disaster, so cleanup and getting home- and business-owners back as soon as possible to start re-building. A lot of structures were further damaged following Katrina because they had no cleanup effort until long after the storm.

Judith Kinnard, FAIA: The loss of life and property is typically the result of bad policies and decisions by the public and private sectors. Disaster events are often predictable; they can and must be managed in advance.

Have you noticed any positive changes in design approaches, government agency protocols, and/or public awareness? If so, what are the most compelling?

Steve Maher, AIA: After Katrina, the insurance companies took a big hit and the Louisiana State Legislature had to respond quickly in order to convince insurance companies to stay in the state. TheLouisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council was founded, and [it] established wind-design requirements based on certain areas of the state. These increased wind-design standards have proved to be prudent, as shown by how newer buildings fared in light of hurricanes Gustav [2008] and Isaac [2012].

Perkes: Almost immediately, the [Mississippi] governor’s office changed the policy regarding casinos in Biloxi that had been built and floating in the water. Not only did it get these structures out of the Gulf of Mexico and harm’s way, but they are now far better integrated into the urban fabric and a more natural part of the community. Mississippi is also leading the country with programs through the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety that provides financial incentives to design and build beyond code. A $500 spend when fortifying a roof can result in a 20 percent insurance reduction. At the federal level, the Department of Homeland Security is exploring a “Resilient Star” standard, which would make a big difference to advancing fortified building.

Kinnard: There is a fundamentally different approach to the way we think about the ground and the landscape. Designers are using many creative strategies to link raised building levels to public streets and sidewalks. The city’s longstanding approach to stormwater pumping has, unfortunately, increased the risk of flooding and property damage from land subsidence. Policies are changing, however, and our recently adopted Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance requires most projects to retain a significant quantity of rainfall on-site while including landscape to mitigate the heat-island effect and sheltering pedestrians from the sun.

J. Scott Eddy, AIA: Adaptability, being able to change based on immediate needs or circumstances; and diversity, planning to reduce the risk of loss of any one type of service/utility within a city/town/municipality due to a single event. In Collins, Miss., there were underground gasoline storage tanks. So gas was available, but due to Katrina there was no power to pump it.

Anderson: The level of familiarity with design, a result of charrettes, has given citizens a new language with which to demand change. Although recovery didn’t happen exactly as envisioned, residents understand the value of walkability, mixed uses, historic preservation, and green spaces. Now, because of the strong community engagement, these are the people and groups that are empowered to make things happen.

How have general public and architecture client attitudes to resilient design approaches evolved in recent years?

Anderson: After Katrina, there was so much confusion about the base flood elevations that many people rushed to rebuild at their previous elevation the same footprint they lost. Many of these rapid rebuilders suffered additional damage from Isaac and Gustav. Because of these recent storms, and changes to the flood insurance subsidies, they are dismayed to discover the price tag that accompanies this decision. There will always be the holdouts that say, “I want what I had before the storm,” but we need to share this message: It comes at a higher cost.

Eddy: Based on the impact of Katrina, I’ve seen more client requests for diversity in building systems to increase redundancy, and requests for more proactive planning to address the “what if this or that happens?” Still very much a cost consideration, but it is being talked about.

Ripple: The implementation of resilient practices has been no different. People may not understand how the city works, but we recognize its failures and shortcomings more than ever in the 10 years following the storm. Resilient design has been a way to bridge those shortcomings, by keeping communities in place and intact while preparing them with an appropriate architectural response, to confront a significant disaster or emergency and pick up the pieces thereafter.

If you had a magic wand to make one change from an official policy or regulatory standpoint, what would it be?

Anderson: No “grandfathered” structures: If there have been repetitive losses, people must relocate away from unsafe sites. Allow higher densities on safer ground to receive these housing units.

Maher: We have to make coastal conservation a top priority at the local, state, and especially the federal level. The Gulf Coast is our first line of protection against hurricanes, and we’re losing an area the size of a football field every hour! The coast has to be preserved in order to protect our communities.

Eddy: Within the past few years, Mississippi has adopted a statewide building code, but it contains language which allows municipalities to opt out. I would like to see a mandatory statewide building code as a means of establishing a minimum standard of design and construction regardless of where you are located in the state.

Ripple: To require every Corps of Engineers capital project to include robust involvement by architects. It is quite dismaying to see the massive new flood protection work being executed without any urban design or aesthetic considerations. One need look no further than the Netherlands to see that urban-scaled infrastructure projects can be beautiful as well.

Perkes: What has been frustrating is that if a family wants to relocate to a safer area following a disaster there is not an equitable way for families to be bought out. The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs are extremely complicated—it’s like they almost discourage families to seek a relocation buyout option by making the application process so cumbersome. There needs to be some readymade programs that are user-friendly and make it economically feasible for families to have their homes bought out at fair and reasonable prices.Kinnard: I would still like to see higher-density development on higher ground as a prudent strategy, without forcing residents out of the lower areas.Somers: That is easy: a statewide building code.

  • Allison H. Anderson, FAIA, unabridged Architecture, Bay St. Louis, Miss.
  • J. Scott Eddy, AIA, Barlow•Eddy•Jenkins, P.A., Jackson, Miss.
  • Judith Kinnard, FAIA, Professor of Architecture and Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, Tulane University
  • Steve Maher, AIA, Ritter Maher Architects, Baton Rouge, La.; Member of AIA Strategic Council, Regional Representative, Gulf States
  • David Perkes, AIA, MSU Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Biloxi, Miss.
  • Mark Ripple, AIA, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans
  • Ann Somers, AIA, Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons, Jackson, Miss. (MSU School of Architecture: BARC Dec1981)

MSU student architecture exhibit featured in Jackson

August 11th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU student architecture exhibit featured in Jackson


via David Lewis


A photography exhibit by four Mississippi State students highlighting the state’s distinctive modern architecture is being featured through Nov. 15 at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.

Displayed in the historic downtown building’s main hall, the images captured by current and just-graduated university architecture majors pay homage to a wealth of modern structures, some of which are in disrepair and danger of being demolished.

“The diversity of projects and range of work is the most fascinating part of the exhibit,” said May School of Architecture graduate David Lewis of Jackson. “From schools to homes, from Durant to Jackson, the exhibit expresses the breadth of the modern footprint in Mississippi.”

Along with Lewis, the exhibit represents the efforts of seniors Mary K. Sanders of Indian Springs, Ala., and Casey A. Walker of Brandon, along with Landon G. Kennedy of Clinton, a May cume laude School of Architecture graduate.

All are current or former members of the campus chapter of Tau Sigma Delta national honor society.

Assistant professor Jacob Gines provided guidance and also photographed one of the buildings for the project that debuted last year at MSU’s Giles Hall, home of the school and College of Architecture, Art and Design.

The exhibit then traveled to Greenwood before being on special display in Ocean Springs at the Sullivan-Wright/Charnley-Norwood home. The latter location represented a collaboration with the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s “Mississippi MAD MOD” website and celebration.

The trust and Mississippi Department of Archives and History are assisting with the exhibit.

“It was a privilege for our office to be able to provide seed funding for this entrepreneurial effort two years ago,” said Michael A. Berk, the school’s director and F. L. Crane Professor.

Observing that the exhibit “has truly taken on a life of its own,” Berk expressed hope that it “will continue to make the rounds in our state with future aspirations of a national exhibition down the road.”

Gines said both Lewis and Kennedy were instrumental in getting the exhibit into the Old Capitol Museum.

“With the exhibit being in my hometown of Jackson, it is very surreal to see my work up and having my friends and family go see the exhibit,” said Lewis. “It’s great to continue the conversation and education with folks from home.”

“The greatest satisfaction came by opening the eyes of other Mississippians about the importance of this modern movement within their own state,” added Kennedy. “Some people knew where some of these buildings were, but a lot did not, which was neat because it would often solicit a response of ‘oh I didn’t know that was in Mississippi.'”

To view the exhibit, visit -Museum/124269894286616.

Question and Answer with graduates David Lewis and Landon Kennedy

What is your favorite part of the exhibit?
LK: My favorite part of the exhibit was getting to collaborate with, not only the school and the resources that the faculty brings, but also the ability to see a project emerge from something in the Giles gallery to traveling around the state. It’s a big deal to see projects, and in this case an exhibit, be appreciated outside of Giles.  It really encourages current and future students in the School of Architecture to use the knowledge already gained in classes and apply them to work that can be appreciated outside of school.

What was a challenge you faced in putting together the exhibit?
DL:The layout of the exhibit. Landon and I spent a lot of time evaluating and redesigning the layout of the photos. It was something that was modular in design, in order to adjust to each space it would be housed in. In a way, the layout reflects principles of modern architecture design.
LK: A challenge faced in putting the exhibit together was a sacrifice of time.  Obviously, we did this project in our spare time (which is quite difficult to come by as an architecture major).  But it was enjoyable spending the extra hours in studio assembling the pieces or printing images because we knew the work would be realized, whether in the Charley Norwood House or in the Old Capitol Museum.

How MSU/the School of Architecture prepared you to curate this exhibit?
DL: MSU School of Architecture has helped us tremendously with this exhibit. First, they encouraged and enabled us to put together the exhibit. Then, they have continued to provide resources to make this exhibit continue to this day.
LK: The School of Architecture has prepared us to curate the exhibit by giving us the resources to find the information we needed and place the exhibit where it should go. The school also has taught me to put forth thought and time into a project to develop it into something that surprises you in the end.  This exhibit has done just that.

Read the story in the Clarion Ledger about the event.

See the story in the Starkville Daily News.

Hearin grant to pair MSU, Delta State

August 11th, 2015 Comments Off on Hearin grant to pair MSU, Delta State


A grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation will allow two state universities to collaboratively research business opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

With the $73,395 award, Mississippi State University’s Carl Small Town Center and the College of Business will partner with Delta State University’s Master of Business Administration program to determine if a “symbiotic district” is a feasible means for economic development in the Delta.

A symbiotic district involves a single site where businesses, community members and the building itself exchange products — such as garden vegetables, social services or cultural enrichment — and reuse their waste byproducts. The aim of this recycle-reuse collaborative is to create sustainable businesses and neighborhoods while helping the environment.

“Creating a symbiotic district in the Delta, where businesses will not only profit from their close economic relationship but also an ecological one, will provide a model for sustainable economic development throughout the state,” said John Poros, director of the Carl Small Town Center.

The grant also will fund a feasibility study in which MSU and Delta State MBA students, under the supervision of faculty outreach directors, will research possible business relationships in Delta communities for the project. Using those findings, the Carl Small Town Center’s national Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, Emily Roush Elliott, will then work with students from MSU’s School of Architecture to recruit potential business partners and secure buildings and site locations.

“We are pleased to be a part of this project that could provide a model for economic development not only in the Delta region, but throughout the state,” said Sharon Oswald, dean of MSU’s College of Business. “This is a great collaboration with not only the College of Architecture, Art and Design, but also our colleagues at Delta State.”

Robert Hearin Sr., the Mississippi Valley Gas Co. chairman and chief executive officer who died in 1992, established the Hearin Foundation in his will. It primarily supports the state’s higher education institutions and economic development.

The Carl Small Town Center, a research center within MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, is named for Fred E. Carl Jr., a major university benefactor who founded Viking Range Corp. For more information on the center, visit

MSU alumnus’ firm takes half of the AIA Tennessee 2015 Design Awards

August 6th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU alumnus’ firm takes half of the AIA Tennessee 2015 Design Awards

archimania's Hattiloo Theatre received an Award of Excellence at AIA Tennessee's 2015 Design Awards (photo via

archimania’s Hattiloo Theatre received an Award of Excellence at AIA Tennessee’s 2015 Design Awards (photo via

(Via AIA Tennessee news release)

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Tennessee) announced the 2015 Design Awards at a gala celebration during AIA Tennessee’s state convention in Knoxville, Tenn., last week. To salute excellence in architecture, AIA Tennessee conducts an annual Design Awards Program. This program honors built works of distinction designed by AIA Tennessee members. The program also brings to public attention outstanding examples of architecture.

Julie Beckman, Associate AIA, KBAS Studio and the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design, chaired the Design Awards Program and selected Karen Fairbanks, AIA, of MarbleFairbanks, to act as Jury Chair. Completing the impressive jury were Karla Rothstein, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University; Joeb Moore, Joeb Moore & Partners, LLC in Greenwich, CT, and Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the Barnard/Columbia Architecture Department; and James Slade, AIA, LEED-AP, Slade Architecture in NYC.

The ten projects were unanimously chosen from a field of 73 submittals, all of which received thoughtful consideration.

“Our jury became especially animated over projects that made an impact with minimal means. In the end, a number of civic projects and community-focused projects with a social agenda were favored. And innovation within constraints, a limited and unexpected use of materials and solving tough spatial and site conditions for great impact stood out to us. We didn’t set out to look for these at the beginning of the jury, but these issues surfaced in our dialog together as we looked at your collected work.”

The Memphis-based architecture firm, archimania, received 5 of the ten awards. Todd Walker, FIA is principal and a 1987 graduate of the MSU School of Architecture:

MEK House
archimania (Memphis)
Adapting to their changing lifestyle and growing collection of art and midcentury furniture, the client prioritized five discrete rooms in their 1990s spec-built house for: the entry, living room, kitchen, master bath, and the unfinished space above the attic to be used as an informal hang-out space.

These areas of focus have been treated as insertions – distinct from the original house in materiality, functionality, and form. Beyond responding to the family’s functional needs, the renovations are designed to serve as a backdrop for the client’s world-class collection of art. Surfaces of dark walnut paneling act in contrast to the white ‘gallery’ walls and serve as a visual material datum that connects the individual insertions as a cohesive counterpoint to the existing.

Because of its location, upstairs and separate from the rest of the house, the design of the attic was able to take on a more active, unrestrained character. Custom built-in lounge furniture responds to and mimics the angles of the attic walls. Dark wood strips wrap the space, lending it an intimate feel while echoing the materiality of the insertions below.

Jury Comments:

  • This is a great example of a super opportunistic project – one that embraced existing conditions and ran with them to transform the interiors. Take a second to look at the existing kitchen, attic, living room, and entry in particular.
  • Partial plans: lower level on left; upper level on right; existing below
  • Stair: we were completely wowed by this stair- A beautiful recladding of the existing stair
  • Kitchen bar: and a very clean material palette linking the primary spaces
  • Kitchen: Kitchen counter surface turns into a pocket over the stove.
  • Kitchen again: carefully crafted details at the counter and cabinets; ceiling
  • Bathroom: Impressed how they radically transformed the spaces through clean moves, and beautiful materials.
  • Bathroom again:
  • Attic: another example of taking an ordinary condition and making an extraordinary space
  • Attic detail: simple wood strips applied to the surface – relate to the wood used on the lower level
  • Final: Found a great balance of light and dark surfaces, bold graphic color and pattern, while creating a unique, intimately scaled space to hang out in

Leadership Memphis
archimania (Memphis)

Leadership Memphis is an organization that prides itself on building leaders through education and collaboration. Seeking an open and highly visible new location, their vision for the space was two-fold: to house private and flexible public workspaces conducive to highly collaborative activities, and to provide rentable space that would accommodate diverse group functions. Using color and directed flow patterns, the two bays function as either one large space or as two separate spaces. The Administration bay includes custom designed cubicles with oversized openings and functional sliders to fit the occupants’ needs as well as a large layout worktop that serves as the center for group activities. The Gallery bay is equipped with 1000 SF of open space, often reserved for public events and shares facilities with the Administration bay. A vibrant yellow provides high visibility from the street and connectivity between the bays. Continuity of the color was an important factor and proved challenging as it crosses between linoleum, acrylic panels, and paint. This client, formerly housed in a midrise and away from activity, has generated a life on its own and continues to draw crowds at weekly events at a formerly empty corner.

Jury Comments:

  • This project was a favorite for many reasons – one of them being the powerful impact that the color and material choices in the interiors make on the exterior
  • Existing conditions: started with long, shoe box spaces
  • Plan: developed a super clean, simple, clear diagram; working and meeting spaces of all scales from individual spaces to large gatherings and events in the gallery
  • Long desk: They utilized a minimal palette to connect the programs and announce shared surfaces and spaces; we noted how carrying simple material datums across element helped tie the different parts of the project together
  • Desk to enclosure: we were impressed by their cost-effective solutions
  • Panels: rolling panels provide privacy and also help keep space flexible
  • Carrying the datum across helps tie everything together
  • Yellow: Color is an ambient backdrop here AND, as noted in the exterior image, acts as a lure from the outside.
  • Kitchen: The yellow starts as a surface – a graphic element and then turns into a space
  • Final: Finally as an acrylic material for the shared spaces in the back of the gallery

Hattiloo Theatre
archimania (Memphis)

The first and only black repertory theatre in Memphis sought to relocate from their start-up space to an existing parking lot in an urban entertainment district currently undergoing a resurgence. The new building allows the theatre to have its own identity and establish a presence on the corner of a main artery into the district.

Working with a tight budget, the design team formulated an early strategy with two goals: First, define components that were permanent and components that could be added over time based on continued fundraising and profit (this would allow the theatre to add lighting, etc., but not sacrifice building quality), and second, keep it simple.

The building is divided into two main programmatic volumes; the performance volume, featuring two black box theatres and support spaces, and an administration volume. Conceived as windowless boxes, the two theatres occupy the northern edge of the site, abutting a neighboring parking lot. The irregular massing is reflective of the required internal volumes, yet both boxes are clad in a shingled siding that lends continuity and texture to an otherwise blank façade. The lower volume houses the entry lobby, ticketing and administrative spaces and presents a welcoming pedestrian scale along the southern edge of the secondary street (Monroe Avenue). Cor-Ten cladding was used for its ability to weather and oxidize over time while adding to the unique character of the entertainment district.

Jury Comments:

We were very pleased to award this important project – providing an elegant new home to this theater company

  • Site plan: We saw this as great response to the corner condition of the city;
  • Diagrams and plans: We appreciated the strong massing diagram with a super-clean and clever plan; the circulation spine divides administrative spaces from the theater spaces and is anchored by the primary entrance on one end and a secondary entrance on the other
  • Building from main street: We found this to be an exceptionally elegant composition and building strategy;
  • Overhang: engaging the city; cantilevered entry canopy announcing the theaters in a dramatic way
  • Corten: Great choice of materials – liked the cor-ten detailing at windows
  • Details: Shingled siding gives scale and interest to otherwise opaque surfaces
  • Lobby: Simple use of sloped ceiling, continuity of block on the interior, strip of lighting along theaters to draw the public in
  • Interiors:
  • Small theater: cleverly shares back of house spaces with larger theater
  • Larger theater:

Final: congratulations to this team – we were pleased to award this project that brought a powerful design solution to an important community organization

Regional One Medical Courtyard
archimania (Memphis)

This renovation of an unused hospital courtyard between two adjoining towers provides an updated image reflective of the hospital’s new brand and level of care. Challenged to provide a more welcoming and humane respite for patients and guests, bamboo was introduced as the primary landscape material that offered a new vertical scale to the space and provided a soft veil to mask the adjacent buildings. The entry and windows are delineated by Cor-ten steel thresholds on the floor plane and provide openings through the bamboo veil. Massive wooden seating elements serve as natural, functional and sculptural elements in the courtyard.

Jury Comments:

  • We were impressed by the effect that this small-scale insertion within an unused courtyard could have on the day to day life of the hospital
  • Site: It has a significant transformative impact on the experience of arriving and being at the hospital
  • Plan: Introducing a calm, comfortable, contemplative space at a hospital – a shared Zen-like space.
  • Construction: We saw this as an architectural space – designed through a landscape lens.
  • View (with before): Liked the scale of materials – the verticality of the bamboo – and were surprised by the materials – cor-ten on the ground; a simple palette of rich textures and materials
  • Views (3): The design brief noted that they were considering the addition of a future sculpture in the middle – over the storm grate –
  • Final: But we awarded it as it is – we didn’t see the need for the addition of a focal point of the space – that it felt complete to us.

Story Booth
archimania (Memphis)

Charged to create a flexible space for an after-school arts initiative along with a retail storefront, this project renovates a portion of an inner city flea market, disguising the after-school writing and arts workshop as a flea market booth. Taking advantage of the existing flea market’s circulation, infrastructure, and storefront, the design integrates reclaimed shelving units from a nearby Sears Warehouse which organize and scale the space into a storefront, “secret” workshop area with flexible learning spaces and a heightened sense of entry. A series of tall openings following the rhythm of the shelving figures let light, views and circulation into the workshop space from the adjacent alley.

Jury Comments:

  • Excited to see this project repurposing a flea market to house the afterschool program
  • Site: part of flea market, alley
  • Sign: hints at playful character and t he reuse of materials
  • Entry: Jury felt that this is a nice transformation – engaging the storefront with a small retail area
  • And the reorientation to the side alley is smart
  • Open/Closed view: The repurposed shelving becomes the “secret” door into the workshop beyond – we loved the hidden space and thought it spoke to the use of an elemental architectural condition – the threshold – to connect the users to the space
  • Workshop: wanted to acknowledge architects bringing their design skills to these types of projects for social / civic programs that will make a difference in the lives of many children
  • Shelves: support projects that looked for inventive solutions repurposing materials – supporting a social activism and a sustainable agenda – This is the kind of architecture we want to support.
  • Workshop: Very calm place for creativity.
  • Final: with modest means – the architects activate the space through a sustainable model – connecting to the community through the storefront.


Driving Positive Change through the Power of Design – The mission of AIA Tennessee is to shape the professional environment in Tennessee so that architects, clients, the building industry and the public at large understand and appreciate the value we bring to the community.

Summer studio visits Memphis

June 29th, 2015 Comments Off on Summer studio visits Memphis


photos by Hans Herrmann


A project by archimania the architecture group was able to view.

A project by archimania the architecture group was able to view.

Another project by archimania the group saw.

Another project by archimania the group saw.

Associate Professor Hans Herrmann’s first term summer architecture studio recently visited Memphis, Tenn.

While there, the studio met with alumnus Todd Walker at his firm, archimania.

The group also toured the Bridges Foundation building by architect Coleman Coker.

School of Architecture alumnus makes ‘Top 50 under 40′ list

June 29th, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus makes ‘Top 50 under 40′ list

(screenshot via

(screenshot via

Michael Boerner, a 2002 graduate of the School of Architecture and managing principal of Jackson architecture firm Wier Boerner Allin PLLC, was selected to the Mississippi Business Journal’s “Top 50 under 40″ list for 2015.

Click here to see the digital magazine.

Alumni’s firm wins D.C.-area AIA awards

June 26th, 2015 Comments Off on Alumni’s firm wins D.C.-area AIA awards

Foundry Architects, a firm started by MSU School of Architecture alumni Will Couch and Matthew Compton (2002), recently was honored with AIA design awards in the Washington, D.C., area:

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