School of Architecture alumnus to lead Natchez Democrat

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


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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:

School of Architecture holds annual 2015 Recognition Day

May 22nd, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture holds annual 2015 Recognition Day

Class of 2015

(Front row, left to right): Robert Ledet, Landon Kennedy, Trey Symington, Melinda Ingram, KeAirra Williams, Ashlyn Temple, Anna Lyle, Samantha King, J. Brooke Dorman, Sanjay Rajput, Nick Purvis, Will Commarato, Anthony Penny, Will Tonos; (back row, left to right): Katherine Ernst, Kyle Stover, John Taylor Schaffhauser, Michael Davis, David Lewis, Cory May, Rusty McInnis, Emily Lysek, Byron Belle, Nick Dodd, Jared Barnett, Rachel McKinley, Mark Riley, Colton Stephens, McKenzie Moran, Alex Reeves, Larry Travis, Clay Cottingham and John Thomas (photo: Justin Taylor)

Dean West introduces Dr. Peter Ryan.

Dean West introduces Dr. Peter Ryan.

Recognition Day for the School of Architecture was held on May 8, 2015 in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium.

Recognition Day 05082015_3

Dr. Peter Ryan

Dr. Peter Ryan, associate provost for Academic Affairs, welcomed everyone to campus.

Recognition Day 05082015_6

F.L. Crane Professor and Director welcomes his former student Anne Marie Decker.

Anne Marie Decker

Anne Marie Decker

Alumna Anne Marie Decker gave the 25th Annual Dr. William L. and Jean P. Giles Memorial Lecture.

Recognition Day 05082015_10Faculty was recognized before announcing the awards.

2014-2015 School of Architecture Awards:

Recognition Day 05082015_11Allen & Hoshall Faculty Award
Recipient: Associate Professor Jassen Callender
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: Mary Sanders
Faculty Advisors: Hans Herrmann, Associate Professor
Jacob Gines, Assistant Professor
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_20TSD Initiates:
Ashton Aime, Ria Bennett, Caleb Fearing, Ryan Fiero,
Brad Travino

Recognition Day 05082015_13 Recognition Day 05082015_14TSD Fifth-Year Graduates:
Richard Cottingham, J. Brooke Dorman, Landon Kennedy,
David Lewis, Rusty McInnis, Alex Reeves,
John Taylor Schaffhauser, Larry Travis

Recognition Day 05082015_15TSD First-Year Design Award
Recipient: Matthew Lewis
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_16TSD Bronze Award
Recipient: Jared Barnett
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_17TSD Faculty Book Award
Recipient: Erik Herman
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
to excellence.

Recognition Day 05082015_18TSD Charles Calvo Digital Media Award                    
Recipient: Ryan Mura
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: Aryn Phillips
Faculty Advisors: Emily McGlohn, Assistant Professor
Erik Herman, Visiting Assistant Professor
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_22The 2015 NOMAS Diversity Award
Recipient: Kapish Cheema
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: Megan Vansant
Faculty Advisor: Justin Taylor, Assistant Clinical Professor
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_24Alpha Rho Chi Student Book Award
Recipient: Melinda Ingram
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 (2015-2016): Emily Turner
Faculty Advisor: Alexis Gregory, Assistant Professor
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_25

(Anna Barr not pictured)

AIAS Member of the Year Award
Recipient: Anna Barr
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.”

Recognition Day 05082015_26Mississippi Chapter AIA Book Award
Presented by: Michael Berk, Director
Recipient: Alex Reeves
This inaugural 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.

Recognition Day 05082015_27

(Rayce Belton and Tahir Khan not pictured)

First-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Andrew R. Tripp, Assistant Professor
Recipient: Rayce Belton, Tahir Khan
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’.

Recognition Day 05082015_128Second-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Justin Taylor, Assistant Clinical Professor
Recipient: Lara Lynn Waddell
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’.

Recognition Day 05082015_31Third-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Alexis Gregory, Assistant Professor
Recipients: Ashton Aime, Ria Bennett
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:

Recognition Day 05082015_34Fourth-Year Faculty Book Award
Studio Coordinator: Hans Herrmann, Associate Professor
Recipients: Cody Smith, Haley Whiteman
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’.

Haley Whiteman

Haley Whiteman

Hannah Waycaster

Hannah Waycaster

Fourth-Year Jurists’ Award
Recipients: Hannah Waycaster, Haley Whiteman
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_39ARCC King Award
Presented by: John Poros, CSTC Director
Recipient: Anthony Penny
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.

Jared Barnett

Jared Barnett

Will Commarato

Will Commarato

Fifth-Year Jurists’ Award
Presented by: Jassen Callender, Jackson Center Director
Recipients: Jared Barnett, Will Commarato
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_43Academic Achievement Award
Recipient: John Taylor Schaffhauser
The Academic Achievement Award is a book award presented to the graduating fifth-year student who has the highest cumulative MSU grade point average.

Recognition Day 05082015_44Creative Windows & Doors/Marvin Windows Traveling Fellowship
($2,500)    Recipient: J. Brooke Dorman
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_45Alpha Rho Chi Medal
Presented by: Dean Jim West
Recipient: David Lewis
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.

Recognition Day 05082015_46

Clay Cottingham

John Taylor Schaffhauser

John Taylor Schaffhauser

AIA Henry Adams Certificate and Medal
Presented by: Professor Michael Berk
Certificate Recipient: Clay Cottingham
Medal Recipient: John Taylor Schaffhauser
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, 2014-2015

Second Place, Gensler Diversity Award
Aryn Phillips
Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm, has awarded nearly $200,000 in academic scholarship over the last 15 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, Aryn will receive $5,000 and has accepted a paid internship this summer with Gensler in Washington, D.C.

Best Undergraduate Paper, Building Technology Educators Society
Ria Bennett, Cody Smith, Bill Plott
The student group, dubbed the “Audit Squad,” received a $1,000 award for their paper, “The Leaky American Dream: A Study of Air Infiltration Rates of Residential Construction Over Forty Years,” which was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn. Ria and Cody have each been awarded the Jason Labutka Travel Scholarship ($1,500 each), which will fund their trip to the 2015 BTES Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, this summer to accept the award.

Alpha Rho Chi National Fraternal Service Award
Melinda Ingram, Sang Nguyen
Melinda and Sang were recognized by the Alpha Rho Chi Grand Council for their efforts developing and supporting national fraternity projects and mentoring other student members at universities across the country. Faculty Advisor: Assistant Clinical Professor Justin Taylor

Mississippi Modern Exhibit at Charnley-Norwood House, Ocean Springs
Mary Sanders, Landon Kennedy, David Lewis
These Tau Sigma Delta students curated this photography exhibition, which was part of the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s MOD educational program.

Association for Retired Faculty (ARF) William L. Giles Award
for Excellence in Architecture
Patrick Brown
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, MSU S3 Innovation Challenge
Emily Turner
Emily received a $500 cash prize and prototyping stipend for her project titled, “Emergency Homeless Shelter.” Faculty Advisor: Visiting Assistant Professor Erik Herman

First Place, 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium
J. Brooke Dorman
Brooke’s project, titled “Technical Publications Detailing,” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory.

First Place (tie), Arts and Humanities Category, 2014 MSU Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium
J. Brooke Dorman
Brooke’s project, titled “Exposing Gaps in Student Literature for Building Construction Technology,” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory.

Honors College Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Ryan Fierro
Ryan received $1,900 for his proposal, “Regional Material sand Sustainability.” He conducted his research under faculty mentor Assistant Professor Jacob Gines.

Honors Undergraduate Research Program Travel Award
Ryan Fierro
Ryan received $750 in funding to present two accepted posters, “Material Stewardship and Sustainable Practices” and “Mapping the Regional Landscape of Building Materials” at the 6th North American Materials Education Symposium hosted at Ohio State University. Faculty Mentor: Assistant Professor Jacob Gines

Second Place, Arts and Humanities Category, Spring 2015 MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium
Team: Anna Barr, Patrick Brown, Lucas Posey
“Improving on Outreach Design” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory.

Second Place, Service Learning Category, Spring 2015 MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium
Team: Anna Barr, Patrick Brown, Lucas Posey
“Improving on Outreach Design” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory.

2015 Office of Research and Economic Development Undergraduate Research Assistant Award
J. Brooke Dorman
Brooke was honored for her work with Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory on her book, Comprehensive Tectonics: Technical Building Assemblies from the Ground to the Sky


2015-2016 Scholarships

Paul Grootkerk Travel Award
($4,000)    Yerix Morel
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.

Rowan Taylor Endowed Scholarship
($2,500)    Cody Smith
Applicants must be entering the fifth year of architectural study within the school; have maintained a minimum MSU 3.0 GPA; have demonstrated exceptional design work and ability to achieve exceptional design; and have demonstrated financial need.

Acme Brick Company Scholarship
($2,000)    Aryn Phillips
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)    Danielle Griffin
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)    Devin Carr, Megan Vansant
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.

Lyndall Gail Wood Memorial Scholarship
($2,000)    Sara Peppers
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.

Fred Carl, Sr. Memorial Scholarship
($1,500)    Mary Holland
Applicants must be entering the first-year design studio; residents of Mississippi; have achieved a minimum composite ACT score of 28, and can demonstrate financial need.

Charles H. Dean, Jr. Annual Memorial Scholarship
($1,000)    Edward Holmes
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.

Creig B. Hoskins Architects Scholarship
($1,000)    Tony D. Coleman, Sierra Gillion
Applicants must be entering the first-year design studio in the School of Architecture; be a resident of one of the following Mississippi counties: Bolivar, Calhoun, Carroll, Coahoma, Grenada, Humphreys, Leflore, Montgomery, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Washington, Yalobusha; and can demonstrate financial need.

Interior Elements Annual Scholarship
($1,000)    Edward Holmes
Applicants must be full-time students entering the fourth-year design studio, be in excellent academic standing, and be a student with exceptional design ability.

Matt L. Virden III and M.L. Virden IV Memorial Scholarship
($1,000)    Aryn Phillips
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)    Maria Degtyareva,
Caleb Fearing, Zachary Henry, Yerix Morel, Lara Lynn Waddell
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.

Boral Bricks, Inc. Loyalty Scholarship
($500)    Danielle Mason
Applicants must be majoring in Building Construction Science or Architecture, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be an entering freshman.

Pryor & Morrow Annual Scholarship
($500)    Diondria Bingham,
Kapish Cheema, Savannah Ingram, Haley Whiteman
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
(CAAD software)    Richard Bryant, Shelby Christian,
Jake Gartman, Patrick Greene, Alan Pittman
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)    4 Awards, To Be Determined
Applicants must be from Leflore County, or be an under-represented minority group in architecture; and be interested in a career in architecture and related disciplines.

Joseph L. Echols D2 Scholarships (Design Discovery)
($600)    3 Awards, To Be Determined
Candidates 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.

class of 2015 recognitionsView all the photos below:

2015 Recognition Day Program

Duvall Decker firm featured on World-Architects

May 22nd, 2015 Comments Off on Duvall Decker firm featured on World-Architects

Photo: Timothy Hursley (via

Photo: Timothy Hursley (via, the premium network of outstanding architects, landscape architects, engineers, interior designers, lighting consultants and architectural photographers, recently featured Duvall Decker Architects Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services Cooperative Data Center.

“Two buildings with disparate functions and programing create an ensemble, in which an expanded field of potential experience is promoted. A monolithic, poured-in-place hardened concrete data center and a flexible, open steel frame office building, are positioned and shaped as sisters.”

Duvall Decker Architects specializes in public buildings, state institutions, school and university buildings, affordable housing and planning. The firm is a recognized leader and has received state, regional and national awards for design excellence. Most recently, the building featured by (above) was awarded the 2014 Design with Brick President’s Award. The design for the Jobie L. Martin Classroom Building at Hinds Community College was honored with a 2013 AIA Committee on Architecture for Education Excellence Award. The Oak Ridge House received a 2013 AIA Gulf State Region Honor Award. The Bennie G. Thompson Academic & Civil Rights Research Center earned a 2013 AIA Gulf State Region Honor Citation and a 2011 Design with Brick President’s Award. The firm’s work has frequently been published and highlighted in publications such as the Journal of Architectural Education, Houses for All Regions, a book published by AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network, Design Bureau Magazine, the Oxford American and in exhibits such as AIA’s “Design for the Decades.”

Anne Marie Decker (MSU S|ARC Class of 1994) is principal with and her partner Roy Decker. Anne Marie was the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s Alumni Fellow in 2009; most recently, she served as the Eminent Architect of Practice at the Jackson Center and was the 2015 Jean P. Giles Memorial Lecturer for the school’s annual Recognition Day.

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