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.
October 27th, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture Advisory Board meets
The Advisory Board for the School of Architecture met on Mon., Oct. 26 in the Shackouls Executive Board Room in the Hunter Henry Center on campus.
Members of the board came together to discuss issues affecting the school.
The group was introduced to Associate Dean Greg G. Hall, who presented an update on the College of Architecture, Art and Design.
Mississippi State University Provost and Executive Vice President Jerome A. “Jerry” Gilbert also presented an update on the university and entertained a question and answer session with the group.
Faculty joined the board for discussions during lunch, and fourth-year student Zach Henry presented a video showing work from the fall 2014 Collaborative Studio.
Following lunch, CAAD Director of Development P.K. Thomas discussed fundraising and gift opportunities.
When the meeting adjourned, the group was invited to visit with students in studio in Giles Hall.
October 27th, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture announces fall 2015 jury schedule
All are invited to the School of Architecture’s fall 2015 Jury Reviews.
NOTE: All times are subject to a bit of change (due to the nature of the review process) along with breaks for lunch. Please call to confirm and let us know you are coming. Giles: 662-325-2202; Jackson Center: 601-354-6480
Fifth-Year Final Jury Schedule (Jackson)
NOTE: Jury to be in the 5th-Year Jackson Center, 509 Capitol Street. Please call first to confirm times. 601-354-6480
- Thurs., Nov. 19 9-6 p.m. (w/ possible evening session)
“Stitching the Urban Fabric” | Jackson Center Director: Jassen Callender
Project #1: Constructing a Civic Artifact. (Teams of two) Students designed and construct full-scale sheet metal doors for an unprogrammed but significant civic building. Through this work, students were expected to formulate a response to the question, “how do individual things join into a larger, more meaningful, whole.”
Project #2: Conceiving a Patch. (Teams of four to five) Students conducted site analyses, documented the figure-ground relationships, and constructed a digital site model that accurately represents the area bounded by Amite Street (north), Adams Street (west), Pearl Street (south), and Roach Street (east). At the conclusion of the Theory of Urban Design intensive course, students worked to develop master plan proposals for this rail viaduct district. These proposals should address issues of program, form, and social justice.
Project #3: Stitching. (Individual) Each student will select a site within his or her team’s master plan for the design of an Archive for the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. This is not a destination for tourists. The facility is intended to serve local, national, and international scholars, provide community meeting spaces, and, of course, house the state’s most significant Civil Rights artifacts. The latter function as well as the building’s symbolic importance demands a robust response, both structurally and perceptually. These designs must incorporate the student’s sheet metal door, without modification, and serve as a test of his or her thesis statement on the role of architecture in the making of a city.
- Fri., Nov. 20 9-6 p.m. (w/ possible evening session)
“Stitching the Urban Fabric” (continued)
First through Fourth-Year Final Jury Schedule (Starkville)
NOTE: Jury to be in Giles Hall, Starkville (Giles Gallery and/or Fazio Jury Room) Please call first to confirm times. 662-325-2202
- Mon., Nov. 23, 9-6 p.m. (w/ possible evening session)
- Tues., Nov. 24, 9-6 p.m. (w/ possible evening session)
Third-Year Studio | Coordinator: Justin Taylor
Urban Chicago Medium Density Housing
The third-year studio’s final project is the design of a mixed-use, multi-family housing project on a site in Chicago, Ill. The project teaches students what’s involved in building housing in a metropolitan city.
- Mon., Nov. 30, 8-6 p.m. (w/ possible evening session)
Second-Year Studio | Coordinator: Hans Herrmann
Collaborative Studio ‘Build/Design’
The second-year Collaborative Tectonics Studio presents BUILD/DESIGN a full-scale study of wood frame materials and methods in service of heightened design education. This fall, 62 architecture and building construction science students participated in a detailed project planning, cost estimating, scheduling and construction exercise. The 11-week effort resulted in the construction of two unique structures on the MSU campus. The structures form part of a home garden demonstration site located adjacent to the Landscape Architecture buildings just off Bully Blvd. on the MSU main campus. Realized by students as a kit-of-parts which feature hand built Shou Sugi Ban cypress partitions and a gull wing kinetic folding wall system the project focused students foundational materials and methods issues.
The detailing and assembly logic learned in the BUILD portion of the semester will be presented by students in their DESIGN term-project, a Tea House. Students will present original Tea House designs based upon the recast kit of parts they previously deployed for the MSU Landscape Architecture BUILD project. Detailed assembly diagrams, materials estimates, and design models/renderings will be presented as evidence of the students newly forged knowledge of architectural tectonics.
- Tues., Dec. 1, 9-6 p.m. (w/ possible evening session)
Fourth-Studio (two studios)
Studio One: Timber Hi-Rise in NYC | Coordinator: Jacob Gines
“Scaffolding + Skin”
BACKGROUND – This studio will examine the role of heavy timber tectonics in contemporary architecture – primarily focusing on structure as scaffolding and façade as skin. Students will engage this topic from a historic perspective and research the significance and varied application of these tectonic manifestations through an introduction to some tectonic theory and precedent. The scholarly study of the tekton (carpenter or builder) and the discourse surrounding the notion of tectonics received much attention throughout the late 1800’s and continues to exist as a critical endeavor today. It can be argued that at the heart of tectonic inquiry is the idea and application of poesis, ‘to make’. This constructed attitude will motivate the students to express their research and design attitude through a series of iterative exercises which will be visualized using palimpsestic drawing and additive modeling.
Final proposals will be of a speculative building sited in Manhattan, NY at 104 West 57th Street.
SUSTAINABLE STRATEGY – Utilize heavy timber and/or engineered wood construction in innovative and experimental ways to develop a proposal for a tall wood building (15-20 stories) in Midtown Manhattan.
Benefits of using wood in tall wood buildings include…
• Renewable natural resource
• Reduction of carbon emissions
• Carbon sequestering / carbon sink
• Expedited erection schedules – 20%±
• Reduction of overall project costs – 4%±
• Innovative applications
Studio Two: Boys & Girls Club Educational Garden | Coordinator: Alexis Gregory
The School of Architecture, Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, Horticulture Club, and Graphic Design have joined together with the Boys and Girls Club of Starkville to design and construct an Educational Garden. The hope in constructing the garden is to get the kids at the Boys and Girls Club excited about growing and cooking with homegrown foods. This project intends to educate children on how to grow multiple different foods appropriate for the Starkville climate. The phases in the project intend to lay out a full plan for the construction of the gardens as well as intentions for future building changes. The building changes set up an educational kitchen to teach the kids how to prepare the food they grow. This educational garden will be an example of a community garden that will hopefully grow through the city of Starkville.
October 16th, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture classes of 2004, 2005 hold reunion, give back
The MSU School of Architecture classes of 2004 and 2005 recently held a reunion in Starkville.
Approximately 30 alumni and their guests attended the events, which included a tour of Giles Hall and lunch at the School of Architecture Amphitheater catered by Little Dooey’s.
F.L. Crane Professor and Director of the School of Architecture Michael Berk gave an update on the progress and changes in the school over the past ten years. Current student leaders also joined the group.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was very impressed by the current students that we met,” said Jenna Lingsch, event co-coordinator.
The Class of 2004/2005 is presenting the school with a gift of $1,000, which includes individual gifts and ticket sales from the reunion event. The funds will be used to support the grassroots, student-led effort to raise funds for new seating in studio and critique spaces in Giles Hall.
“It is always amazing to see the successes and accomplishments of former students and alums,” said Berk. “The fact they chose to ‘reunite’ here at the MSU School of Architecture in Giles Hall speaks volumes to their continued passion and connection with our program. Furthermore,” he added, “their interest and willingness to make a financial commitment to the students to enhance our studio environment is incredibly humbling.”
Anyone who would like to add to the “Class of 2004/2005 Donation Seed” can send a check directly to:
School of Architecture
Mississippi State University
Attention: Michael Berk
P.O. Box AQ
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Please make checks payable to: MSU School of Architecture Advancement fund, memo: Giles Studio Seating.
For more information about how to give to the School of Architecture, contact P.K. Thomas, director of development, at (662) 325-2542 or
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 designbuildimagine.wordpress.com or on social media with the hashtag #itp2015.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the story in The Dispatch.
August 21st, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus to lead Natchez Democrat
August 21st, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Design Studio director, Mississippi AIA discuss lessons from Hurricane 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  and Isaac .
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)
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 www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Capitol -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.