School of Architecture director named 2014 University of Florida distinguished Architecture Alumnus

April 17th, 2014 Comments Off

Michael Berk with Green Mobile project - ArchitectureMichael A. Berk, AIA, has been selected by the University of Florida to receive the 2014 Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award.

Berk, director of the MSU School of Architecture and F.L. Crane Endowed Professor, is a 1981 graduate of the University of Florida.

Florida’s College of Design,
 Construction and Planning honors recipients in each
 of its five units – architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, building construction, and urban and regional planning – annually with this award.

The architecture awards are chosen by faculty
 for the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the School of Architecture, academia and the profession of architecture.

“To receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from an institution of the caliber and with the national reputation that the School of Architecture at the University of Florida caries is an award of the very highest level,” said Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. “This award is one given by your peers, architects and professors who have followed your work and achievements for many years.  These awards are given to individuals who have had a notable impact on the profession of architecture and in the case of Michael Berk have also left a recognizable and indelible imprint on countless students who have worked and studied under his guidance in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State.  I can think of no alumnus more deserving of this recognition.”

Berk was honored at an awards ceremony on March 
31 at the University of Florida, where he also participated in the school’s Masters Research Projects (MRP) final presentations jury review with fellow critics Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Berk is a registered architect with an extensive practice as a design partner in the West Palm Beach firm (AOA) prior to his return to the academy. Berk teaches and researches in the areas of Information Design and Factory-built Housing (GreenMobile®). He is considered by many to be an expert in the area of ecological design; recent lecture invitations include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Hearst Lecture Series Cal Poly, Rural Studio and the National Building Museum. Berk has been responsible for more than $7 million in funded research. He was also a pioneer in design studio pedagogies; his Digital Nomads (1992) program created the first student-owned laptop requirement (breaking the machine out of the traditional computer lab) and strategically placed it along-side power saws and drawing boards to complement traditional analog design processes.

Tau Sigma Delta presents ‘Transparent Reflections’ exhibit, reception

April 15th, 2014 Comments Off

“Transparent Reflections,” an exhibit sponsored by Tau Sigma Delta (TSD), features the photography of David C. Lewis, Ph.D.

Lewis is the current interim director of the Building Construction Science Program.

The exhibit will be on display in the Giles Gallery from April 15-22, and a reception will be held at 5 p.m. on April 16.

See the full TSD Gallery schedule.

School of Architecture assistant professor exhibits, leads design charette in Ohio

March 28th, 2014 Comments Off

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

Tim Frank, RA, LEED AP, was recently invited to exhibit his work in Coshocton, Ohio. The exhibit, “Returning to First-Principles,” will be on display through April 26 at the Pomerene Center for the Arts. Click here to read more and see some of the work.

The MSU School of Architecture assistant professor was also asked to lead a two-day design charette for a park in the center of town. ArtPARK will be built at 325 Main Street and will serve as a place to display temporary public works of art, show movies and present performances, as well serve as an anchor for the revitalization of downtown Coshocton.

During the charette, three spatial schemes were developed

led by Anne Cornell – THE COMMUNITY STUDIO Artist, Artistic Director, Pomerene Center for the Arts
Geni Devens – Graphic Designer, Interior Decorator
Byron Brenneman – Sophomore at Otterbein University, downtown historian
Jon Cotterman – CHS Tech Prep Teacher, Musician, Craftsman
Connie Miller – Head Gardner Roscoe Village, Coshocton is Blooming
Leah Bashover-Nichols – Mechanical Engineer, Artist
Mike Stiers – Graphic Artist, Masotherapist

Click here to read more about the charette outcomes.

Click here to read the recent story published on the front page of the Coshocton Tribune.



Fourth-year architecture students work on capstone project in Pascagoula

February 10th, 2014 Comments Off

MSU Pascagoula Trip_Group Photo_web

submitted photo

The fourth-year School of Architecture studios have partnered with the Mississippi Maritime Museum in Pascagoula for their 2014 capstone project.

The thirty-four architecture students are working on a conceptual vision of how Lowery Island might be developed. The students’ visions include how the Mississippi Maritime Museum might become a part of Lowery Island over the long term.

The visions were shared with the museum’s Board of Directors on Feb. 1 for future consideration along with members of the city of Pascagoula’s Planning Department.

The project is a follow-up to MSU’s earlier visit in January for the suggestions of design and functional use of the Museum’s two facilities on 611 DuPont street in Pascagoula.  The Maritime Museum acquired the old PHS Math & Science building and Band Hall in 2013, and plans are underway to convert these facilities into a Maritime Museum that will reflect the state of Mississippi’s 300 years of maritime history. Read more about this part of the project.

The Museum Board of Directors expressed their appreciation for the applications of ideas from MSU and welcomes their continued input for the future.


School of architecture alumnus, professors author poster accepted to ASC Conference

January 23rd, 2014 Comments Off

School of Architecture Assistant Professors Alexis Gregory, AIA, and Emily McGlohn, along with architecture alumnus and former Building Construction Science faculty member Chris Cosper, had a poster accepted to the 50th International Conference of the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC).

The poster is titled “Teaching Today’s Master Builder:  A Collaborative Studio in Architecture and Construction Management.”

The poster explores the spring 2013 combined architecture-construction management studio at Mississippi State University.  Surveys were given to both groups of students, and the results and recommendations are explored in the poster.

From the abstract’s ‘research impact:’ “Assuming the Architecture-CM studios develop as planned, the integrated studios at MSU may be of interest to other universities who have architecture and construction management programs and wish to address the critical issues surrounding fragmented design and construction practice.”

The 2014 ASC conference will be held from March 26 – 28 in Washington, D.C.


Architecture, landscape architecture students build bridges for Crosby Aboretum

January 21st, 2014 Comments Off

MSU architecture and landscape architecture students stand on the bridges they designed and built for the Crosby Aboretum. (Photo by Pat Dracket via

MSU architecture and landscape architecture students stand on the bridges they designed and built for the Crosby Aboretum. (Photo by Pat Dracket via

Hans Herrmann, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, taught two special topics classes (one in the spring of 2013 and another last fall) along with Department of Landscape Professor Bob Brzuszek.

In the spring, architecture and landscape architecture students worked on designs of bridges for the Crosby Aboretum and presented their designs to the board of the aboretum.

The fall semester class took the previous class’s designs and transformed them into constructable designs that were eventually built and installed. The group ended the semester by constructing two pedestrian bridges at the south edge of the Gum Pond at the Crosby Aboretum.

An article about the project was recently featured in the Picayune Item.

The Crosby Arboretum is a living memorial dedicated to the late L.O. Crosby Jr. Crosby was a prominent forestry figure, civic leader and philanthropist who held a deep compassion for nature. After his death, his family decided to transform the strawberry farm on Ridge Road in Picayune into an interpretive center for native plants of the Pearl River Drainage Basin. The Crosby Arboretum Foundation was established to implement this concept. A series of exhibits were designated to display plant communities typical of Southern Mississippi ecosystems. Construction began in the early 1980s, and the arboretum was dedicated to public use in 1986. In 1997, the Foundation teamed with Mississippi State University so that the Arboretum could expand their resources.

Herrmann has also been invited to help complete the final phase of the exhibit design and installation – a large bride that will form the architectural centerpiece for the exhibit. The work is ongoing and is tentatively planned to be installed in spring 2015, should funding be provided.

Click here to see the design from the spring 2013 class.
Devin Carr, second-year architecture
Michael Davis, fourth-year architecture
Kevin Flores, second-year architecture
Jerry Hill, fourth-year landscape architecture
West Pierce, second-year architecture
Nick Purvis, fourth-year architecture
Cody Smith, second-year architecture

Click here to see the design from the fall 2013 class.
Conner Ansley, second-year architecture
Byron Belle, fourth-year architecture
Devin Carr, third-year architecture
Audrey Duchemin, second-year architecture
Kevin Gehrke, fourth-year landscape architecture
Jerry Hill, fourth-year landscape architecture
Donald Lockett, undeclared major
West Pierce, third-year architecture
Nick Purvis, fifth-year architecture

Jackson Center director has article published in World Health Design

January 14th, 2014 Comments Off

Jassen Callender, associate professor and director of the MSU School of Architecture Jackson Center, had an article he co-authored published in the April 2013 issue of World Health Design.

Callender wrote “From Shopping Mall to Village: Retrofitting the Built Environment for the 21st Century” with fellow Jackson State University colleagues Anthony R. Mawson, MA, DrPH, and Thomas M. Kersen, PhD.

Click here to see the full article.

According to the website, World Health Design is a subscription-based journal with an interdisciplinary readership that includes architects, designers, developers, health scientists, clinicians, health managers, psychologists, economists working within government, academia and business. World Health Design’s mission is to be the leading international authority online and in print, promoting, celebrating and disseminating new knowledge, information and excellence in the field of design and health.

Good year for Baptist Town project leader

January 13th, 2014 Comments Off


The architecture fellow heading the Baptist Town Project said she’s had a productive first year on the job in 2013 despite some major setbacks.

Emily Roush Elliott said she hopes to continue making tangible progress in 2014 while also broadening the scope of her work. She’ll be co-teaching a course at Mississippi State University this coming semester.

Elliott, an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, is co-hosted for her three-year stint in Greenwood by the Greenwood-Leflore-Carroll Economic Development Foundation and the Carl Small Town Center of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State.

Elliott said her first year of the fellowship, awarded by Enterprise Community Partners Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit design company, focused almost exclusively on executing work in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood.

Starting this week, Elliott will be commuting to Starkville as well, where she’ll co-teach a course on community design with Leah Kemp, the assistant director of the Carl Small Town Center. Elliott said the course will focus on giving students real-world experience in using design to improve the quality of life in one Mississippi small town.

The Carl Small Town Center, which focuses on rural design and planning, is named for Fred Carl Jr., the founder and former CEO of Viking Range Corp. Carl endowed the center with a $2.5 million gift in 2003.

Elliott said the CREATE Foundation, a Tupelo-based nonprofit dedicated to regional development in Northeast Mississippi, provides a grant to the Carl Small Town Center to teach the class. This year, CREATE asked Elliott and Kemp to choose a community along the new Tanglefoot Trail, a 43-mile rails-to-trails project.

“We biked the trail, which was super fun, and ended up choosing a town called New Houlka,” Elliott said. “It’s a really small community. I don’t know much about it yet, but they’ve been really receptive to us.”

Over the course of the semester, the students in Elliott’s course will focus on getting to know the residents of New Houlka and creating designs to address their needs. Elliott said that in years past, the end result was usually a book of plans, sketches and blueprints for the town to implement on its own.

Although Elliott said compiling designs will play a role this year, she’s hoping the students get their hands dirty and actually carry out one of their recommendations.

“What we’re doing differently this year is that we’re saying, especially in these really small towns, (a book of plans) is often not enough to get people going,” Elliott said. “What we’re going to try to do is see if we can get a little energy going and hopefully give students a little more hands-on experience. As we’re getting these big ideas, we’re also getting small ideas, and we’re going to pick one and implement it.”

The project the students tackle, Elliott said, might not even fall into what most people consider architectural. It may be something as small as repainting New Houlka’s fire hydrants with a vibrant new design that brings a little life to the town.

Elliott calls that “doing something real,” a mantra she’s also brought to her work on the Baptist Town Project. Elliott said the Economic Development Foundation has had a master plan, produced by the Carl Small Town Center, on file since 2010 but hadn’t made many steps toward turning those lofty ideas into tangible results.

When she came on board at the beginning of the year, Elliott soon learned that the grant funding for the project, provided by the Foundation for the Mid-South, was set to expire in July 2013.

“I started Jan. 1 thinking I was going to do new housing, rehab housing, build a community center, parks, entryways and infrastructure over my three years,” Elliott said. “It turned out all the funding I’d gotten for that was over the first six months.”

Elliott said she realized she’d have to focus all her energies on completing one aspect of the project and quickly zeroed in on using donated Katrina cottages as affordable housing units in the historic but largely impoverished neighborhood in Greenwood.

Elliott said it was extremely difficult when a number of setbacks, including the failure of a bill in the Legislature to allow the city of Greenwood to donate the cottages, resulted in the Economic Development Foundation losing the grant and the project being delayed.

Elliott didn’t give up on the cottages project and continues to work toward getting it back on track. She said, however, the last thing she wanted to do was sit around and do nothing after that idea hit roadblocks.

So she set to work and has been busy building new sidewalks and putting up new street signs and neighborhood entrance markers in Baptist Town. Five MSU architecture students came to Greenwood in May.

Working with Brantley Snipes, a landscape architect and the executive director of Main Street Greenwood, they designed and built a small “pocket park” at the corner of McCain Street and Stevens Avenue. In October, volunteers from GE Capital built a new playground in a park on Avenue A that Elliott planned with extensive input from neighborhood children.

“We got a lot accomplished,” Elliott said. “There are some very visible signs of progress that continue to happen in Baptist Town.”

As her fellowship continues, Elliott said she hopes to effect further improvements in Baptist Town but also broaden the focus of her work. Working with the Carl Small Town Center, Elliott would like to look at projects in other areas of South Greenwood, to work with other towns in the state facing similar issues and possibly even partner with state agencies to improve the design of low-income housing developments.

“A lot of people think being a good-looking place is just about aesthetics, but, especially at a neighborhood or city scale, it’s a lot more than that,” Elliott said. “It’s about inspiring people to spend their money there, buy houses there or live there at all.”

Architecture students, faculty, alumni to help transform school into naval museum

January 9th, 2014 Comments Off

MSU architecture assistant professor Jacob Gines (left) discusses the project as David Perkes, director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, looks on. (photo from Mississippi Press website)

MSU architecture assistant professor Jacob Gines (left) discusses the project as David Perkes, director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, looks on. (photo from Mississippi Press website)

Watch the video on WLOX.

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – The Mississippi Maritime Museum Group is getting some help transforming the old Pascagoula High School into a naval history museum.

The old building may not look like a museum now, but that will soon change. Mississippi State University architecture professors and students have teamed up with Mississippi Maritime Museum Group to breathe new life into this place.

“We are having the beginning of a Charette from Mississippi State School of Architecture,” said Museum Vice President Jack Hoover.

“The Charette means that they are coming in here and they will study this building as far as the best usage, plans and future development.”

During the two day trip, the MSU group will meet with maritime museum and city leaders to get insight on what they want to see developed here.

“It is a combination of looking at the kind of museum and what they need and also make into a great project for students,” said David Perkes, Director of MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.

Museum board member Robert Hardy also has some suggestions for the naval center.

“I think our primary focus is to build this museum as an educational tool and opportunity to gather and preserve artifacts,” said Hardy.

“We have a 300 year heritage going back to 1699 with maritime development on the Pascagoula River. Today, 85 percent of U.S. Navy warships that are active in the Navy were built here at Ingalls.”

MSU student John Taylor Schaffhauser of Canton said creating an action plan should be easy because there is potential in every room of this structure.

“It has some really good bones and when I walked in, I was immediately amazed how well lit it is. The natural light pouring in, it is feels how school should feel. The walls are thick and they’re honest. Yes, it really has some great potential,” Schaffhauser said.

Thursday afternoon, the MSU staff and students will present and discuss the details and visuals for the new Museum with city leaders and the maritime board. The meeting will be held at the Chamber of Commerce building in Pascagoula.

Read the story and see the video by the Mississippi Press.

Architecture professor has paper accepted to international conference

December 10th, 2013 Comments Off

Alexis Gregory, AIA, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, recently had a paper, “Re-thinking Design Studio Pedagogy:
Collaboration Between Architecture and the Allied Disciplines,” accepted for presentation at the ARCC/EAAE 2014 International
Conference.  The conference will be held on Feb. 12–15, 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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