CAAD research centers receive AIA/MS 2014 Design Awards

November 6th, 2014 Comments Off

web 24-Women in Construction Training Center copy

Women in Construction Training Center (GCCDS)

23- Baptist Town_Disk Three_Image

Baptist Town Master Plan (CSTC)

On October 16, the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Mississippi) hosted a Design Awards Celebration in Jackson to honor recipients of its Design Awards and Member Awards, as well as newly licensed architects, landscape architects and interior designers in the state.

The two research centers housed in Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art and Design both were honored at the event.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (GCCDS) received an Honor Award in the Architecture/New Construction category for the Women in Construction Training Center for the Moore Community House.

Women in Construction is an organization that trains and assists women to get jobs in construction-related fields. Over the years Women in Construction has been a partner with the GCCDS on many projects for homeowners and for the community.

David Perkes, director of the GCCDS said, “It was especially rewarding to work with them to create a work space that embodies their ‘can-do’ culture. Building the project was as important as getting it built, and the completed building is a testament of the capability of the women students, staff and volunteers.”

The Carl Small Town Center (CSTC) received a Citation Award in the Master Planning and Urban Design Category for the Baptist Town Master Plan for the Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation.

“The award for the Baptist Town Master Plan reaffirms the longterm effort the CSTC has made in its commitment to Greenwood and the Baptist Town neighborhood,” said Leah Kemp, assistant director of the CSTC. “We are starting to see these master plan elements come to life as recent housing has been installed and the community center is under renovation.”

“It is a testament to the School of Architecture’s commitment to ‘community design’ and ‘social justice’ when our research centers are recognized for their amazing outreach work with Design Awards from the AIA Mississippi Chapter,” said Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Professor and director of the School of Architecture. “The work that our centers produce is nothing short of heroic — and the impacts to the communities will be felt for generations.”

The AIA Mississippi Design Awards program is part of the annual program of events, Mississippi Celebrates Architecture, presented by AIA Mississippi. The goal of the program, which also features an Educational Symposium and a Public Outreach and Exhibition, is to promote and celebrate the role of architecture in Mississippi’s culture. The Design Awards program further seeks to encourages design excellence and elevate the quality of architecture and design in the state by recognizing and honoring members’ works of distinction.

Read the story on the MSU website.


Several alumni and friends of the School of Architecture were also honored at the event. See the full list of AIA/MS 2014 Design Awards below.

Honor Awards:
Albert & Associates Architects, P.A.
Charnley-Norwood House Restoration
Mississippi Dept. of Marine Resources
& Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History

• Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons Architects & Engineers, PA
(Architecture/New Construction)
Puckett Machinery Headquarters
Hastings Puckett

• Gulf Coast Community Design Studio
(Architecture/New Construction)
Women in Construction Training Center
Moore Community House

Merit Awards:
JBHM Architecture
(Architecture/New Construction)
Tupelo Aquatics Center
City of Tupelo

• Duvall Decker Architects, P.A.
James H. White Library Renovation
Mississippi Valley State University
Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management
State of Mississippi

• Duvall Decker Architects, P.A.
Mississippi Dept. of Information Technology Services
Cooperative Data Center
Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management
State of Mississippi

• unabridged Architecture

(Architecture/New Construction)
Waveland Business Center
City of Waveland

• WFT Architects, P.A.
Rehabilitation of the Medgar Evers House Museum
Tougaloo College

• WFT Architects, P.A.
Exterior Rehabilitation of the John W. Boddie House
(The Mansion), Phase II
Tougaloo College

• Carl Small Town Center
(Master Planning Urban Design)
Baptist Town Master Plan
Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation

• Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
(Architecture/New Construction)
Delta Blues Museum Muddy Waters Addition
Delta Blues Museum

Spring Collaborative Studio holds midterm review

March 6th, 2014 Comments Off

Photo by Alexis Gregory

Photo by Alexis Gregory


By Alexis Gregory

The Third-Year Collaborative Studio conducted their midterm presentation on the design of a new fire station in Caledonia for the Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Department on Wed., March 5, in the Michael Fazio Jury Room in Giles Hall.

Twelve student teams composed of students from the School of Architecture and the Building Construction Science Program presented their work to a collection of volunteer fire fighters, professional architects, professional constructors and faculty from both departments.

Guest reviewers included John Beard and Dale Riser from Beard + Riser Architects in Greenwood; Ryan Florreich from JBHM Architects PA in Jackson;  Michael Grote from the MSU Gulf Coast Community Design Studio; Dan Whatley, construction administrator at MSU; and Tim Younger and Sammy Fondren from the Lowndes County Fire Service.

The Third-Year Collaborative Studio will present their final work on Wed., April 30 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Giles Hall Gallery.

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.

Architectural processes addressed in report by architecture professor, others

October 28th, 2013 Comments Off

David Perkes

David Perkes

By Leah Barbour | MSU Office of Public Affairs

The more they get together, the happier architects and their public-service clients will be, according a new report co-written by a Mississippi State University architecture professor.

David Perkes, director of MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, is one of four authors who recently released “Wisdom from the Field: Public Interest Architecture in Practice: A Guide to Public Interest Practices in Architecture.” The study is a result of a $100,000 Latrobe Prize awarded to the group by the American Institute of Architects in 2011.

Based on detailed interviews with 50 organizations from Washington state to Rhode Island, Perkes’ section, “The Partners’ Perspective,” highlights ways architects can apply public interest practices to achieve the practical needs of organizations.

Though geared toward architects, interns and students, the full report also may be beneficial to community developers, municipal officers, funding entities and non-profit organizations, among others, Perkes said.

“Public interest work doesn’t happen without partners, and I chose to develop the partner section of the report because I knew that I could highlight the value of collaboration,” he said. “I have a good understanding of the importance of partners from our own work in the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, as well as work the College of Architecture, Art and Design has been doing for years in the Carl Small Town Center.”

Established in response to 2005’s massive Hurricane Katrina, MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is a professional service and outreach program of the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design. It, like the Carl Small Town Center, provides design services, landscape and planning assistance, and educational opportunities and research to organizations and communities. For more, visit and

Perkes said his research suggests six major consistencies that foster positive working relationships between architects and public service organizations. They include practical knowledge of the partner’s work, design expertise that advances the partner’s mission, a flexible practice approach, community design skills, effective collaboration and community commitment.

“I identified some practical skills that an architect can focus on to be successful at public interest work, and I certainly learned a lot and found specific examples that I have been able to use to teach architects about how they can be more useful to partners,” he said.

In putting together so comprehensive a document, Perkes credited the expertise and hard work of his three colleagues. They include Roberta M. Feldman, University of Illinois at Chicago professor; Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University in Oregon; and Bryan Bell, executive director of the Raleigh, N.C-based Design Corps.

Perkes also expressed appreciation for support provided by the AIA, and the research team continues working together to create other publications for the national organization.

“We have hundreds of hours of interview information, of which we were only able to use a fraction in the AIA report,” Perkes said. “As a team, we see our research as the beginning of an archive of case studies of key practices that are setting the direction of public interest work.

“We expect to continue to take a role to promote and educate around this topic,” he said.

The full report is available at

GCCDS planner discusses Katrina recovery on MPB

August 29th, 2013 Comments Off

Hurricane Katrina damage in Gulfport, Mississippi. Photo from

Hurricane Katrina damage in Gulfport, Mississippi. Photo from

Today is the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The monster storm caused $90 billion of damage throughout Mississippi. Some 52,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged on the Gulf Coast on that single day in 2005. Eight years later, signs of recovery in Mississippi are apparent from repaired and rebuilt schools to museums and homes.

Cheryl Wintzel describes some of the services offered to the homeless here at Back Bay Mission in Biloxi.

Wintzel and her fiancé are homeless now, living in their car and visit the mission four times a week for showers, food, and to look for work on the computers here. This wasn’t how she lived before Hurricane Katrina upended the economy on the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Unemployment leaped to 22 percent the month after the storm. It’s now about 8 percent, and Wintzel is still struggling to find steady work.

“It’s just like I can’t get a toe-hold, all that’s kind of at a standstill, it’s gone downhill financially and here I am,” says Wintzel.

Jill Cartledge is  a caseworker at Back Bay Mission. She says disruptions in jobs on top of unexpected rebuilding and moving costs after Katrina has led to a cycle of debt for many families on the Gulf Coast.

“Some of my families have just never gotten out from under since Katrina, and then there was the BP oil spill and many stuggled from that.  So there have just be so many things that have happened to the people on the Gulf Coast, some are Gulf Coast only oriented and others are national like our economy,” says Cartledge.

More than $2 billion dollars has been spent to restore and rebuild housing in Mississippi since Katrina. Most local community leaders agree there is now plenty of housing on the coast, with vacancy rates in the double-digits. But, they say, much of this housing isn’t affordable to the people who need it. Waiting lists for subsidized housing number in the thousands. But Cheryl Wintzel says it’s still a tough situation.

“Unless you can get in Section 8, if you can get in Biloxi housing based on your income, whatever it is, if you have to go out and pay full price on rent or a house payment, if you don’t have the money, the income coming in to pay it, you’re not going to be able to stay in it, you’re going to be right back out there, back and forth, homeless and in and unfortunately that is what has happened to me and my fiance,” continues Wintzel.

According to an analysis by the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, almost half of renters and a third of home owners on the coast are cost burdened – that is, they’re paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing.  Planner Kelsey Johnson says the question isn’t whether there’s as much housing now but whether the housing there is fits the coast’s current needs.

“If you probably look at the numbers, it’s probably pretty close, our housing has come back and we definitely have enough, I would say enough housing stock the question is, ‘Is it in the right place?’ and ‘Are people able to access that housing?’,” says Johnson.

Johnson says a number of factors have affected affordability: it costs more to build elevated homes, and homeowners insurance is expensive. But while wind premiums seem to have stabilized, Gulf Coast communities  are now facing the specter of skyrocketing flood insurance costs.

Diane Sager and her mother Bo are speaking to federal and state leaders, including the head of the national flood insurance program, while standing under their Henderson Point home. The house perches more than 18 feet above sea level. The Sagers built the home in 2008 at an elevation that they say was higher than even required at the time.

But new flood maps implemented the following year lifted the elevation requirement even higher. They’ve been grandfathered in for flood insurance, but a new law says they will now lose that grandfathering status the next time the area is mapped.

“I’m going from $500 to almost $7000 in flood insurance that’s totally out the wall it’s unbelievable, either grandfather us in because I did everything right so as a citizen I’m being punished for having done everything right, doesn’t make sense,” says Sager.

Diane’s parents, Bo and Jim, both in their 80s, are on fixed incomes. Bo tells the gathered officials that she’s had flood insurance since the 1970s and can’t imagine losing it.

“We need some kind of resolution so that we can rest better, at the age we’ve reached and we don’t rest because we don’t know what’s going to happen with this hurricane season,” says Bo.  “I never worried about hurricanes before, I’m used to hurricanes and I know how to avoid them and what to do but what happens now if we lose this with no insurance, I don’t know what we’ll do.”

Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott says the soaring flood insurance rates, which are already hitting second homes, could devastate beach communities like his, ruining property values.

“Wind coverage was bad, we knew that and all the people that are in the insurance business all said ‘If you can just go 8, 10, 12 years, it will settle down,’ so we live with that whether it does or not, you throw this flood in there, you just killed it, it’s over with,” says McDermott.

There are a number of efforts in Congress now to delay implementation of parts of the bill for one year, and Mississippi 4th District Congressman Steven Palazzo says he thinks there’s an appetite among lawmakers for finding a long-term solution as well.

GCCDS, partners make up one of 10 team finalists in HUD-sponsored design competition

August 22nd, 2013 Comments Off

Inside the GCCDS in Biloxi

Inside the GCCDS in Biloxi

Numerous design competitions that focus on storm-resistant changes and developments have surfaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. One of the larger competitions sponsored by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rebuild by Design, is a project in which teams are working to develop innovative projects to protect and enhance Sandy-affected communities. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, launched the competition on June 20, 2013, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation.

On Aug. 9 the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force announced the selection of 10 design teams who will proceed to the next stage of the competition.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (GCCDS), one of three research centers housed in the College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University, makes up one of the top-10 teams. The GCCDS was established in 2005 to bring planning, landscape and architectural design services to low-income communities rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. The GCCDS, located in Biloxi, is a service-design practice shaped by a commitment to be useful to the community and to collaborate with many partners.

“We are pleased to be able to bring some of the lessons learned from working with communities on the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina,” said David Perkes, director of the GCCDS. “We have been fortunate to be part of many projects that aim to increase resiliency as our work and the work of our partners has evolved from rebuilding to long-term community improvements.”

Other members on the team include unabridged Architecture, an architecture firm in Bay St. Louis, and Waggonner & Ball Architects out of New Orleans, La.

“The selection of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio as part of one of the top 10 design teams from such a robust and well-recognized group of entrants is a further recognition of the quality and depth of work the GCCDS has performed since Hurricane Katrina,” said Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. “The expertise the GCCDS and their partners have demonstrated that covers such a wide gamut including individual housing designs, new construction techniques for flood prone areas and sustainable communities was recognized and helped distinguish their team in this international competition.”

More than 140 potential teams from more than 15 countries submitted proposals, representing the top engineering, architecture, design, landscape architecture and planning firms as well as research institutes and universities worldwide. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation and JPB Foundation as well as the New Jersey Recovery Fund and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, these 10 chosen design teams will participate in Stage Two of the competition, an intense, eight-month process broken into two distinct stages: analysis and design. Each team will have $100,000 in funding for this stage of the project.

“The ten teams we selected stood out because of the talent they bring to the table, their pioneering ideas and their commitment to innovating with a purpose and competing not just to design but to build something,” said Donovan. “The projects that come out of this competition will save lives and protect communities in this region and – as the Task Force will emphasize in the Rebuilding Strategy to be released in the coming weeks – serve as model as we prepare communities across the country for the impacts of a changing climate.”

The team selections mark the beginning of the second of four phases of the design competition, which will ultimately result in resilience projects that will be built or implemented in communities in the Sandy-impacted region.

Top 10 Design Teams:
• Interboro Partners with the New Jersey Institute of Technology Infrastructure Planning Program; TU Delft; Project Projects; RFA Investments; IMG Rebel; Center for Urban Pedagogy; David Rusk; Apex; Deltares; Bosch Slabbers; H+N+S; and Palmbout Urban Landscapes.

• PennDesign/OLIN with PennPraxis, Buro Happold, HR&A Advisors, and E-Design Dynamics

• WXY architecture + urban design / West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture with ARCADIS Engineering and the Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers University; Maxine Griffith; Parsons the New School for Design; Duke University; BJH Advisors; and Mary Edna Fraser.

• Office of Metropolitan Architecture with Royal Haskoning DHV; Balmori Associaties; R/GA; and HR&A Advisors.

• HR&A Advisors with Cooper, Robertson, & Partners; Grimshaw; Langan Engineering; W Architecture; Hargreaves Associates; Alamo Architects; Urban Green Council; Ironstate Development; Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation; New City America.

• SCAPE with Parsons Brinckerhoff; SeARC Ecological Consulting; Ocean and Coastal Consultants; The New York Harbor School; Phil Orton/Stevens Institute; Paul Greenberg; LOT-EK; and MTWTF.

• MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Dutch Delta Collective by ZUS with De Urbanisten; Deltares; 75B; and Volker Infra Design.

• Sasaki Associates with Rutgers University and ARUP.

• Bjarke Ingels Group with One Architecture; Starr Whitehouse; James Lima Planning & Development; Green Shield Ecology; Buro Happold; AEA Consulting; and Project Projects.

• unabridged Architecture with the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in the College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University; Waggonner & Ball Architects

More information on Rebuild By Design is available at You can also follow Rebuild By Design on Twitter at @RebuildByDesign.

Read the story on MSU‘s website and WCBI.

Research center director part of team receiving $100,000 research grant

July 25th, 2013 Comments Off

(By Kenneth Billings | MSU)

David Perkes

David Perkes

A member of the Mississippi State architecture faculty is part of a four-person team receiving the American Institute of Architecture’s prestigious Latrobe Prize.

The $100,000 research grant this year is going to associate professor David Perkes, director of the university’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi; Bryan Bell, executive director of Design Corps; University of Illinois at Chicago professor Roberta Feldman; and Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University.

The honor recognizes their proposal, titled “Public Interest Practice in Architecture.” The team will “investigate the needs that can be addressed by public interest practices and the variety of ways that public interest practices are operating.”

Perkes has led the Harrison County studio since 2005, when it was established to provide architectural design and planning services, and leadership to Mississippi coastal communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Perkes said their research will focus on three questions: what are needs that may be addressed by public interest practices; how current public interest practices are operating; and what is necessary for public interest work to become a significant segment of architectural practice?

“Our research will benefit the public, in part, from the knowledge gained about the public’s needs and the effectiveness of architectural practice to address those needs from the surveys and interviews,” Perkes said. “Our objectives overall are intended to strengthen existing practices and to provide guidance for the development of a public interest component for a significant segment of architectural practice.”

The grant, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. (For more on the AIA, visit

Read the guide,“Wisdom from the Field: Public Interest Architecture in Practice,” co-authored by Perkes.

Read the article by Archinect News.

Dean Jim West featured in Starkville Daily News

April 30th, 2013 Comments Off

Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, gave a presentation on the college’s statewide impact at the Starkville Rotary Club on Monday, April 29 at the Starkville Country Club.

Click to read the article by Steven Nalley in the Starkville Daily News from April 30.

AIA MS 2012 Design Awards announced

July 12th, 2012 Comments Off

The AIA Mississippi 2012 Convention was held in Destin, Florida, from July 6 through July 9, 2012.

The highest award a firm can receive is the Honor Award, followed by the Merit and Citation Awards. A seventh award, the Sambo Mockbee Membership Award, is an award voted upon by the AIA Membership and presented at the convention.

The School of Architecture was well represented. Congratulations to all the award winners.

» Read the rest of this entry «

White House to Honor David Perkes as “Champion of Change”

July 15th, 2011 Comments Off

From:  7/13/11

Biloxi resident David Perkes will be honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” on Tuesday, July 19 for his work to strengthen the local economy, create jobs and help the Gulf Coast recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The White House Champions of Change initiative profiles Americans from all walks of life who are helping the country rise to the challenges of the 21st century. These Champions of Change are doing extraordinary things in their communities to innovate, educate and build a better America. For more on the Champions of Change initiative, please visit

Perkes is the founding director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio which was established after Hurricane Katrina to provide planning and architectural design support for a number of affordable and sustainable housing initiatives. He is a professional architect and an Associate Professor at Mississippi State University. Perkes will meet with White House officials to discuss his work and identify ways the federal government might be able to help him expand his efforts.

The Clean Economy Development Center (CEDC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping local public officials and community leaders execute clean energy projects and create jobs of the future. CEDC has been working with Perkes through its Gulf Coast Sustainable Economies project, which is helping leaders like him develop community-based projects that encourage sustainable economic development and recovery.

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