Architecture, building construction science students establish a national model for academic collaboration

November 18th, 2014 Comments Off

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Broyles visit the Collaborative Studio in Giles Hall to view models and full-scale mock-ups of the golf course facilities being designed and built by architecture and building construction science students. Photo by Megan Bean | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Broyles visit the Collaborative Studio in Giles Hall to view models and full-scale mock-ups of the golf course facilities being designed and built by architecture and building construction science students. Photo by Megan Bean | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art and Design is paving the way nationally when it comes to collaboration between the fields of construction and architecture.

In the fall, CAAD’s second-year architecture and building construction science studios come together to form a joint Collaborative Studio, where students are challenged to bring knowledge from their two disciplines together.

Assistant Professor of architecture Emily McGlohn, coordinator for the studio, explained that buildings are becoming more and more complex and require construction and architecture professionals to work together – what is referred to in the industry as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).

“The students are learning the earlier the constructors and architects come together in the design process, the better the building will be and the less headaches they will encounter along the way.”

Each year, students in this studio are challenged to work together to design and construct a full-scale product from start to finish for a real client. Last year’s fall Collaborative Studio constructed two bus shelters for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. This year, students are working on two lighting shelters for the MSU Golf Course.

“Every class gets a chance to do a project like this,” said Associate Professor of architecture Hans Herrmann. “That’s rare,” he said, going on to explain how important hands-on learning is for students. “The reality of making is different from drawing. Gravity becomes a reality for them,” he laughed.

And the students have, in fact, dealt with their fair share of challenges, both with learning how to work together and actually building something they have designed.

“This is a pretty intense, hands-on learning experience for them,” said building construction science instructor Lee Carson, who said that students are learning “the idea of drawing with materials.”

This year’s project includes two separate shelters with restrooms for the golf course – one with cypress wall panels as an exterior skin and the other with a concrete skin. Both facilities will have cisterns to capture rainwater that will be used to flush the toilets.

After working on individual, small-scale designs, the 49 students split into four teams to tackle designing and building the two facilities in pieces – a wood wall panel team, a concrete wall panel team, a roof truss team and a concrete wall cistern team. This teamwork has allowed for a peer-review atmosphere, which has resulted in improved quality of design and construction.

“The students’ work has continued to impress us,” said Bill Broyles, interim vice for student affairs, who has been consulting with the group from the start.

Construction began on site with the pouring of the foundation in late September. Students are currently working on the formwork for the cistern wall while the other teams are fabricating their components off site. Construction on both buildings is set to be finished by the end of the month.

The project will wrap up with a final review on Dec. 1, where students will explain the design and construction process. A ribbon cutting ceremony and reception – open to the MSU community – will be held on the golf course in the spring.

“The students are really excited to have an investment on campus,” said Herrmann. “And we are grateful to have a project to work on,” added Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Professor and director of the School of Architecture.

According to Jim West, the college’s dean, CAAD is the only college in the country where the entire group of construction and architecture students from one year-level come together in a joint studio.

“MSU is truly reframing innovative architecture and construction education,” said the new director of the Building Construction Science Program Craig Capano, Ph.D., and Roy Anderson Professor.

“For our students, the idea of IPD and project collaboration is going to be a familiar concept,” added Berk.

“And we are setting a standard we feel will be modeled in the years to come across the country,” finished West.

School of Architecture alumna featured in MS Business Journal

November 13th, 2014 Comments Off

Ann Somers helps review 4th-year students' projects after the March 2013 Advisory Council Meeting.

Ann Somers helps review 4th-year students’ projects after the March 2013 Advisory Council Meeting.

Ann Somers, a member of the School of Architecture Advisory Council and a 1981 alumna, was recently featured in the Mississippi Business Journal.

Ann Somers enjoys her career because of variety of projects and the people she meets
by Lynn Lofton

While growing up in Byram, Ann Somers loved putting thing together, such as puzzles, model cars and ships and fantasy Barbie kingdoms. That interest in building things led to a career in architecture, something she learned about as an eighth-grader.

“I knew that was what I wanted to do,” Somers recalls. “Up to that point I did not like school and was an average student. Once I understood I needed to have a good grade point average to get into architecture school, I stepped it up and became a good student. The other thought with architecture was that I could branch into interior design or site design with an architecture degree.”

All of her first 12 years of school were spent in Byram where she graduated with around 30 class members; some were together all 12 years. She grew up in a rural home with plenty of pets and animals. Her grandparents lived next door, and Somers played outside all the time. “There were very few kids my age around so I entertained myself,” she said.

She remembers her father, who died when she was 10 years of age, as fun to be with and involving her in whatever he was doing, which was mainly farming and selling vegetables to local stores and restaurants. “My mother was a registered nurse who taught nursing most of her career and ended her career teaching hospital staff how to teach patients about their medical issues, so they could stay well,” Somers said. “She was very early in the wellness movement, a great role model for me and extremely supportive.”

After graduation from the Mississippi State University School of Architecture, Somers, 56, spent time working in New York City and Savannah, Ga.; experiences she feels gave her a good background for returning to her home state to work in her profession. In 2003 she was chosen the Alumna of the Year for the MSU School of Architecture.

Now a partner in the Jackson firm of Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons, Somers enjoys the continual learning of being an architect. “It is never boring. Every project type has a learning curve, and building materials and systems are ever changing,” she says. “Plus there are new people you get to know with each new project.”

Although Somers has worked on many high-profile projects, she has difficulty choosing one single project of which she’s the most proud. “That’s a hard question because I love all our buildings. They’re a little like children I birthed into the world. But to pick just one building, it would be the Mississippi Department of Archives and History building.”

As a dream project, Somers is currently thinking a lot about what makes the perfect retirement living situation. “I would love to design a retirement village where you can age gracefully and happily  in place,” she said.

As a long time member of the Sierra Club, Somers is vitally interested in architecture that’s environmentally friendly and sees some changes coming to Mississippi in that regard. “Mississippi is getting better and it’s partially due to a national movement started through USGBC (United States Green Building Council) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to work toward sustainability and create healthier environments,” she said. “The USGBC website is a great resource for project owners to see what is possible. As owners are educated and excited by what is possible in building, greater changes will be made. In the meantime, architects, engineers and contractors are making a difference through smart design, efficient systems design and construction waste reduction.”

When not working, Somers volunteers with Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, which she also serves as a board member, and Rankin County Animal Adoption foundation. “Metro Jackson has a terrible problem with unwanted pets,” she said. “The local government is euthanizing about 15,000 pets annually, which is 288 per week. We do not have a culture of spaying and neutering our pets, so along with adoption promotion, I am involved with spay and neuter public education.”

She and husband Jim Somers, a landscape architect who recently retired, live in Jackson and have four dogs and a cat — “all of which are beautiful, sweet and perfect.” The couple is committed to making Jackson a great place to live. “We help by promoting and participating in music, art, and community events,” she said.

School of Architecture, Building Construction Science to host ‘Integrated Project Delivery Theater’

November 5th, 2014 Comments Off

Vignette Diagram

(Via the ACSA website)

Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture and Building Construction Science Program, in cooperation with the Architecture and Construction Alliance (A+CA) announce the Integrated Project Delivery Theater. This interactive symposium is designed to introduce the exciting but complex world of Integrated Practice.

The two-day symposium features the project team responsible for the commission, design and construction of the New Orleans Bio Innovation Center, a LEED Gold building. Featured presenters include Jose Alvarez, AIA, LEED AP, Project Architect and Principle with the 2014 AIA Firm of the Year Eskew+Dumez+Ripple; Kevin N. Overton, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Project Manager for Turner Construction Company; and Brian Bozeman, LEED AP, Executive Director ADAMS, (client’s representative) for the New Orleans Bio Innovation Center.

Coupled with this dynamic project team, integrated practice educators Assistant Professor Michele M. Herrmann, Esq.; Assistant Professor Emily M. McGlohn, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP; and Associate Professor Hans C. Herrmann, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc., will offer an exceptional educational opportunity. The unique interactive theater-like presentation includes problem-based learning activities and illustrative visual and verbal presentations designed to generate synthetic comprehension of IPD.

The A+CA, through its generous sponsorship, has enabled the MSU faculty to develop this special event. As a critical component to the symposium’s success, the A+CA and MSU School of Architecture and Building Construction Science Program invite students and faculty members from all programs of study engaged in Integrated Project Delivery to attend.

The free symposium will be held in Giles Hall on the MSU campus in charming Starkville, MS.

For more information on the participating practitioners and MSU faculty presenters please visit:

Symposium Date: January 29–30, 2015
Location: School of Architecture
Giles Hall, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762
Local Accommodations: Hotel Chester, Downtown Starkville, MS

MSU School of Architecture curates coast exhibit

November 3rd, 2014 Comments Off

photo by David Lewis

photo by David Lewis

(Via David Lewis)

A continuation and expansion of the “Modern Mississippi” exhibit will be on display through the end of December at the Charnley-Norwood House in Ocean Springs.

The exhibit was curated and photographed by MSU School of Architecture students Landon Kennedy and David Lewis with the help of Assistant Professor Jacob Gines, faculty coordinator and photographer; student Mary Sanders, photographer; and student Casey Walker photographer.

“The Charnley-Norwood House was designed by Louis Sullivan,” said Lewis. “At the time, Frank Llyod Wright worked for Sullivan and is believed to have worked on the house. It was recently restored after being extremely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.”

The renovation/restoration project by Albert & Associates Architects P.A. recently received an Honor Award from the Mississippi AIA.

School of Architecture announces fall 2014 Jury Review schedule

October 31st, 2014 Comments Off

Please call the main office at 662-325-2202 to confirm exact times and dates prior to attending.

First-Year Studio:

Mon., Nov. 24 (Giles Hall, Starkville)
Coordinator: Assistant Professor Andrew Tripp
“The first semester of the first year is dedicated to the study of space and its representation in perception and architectural models and drawings.  Each student has completed a three-dimensional project called “Composition-Around-A-Void” in which they used a selection of given architectural members (columns, planes and vaults) to establish an ordered relationship between a “figurative void-space” and a larger “field-space.” This project is a vehicle for teaching the architectural conventions of descriptive drawing (including orthometric, axonometric and perspective projections), but drawing is also engaged as a place of invention and conjecture.”

Second-Year (Collaborative Studio with Building Construction Science):

Mon., Dec. 1 (Giles Hall, Starkville)
Coordinator: Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn
“In Collaborative Studio I, the second-year architecture and building construction science studios are working together to design and construct two restroom facilities on MSU’s Golf Course. The final review will be held in Giles Hall in the morning, where students will present their design work for the facilities. A ribbon cutting ceremony and reception will be at held to celebrate the completion of the project in the spring.

Third-Year Studio:

Tues., Nov. 25 (Giles Hall, Starkville)
Coordinator: Assistant Professor Justin Taylor
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.

Fourth-Year Studio:

Tuesday, Dec. 2 (Giles Hall, Starkville)
Coordinator: Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory
“Gregory’s fourth-year students are designing a mixed-use building based on functional symbiosis that includes a local micro-brewery, Sweetgum Brewing, and a local baker, DeRego’s Bread. Additional programmatic elements include a community garden and community space. Functional symbiosis is the sharing of building waste to prevent it from being placed into landfills. The waste water from the brewery is used by the community garden, and the spent grain from the brewing process is being used by both the bakery and the community garden. Community symbiosis is being achieved by the sharing of the products from the building with the community, as well as educating the community on the functional symbiosis in the building. Students can add any more programs that they feel are needed to enhance this community symbiosis. The project site is at the corner of Jackson Street and Lampkin Street in downtown Starkville. The studio is being funded by Build Ivywild’s James Fennell and Keith Findley, both MSU alumni.”

Assistant Professor Jake Gines’ studio has worked on proposals for the college for a connector building between Howell and Giles that would house the dean’s offices and other college services, bringing all the units of the college into a mini fine arts campus.

Fifth-Year Studio:

Thurs., Dec. 4 – Fri., Dec. 5 (Stuart C. Irby Jr. Studios, 509 East Capitol Street, Jackson; 601.354.6480)
Coordinator: Associate Professor Jassen Callender, Jackson Center director
“Fifth-year students were asked to re-conceive the future patterns of mid-size American cities, and Jackson in particular, in light of environmental and economic challenges. These thoughts have been made manifest at various scales, from master planning 14 blocks of downtown for the year 2100 to designing individual buildings within that plan.

Thomas to lead fundraising for College of Architecture, Art and Design

July 15th, 2014 Comments Off

2014_07_15__2014_07_15_132534Via Amy Cagle | MSU Foundation

Perry King “P.K.” Thomas is the new director of development for Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Thomas officially assumed the position Tuesday [July 15]. He succeeds Nathan Moore, who recently became director of corporate and foundation relations for the MSU Foundation.

“In his new role, P.K’s. knowledge and previous fundraising experience with Mississippi State will prove invaluable as he provides philanthropy leadership within this major academic unit,” said Jack McCarty, the foundation’s executive director of development.

A Tupelo native and Mississippi State alumnus, Thomas joined the university’s fundraising staff in 2010 as assistant director of development for the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. Prior to that, he was a district executive for Yocona Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and served two years as an MSU admissions counselor.

His two MSU degrees include a 2003 bachelor’s in communication and a 2008 master’s in physical education and sport administration.

The College of Architecture, Art and Design includes the School of Architecture and three research centers (the Carl Small Town Center, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and Design Research Informatics Lab), along with the Department of Art, the Interior Design Program and the Building Construction Science Program.

The School of Architecture is the only accredited program in the state.

For more information on MSU’s fundraising activities, visit

National AIA leaders tour the School of Architecture

June 4th, 2014 Comments Off

On Memorial Day weekend, F.L Crane Professor and School of Architecture Director Michael Berk spent the afternoon touring top leadership of the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) around Giles Hall.

The tour had a special focus on the current gallery exhibition, which includes select student work from the spring semester.

The following delegation were a part of the tour: Jeff Potter, FAIA (Dallas, Texas), and Mickey Jacob, FAIA (Tampa, Fla.), both former national presidents of the AIA. Accompanying them was Robert Ivy, FAIA, executive vice president and CEO and a member of the school’s Advisory Council. Also attending were Shelly Potter, landscape architect, and Diane Jacobs, interior designer.

Both Porter and Jacob were presented a copy of BARNworks, a compilation of student work.  All were invited to a dinner engagement and discussion at Ivy’s home in Columbus later that evening.

MSU School of Architecture presents scholarships

May 28th, 2014 Comments Off

Via MSU Public Affairs

Nearly 20 Mississippi State students representing Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee, along with one from Russia, are receiving School of Architecture scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year.

Part of the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, the school offers the only program leading to a professional architecture degree in the Magnolia State. Its curriculum is designed to emphasize independent thinking within an ethical framework to inform and challenge the contemporary practice of architecture.

The new scholars included (by hometown):

ALABASTER, Ala.–Junior Yerix R. Morel Jr., receiving the $2,000 Duvall Decker Minority Travel Scholarship. He is a Thompson High School graduate and the son of Yerix Morel Sr. and Carole Morel.

BRANDON–Senior Jonathan T. Greer, receiving the $1,350 Mockbee Hall and Drake Scholarship. He is a Brandon High School graduate and the son of James and Deborah Greer.

CANTON–Senior John Taylor Schaffhauser, receiving the $2,000 Acme Brick Co. and $2,500 Burris/Wagnon Architects P.A. Annual scholarships. He is a Canton Academy graduate and the son of John and Jennifer Schaffhauser.

CARRIERE–Senior Cody J. Smith, receiving the $4,000 Paul Grootkerk Travel Award sponsored by Ted T. Porter, and the $2,000 Interior Elements Scholarship. He is a Pearl River Central High School graduate and the son of Ray and Christina Renderman of Carriere and James Smith of Ward, Arkansas.

CLINTON–Sophomore Gerald A. Wicks, receiving the Angelo “Pops” Primos Computer Scholarship. He is a Clinton High School graduate and the son of Corky and Paula Wicks. (Ed. note: The scholarship is in the form of computer software.)

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn.–Incoming freshman Kaitlyn A. Hoover, receiving the $1,000 McCarty Co. Loyalty Scholarship. She is the daughter of Paul and Karen Hoover. [High school information not available].

FOREST–Senior Kevin Flores, receiving the $500 Pryor & Morrow Endowed Scholarship. He is a Forest High School graduate and the son of Jose and Teresa Flores.

GULFPORT–Katherine R. Ernst, receiving the $2,000 Mockbee Hall and Drake Scholarship, is a St. Patrick Catholic High School graduate and the daughter of David and Beverly Ernst; and Nenyatta K. Smith, receiving the $500 Pryor & Morrow Endowed Scholarship, is a Harrison Central High School graduate and the daughter of John and Dorothy Smith. Both are seniors.

HOOVER, Ala.–Michael Thomas McKinney “Mack” Braden, receiving the $2,000 Creative Windows & Doors/Marvin Window Traveling Fellowship. The son of Emmett and Carol Braden, he graduated magna cum laude from MSU earlier this month. He also graduated from Spain Park High School.

MADISON–Incoming freshman Micah R. Dear, receiving the $1,000 Boral Bricks Inc. Loyalty Scholarship. He is the son of Sacia Dear. [High school information not available].

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia–Senior Maria Degtyareva, receiving the Angelo “Pops” Primos Computer Scholarship. She is the daughter of Grigoriy and Larisa Degtyareva. (Ed. note: The scholarship is in the form of computer software.) She is a graduate of Gymnasium No. 1 in Novosibirsk.

OLIVE BRANCH–Senior Aryn S. Phillips, receiving the $2,000 Interior Elements and $1,000 Matt L. Virden III and M.L. Virden IV Memorial scholarships. She is a DeSoto Central High School graduate and the daughter of William and Luretha Phillips.

OXFORD–Junior Caleb E. Fearing, receiving the $1,000 Stephanie Mihojevich Pizzetta Endowed Scholarship. He is an Oxford High School graduate and the son of Erik and Kimberly Fearing.

PEARL–Sophomore Diondria M. Bingham, receiving the Angelo “Pops” Primos Computer Scholarship. She is a Pearl High School graduate and the daughter of Ronald and Donna Bingham. (Ed. note: The scholarship is in the form of computer software.)

PENSACOLA, Fla.–Incoming freshman Mitchell D. Hubbell, receiving the $1,000 McCarty Company Loyalty Scholarship. He is the son of Daniel and Tricia Hubbell.

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, Tenn.–Incoming freshman Micajah C. Tucker, receiving the $1,000 Columbus Brick Co. Loyalty Scholarship. He is the son of John Tucker and Joy Stinson-Tucker.

TUPELO–Sophomore Savannah B. Ingram, receiving the Angelo “Pops” Primos Computer Scholarship. Ingram. She is a Tupelo High School graduate and the daughter of Thomas and Kimberly Ingram. (Ed. note: The scholarship is in the form of computer software.)


WATER VALLEY–Sophomore Whitney A. White, receiving the $1,000 Creig B. Hoskins Annual Scholarship. She is a Mississippi School of the Arts graduate and the daughter of Sherman White Jr. and Wyanda White.

School of Architecture alumni promoted at CDFL

May 23rd, 2014 Comments Off


photo from CDFL

The Jackson-based architecture firm, Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons Architects & Engineers PA (CDFL), has named 1994 MSU School of Architecture alumnus David Burnet a principal of the firm.

photo from CDFL

photo from CDFL

The firm also named 2001 alumni Matthew Buchanan and Chris Myers as associates.

Congratulations to these alumni!

Read more about this and other news at CDFL here.

Fourth-year architecture capstone award winners announced

May 22nd, 2014 Comments Off

$500 winners (l to r): John Taylor Schaffhauser and Landon Kennedy

$500 winners (l to r): John Taylor Schaffhauser and Landon Kennedy

This year, the students of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture worked on a project to generate schematic design proposals and scenarios for a proposed “Mississippi Maritime Museum” to honor the legendary history of shipbuilding in Pascagoula and the various maritime interests on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The students and faculty worked closely with the museum’s ten-member Board of Directors, beginning the project in January with a design charette for the adaptive reuse of the former Math and Science building located on the PHS campus. The charrette was led by the MSU studio faculty and School of Architecture’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.

All thirty-four students were inspired by the idea that this could be a real built project one day and that their efforts held the potential to influence the future programming and design of the actual museum. Results of the students’ work will be used to build public interest and are hoped to be instrumental components of the Museum board’s fundraising strategy. The proposed site is currently known as River Park, located on Lowery Island in the Pascagoula Riverway, North of the Hwy. 90 bridge. The design studio’s funding and awards were sponsored by the Mississippi Maritime Museum Board of Directors, who also provided support for numerous student design awards and the creation of a print publication.

The studio culminated with two Capstone Awards in recognition of exceptional comprehensive design as demonstrated by a fourth-year student. The student winners were chosen by special guest critic Belinda Stewart, FAIA, and the MMM Board. Landon Kennedy and John Taylor Schaffhauser each received $500. A design award honorable mention went to Jonathan Greer, and Brooke Dorman and William Commorado were each honored with a studio book award.

Read the story on MSU’s website.

Read the story by the Mississippi Press.

Read the story by WCBI.

Click here to view the project book.

You are currently browsing the Supporters category in the School Of Architecture News.