Helping the residents of the historic Baptist Town neighborhood been a passion for Emily Roush-Elliott since she arrived in Greenwood on an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship in 2013 after receiving her master’s of architecture from the University of Cincinnati.
Helping families in need have simple, decent homes has been a passion for the Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center for Housing since 1985, when it began partnering with homeowner families as a Habitat for Humanity affiliate. (They joined The Fuller Center in 2008.)
Their common interests are why Roush-Elliott — who is hosted by the Greenwood-LeFlore Economic Development Foundation and Carl Small Town Center — and The Fuller Center have been frequent collaborators in the past few years. And they continue to lead efforts to improve the Baptist Town neighborhood, made famous as the home of blues legend Robert Johnson and the site of filming for the film “The Help,” which brought home the Best Picture Oscar in 2012.
One initiative that has had tremendous impact was the installation of 11 unused MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Agency) cottages that were designed for families impacted by Hurricane Katrina. With strong support from the city of Greenwood and approval by the Mississippi legislature, the cottages were turned over to The Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center, which installed the cottages with a few tweaks and turned them into beautiful, cozy homes for families in need.
“All 11 cottages are fully occupied, and I don’t think we’ve had a single person miss a single payment since we had people move in over a year ago,” Roush-Elliott said. “We’re just looking to have it grow and do more.”
Doing more included using grant money from Enterprise Community Partners to institute such projects in the neighborhood as a storm water management garden, which they also have used to provide on-the-job training for some unemployed women in the community.
Another area of focus in helping residents is energy efficiency. With the help of Emily McGlohn, assistant professor of architecture at Mississippi State University, and her “Audit Squad” of students, they have identified ways in which residents of the Baptist Town neighborhood can save significant amounts of energy — and money — by taking seemingly small steps to make a tremendous difference.
The energy-efficiency study
The Baptist Town community became a significant focal point of McGlohn’s wide-ranging concern for energy-efficiency issues throughout the Mississippi Delta region. This historic neighborhood of Greenwood provided the perfect testing ground with its mix of old homes, newer Fuller Center construction and the Katrina cottages.
“You can always assume new housing is better than old housing, but until you put numbers to it, it’s not as powerful,” McGlohn said. “That’s what we wanted — to be able to quantify the difference and put it into dollars to help people understand how important energy efficiency is in affordable housing.”
Using an array of tools — most notably powerful blower doors and thermal imaging cameras — they studied the 11 cottages’ performance compared to 10 older homes and six Fuller Center homes.
“We had our hypothesis that the cottages would be the most airtight, The Fuller Center homes would be in the middle and the neighborhood homes would be the least,” Roush-Elliott said. “Our hypothesis was certainly proved true, but it was so much more extreme than expected. We were blown away by the unequal distribution of energy costs. It’s a real inequity that we can address.”
“Some of them, we couldn’t even get a read on,” McGlohn said of the older homes in the neighborhood. “They were so leaky that the machine couldn’t even pressurize them.”
They used the test results to determine the personal financial impact of air infiltration alone in trying to maintain a modest home temperature of 65 degrees in December — on top of other factors in heating or cooling a home. They found that air filtration alone cost an average of:
$176 a month for the 10 older homes tested, or 14% of a minimum wage earner’s monthly income
$88 a month for the 6 Fuller Center homes, or 7% of a minimum wage earner’s monthly income
$35 a month for the 11 Katrina cottages, or 3% of a minimum wage earner’s monthly income
“That’s money in your pocket,” McGlohn said. “Housing should be efficient for everyone but especially for those in low-income housing. But it’s not just housing in this sector — we can all do little things to save energy.”
The study’s results, though, are just a starting point.
“It’s great to just swoop in with this information and say, ‘Yeah, your house is leaky,’ but what do you do with that information?” McGlohn asked rhetorically. “The little things that you do really add up in these situations. The solution isn’t always to knock down your house and build a better one. You can fill air gaps and weatherize the house. So we provided weatherization kits for all the homeowners.”
“Emily was able to come back and make recommendations to The Fuller Center about really simple things that they can do throughout the construction process that will save their homeowners more money on the back end on their energy bills,” Roush-Elliott said. “We had a little bit of grant money left so that we could buy a small energy upgrade kit, a little retrofit kit, for everybody who participated. It’s very simple things like caulk and weatherstripping.”
The biggest culprit for the older homes in the neighborhood was window air-conditioning units, something McGlohn said is not unusual for any home with window units.
“We assume that even though homeowners are supposed to take them out in the wintertime, they don’t,” she said. “Those units become like a big hole in the wall, and I’m not sure everybody understands what the effect of that is.”
Roush-Elliott said that her agency is working with The Fuller Center and others to distribute and install covers for the window units in the older homes. She also said that the weatherization study has caught the eye of state officials, who will come to Baptist Town in the near future to discuss major weatherization grants with local residents.
“I’m amazed how many people at the state level have taken note even though this is really small, so I’m hoping that this might grow into something a lot more,” she said, adding that there are plans to follow-up on the weatherization efforts to determine how much they might be saving residents on their energy bills.
Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center President Rocky Powers praised the work of both Roush-Elliott and McGlohn and said that their research will help as they partner with both existing and future Fuller Center homeowners, in addition to helping facilitate ongoing weatherization efforts for the older homes in the neighborhood.
A $2.4 million endowment established by a well-known late Memphis architect and his wife will create a travel award and prize for architecture students at four universities beginning in 2016. The endowment will provide over $100,000 each year to four architecture students currently enrolled in the professional architecture degree programs at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Auburn University; Mississippi State University; and the University of Tennessee.
The Aydelott Travel Award and the Aydelott Prize were established by Alfred Lewis Aydelott, FAIA (1916-2008), and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott (1920-2010), to encourage architecture students to “become proficient in the art of architectural analysis.”
One architecture student from each of these universities will be awarded $20,000 each year to be used to identify, visit and conduct in-depth observation, research and analysis of four unique buildings they feel possess qualities that rank them among the best in the world. The Aydelott Travel Award is one of the most significant programs for architecture students in the U.S.
“The Aydelott Travel Award offers a student an opportunity that can and should change the trajectory of their architectural career,” said Jim West, Mississippi State dean and professor in the School of Architecture. “It enables these students to research, visit, study and comprehend four visionary pieces of architecture in a way never available to them before. I look forward to observing a true transformation in the recipients of this award,” he added.
The Aydelott Travel Award prepares the recipient for “what he or she will continually be required to do in his or her architectural career.” The award will help the recipient further develop skills on how to analyze buildings and communicate that analysis in a manner “such that a board of directors, an architectural publication, a news reporter, or a client will have an understanding of the design and the thinking behind it.”
Upon completion of research and final reports, the best submission – chosen through a juried selection process – will be awarded the Aydelott Prize and an additional $5,000.
The travel awards and prize are supported by the Alfred Lewis Aydelott, FAIA and Hope Galloway Aydelott Award Support Fund. The fund also provides additional support to help with diffusing and archiving award recipients’ analyses, as well as providing support for administrative costs and costs for promotion of the program.
Alfred L. Aydelott earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois and practiced architecture in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1938 to 1979. Among his many buildings are the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines; the PET Building in St. Louis, Missouri.; and the Memphis City Hall.
The Aydelott Travel Award and the Aydelott Prize honor Alfred L. Aydelott’s legacy as a visionary architect who had a significant impact on the city of Memphis, the careers of many architects he mentored, and the education of students he supported through many contributions that he made during his lifetime.
For more information about the Aydelott Travel Award and the Aydelott Prize, contact the representative at each university:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville:
Ethel Goodstein, Associate Dean and Professor, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at email@example.com
David Hinson, Professor and Head, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture firstname.lastname@example.org
Mississippi State University:
Michael A. Berk, AIA, Director and F.L. Crane Professor, School of Architecture
University of Tennessee, Knoxville:
Jason Young, Director and Professor, School of Architecture at email@example.com
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.
January 15th, 2016 Comments Off on Architecture professor, students continue collaborative project for Boys & Girls Club
Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory is continuing her work this semester on a collaborative project to design and construct an educational garden for the Boys & Girls Club of the Golden Triangle – Starkville.
Gregory began the project with her fourth-year architecture studio in the fall. (Read more here.)
This semester, the project will continue through a design/build elective where students in the School of Architecture are constructing another piece of the educational garden – one of the shade structures.
Students in the course are also working on new designs for compost bins, as well as documentation for the new construction and work this spring.
Five seniors at Mississippi State are 2015 honorees of the university’s Association of Retired Faculty.
Honored at the organization’s annual undergraduate banquet were Aaron “Ria” Bennett, an architecture major from Birmingham, Alabama; Kylie A. Dennis, an English major from Memphis, Tennessee; Regan D. McNerny, a biochemistry major from Hebron; Harrison R. Warren, a mechanical engineering major from Starkville; and Laura E. Wilson, a civil engineering major from Diamondhead.
Founded in 1986, MSU’s Association of Retired Faculty presents awards that serve as tributes or memorials to campus colleagues and association members who made major contributions to student development over their careers at the 137-year-old land-grant institution.
Of this year’s honorees:
Bennett received the William L. Giles Award for Excellence in Architecture. She is a member of the Tau Sigma Delta Architecture Honor Society and the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students. She also has served as Giles Architecture Gallery coordinator on campus and was a member of the team that won the Design/Build Studio Choctaw Bus Shelter Competition in 2013. Bennett has interned for two summers with Christopher Architects and Interiors in Birmingham.
Dennis received the Peyton Ward Williams Jr. Distinguished Writing Award for the second straight year. She is a member of three honor societies at MSU, including the Society of Scholars, and holder of three English department scholarships. She was one of only seven students nationwide accepted to participate in the prestigious Institute for Transforming Social Justice this past summer, and she now is student director of the newly formed College of Arts and Sciences Social Justice Initiative. Dennis is in her second year as editor of MSU’s creative arts journal, “The Streetcar.” She has presented her research at both student and professional conferences, and her work has been published two consecutive years in the Proceedings of the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.
McNerny received the Charles L. Lindley Leadership Award. She is a member of the Lambda Sigma Honor Society and a Mississippi Rural Dentistry Scholarship Program recipient. She has served as president of MSU’s Pre-Dental Society, president and recruitment chair for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassadors and Residence Hall Association treasurer. She’s held two positions with the Student Association, including chair for the Senate Rules and Legislation Committee, and History and Traditions Committee member. Dennis has logged more than 200 shadowing/community service hours with eight different practices related to dentistry and oral-maxillofacial surgery.
Warren was selected for the Exemplary Service Award honoring Joseph Brown, a retired professor of mechanical engineering. A member of the Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, he began researching combined heat and power systems this summer. As an undergraduate, he has already been published in an academic journal. Also, he works for the MSU men’s tennis team.
Wilson received the Harry Charles F. Simrall Award for Engineering Excellence. She serves as project manager and past president of MSU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders and president of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Women’s Advisory Committee for Civil and Environmental Engineers, and the Terpsichore Dance Theatre Company on campus.
The RFA awards are memorials to Giles, MSU’s 13th president; Lindley, dean of the then-College of Agriculture and Home Economics; Simrall, dean of the then-College of Engineering; and Williams, an English professor and editor of the campus-based Mississippi Quarterly.
Brown, a Starkville resident, began teaching at MSU in 1970 and was a faculty member for more than 20 years.
A project through Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture is helping make homes in the Mississippi Delta healthier and more energy efficient.
Using funds from the Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners, a team from Mississippi State studied air infiltration levels in 27 low-income homes in the Greenwood area during the summer. Starting Monday [Dec. 7], the team will begin the process of weatherizing homes from the study to enable better climate control and reduce homeowners’ utility bills.
Emily McGlohn, an assistant professor of architecture at MSU who is the faculty leader for the study, said the team looked at houses in three categories: 10 older homes built in the 1950s and 60s, six built in the 1980s and 90s, and 11 “Katrina cottages” placed in the Baptist Town area in Greenwood for low-income families within the last 10 years.
Preliminary study results, McGlohn said, showed the most air infiltration in the older homes. That poses a financial and health burden on the residents, she added.
“A home is supposed to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer,” she said. “But in a leaky home, it makes it harder and more costly to maintain those temperatures during those seasons.”
Now that the study is complete, McGlohn’s team – which includes mostly student workers – has secured the labor and materials for basic weatherization at the 27 homes. With the homeowners’ consent, McGlohn said the team could install door sweeps, weather stripping around windows and better insulate areas around air conditioning units in windows that tend to let air into the home. Even those small fixes, she said, could make a big impact.
Further, she is presenting the study results to stakeholders in the Delta in hopes of inspiring a more comprehensive weatherization program and ensuring that low-income homes built in the future are more energy efficient.
Greenwood architect Emily Roush-Elliot, an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow cohosted by the Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation and MSU’s Carl Small Town Center, partnered with McGlohn’s team on the project. She said it has already accomplished much, considering its $12,000 budget, and has the potential to accomplish even more.
“Financially, it will help a substantial number of low-income families,” she said. “It’s easy to scale up, too. I hope this is a small first step to so much more.”
Senior architecture major Zachary White, of Valparaiso, Indiana, works on a raised garden bed for the Starkville Boys and Girls Club community garden. A team of 14 Mississippi State architecture students, working under assistant professor Alexis Gregory, are installing a garden at the club with six raised beds, two shaded pavilions and space for tool storage. The team also is partnering with MSU’s Horticulture Club, the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, and the College of Education to make the garden a sustainable source for education and healthy foods.
December 3rd, 2015 Comments Off on Herrmann accepts Design Excellence Award from AIA Mississippi Chapter
Mississippi State University recently was recognized by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its role in implementing the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s green technology demonstration pavilion. Pictured at AIAMS 2015 Mississippi Celebrates Architecture program are (l-r) lead juror Aaron Gentry, principal at tvsdesign in Atlanta, Georgia; Jim West, dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and chair of the AIAMS Design Awards; Hans C. Herrmann, MSU associate professor of architecture; and AIAMS President Brett Couples. (Photo courtesy of barrettphotography.com)
Mississippi State is yet again being recognized for its role in implementing the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s green infrastructure and sustainable building technologies.
A Design Excellence Award from the American Institute of Architects’ Mississippi Chapter is one of only two being presented this year. It recognizes the five-year-long efforts of more than 200 university undergraduate and graduate students who designed and built the repository’s green technology demonstration pavilion, among other features.
Participating students were majors in landscape architecture, landscape contracting, architecture, art, art/graphic design and building construction science.
Including prominent architects and educators, the AIAMS judging panel was led by Aaron Gentry, principal at tvsdesign of Atlanta, Georgia, and an MSU architecture graduate.
Hans C. Herrmann, associate professor of architecture, accepted for the university at the recent annual Mississippi Celebrates Architecture program in Jackson.
Earlier this year, the Starkville project was recognized with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4’s Rain Catcher Award at the neighborhood/community level. In 2013, it was chosen for the American Society of Landscape Architecture’s Award of Excellence in Student Collaboration, the highest honor bestowed by the national professional association for landscape architects. Other honors have included the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 2015 Collaborative Practice Award, as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects/Mississippi Chapter’s 2013 Merit Award, 2012 community service honor, and 2011 and 2012 merit awards for community service.
Located near campus at the intersection of Fellowship and Russell streets, the museum features an American Disabilities Act-compliant entrance way, as well as a circular stair providing public access to the 600-square-foot green-roof pavilion. A 700-square-foot rain garden, 200-square-foot sand filter and more than 1,000 square-feet of new plantings also are part of the project.
Additionally, an adjacent 1,000-gallon rainwater cistern was built from recycled and repurposed materials.
The AIAMS Design Awards program seeks to elevate the quality of architecture by recognizing and honoring works of distinction by its members, as well as raise public awareness of architecture and design. For more, visit www.aiamississippi.org.
The heritage museum is open to the public 1-4 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, as well as by appointment. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. For more, visit www.oktibbehaheritagemuseum.com.
An unusual architecture project in Starkville may turn into a gift that lasts a lifetime and teaches in so many ways.
Fourth-year architecture students at Mississippi State are building raised gardens at the Boys and Girls Club in Starkville. The new beds — which feature gravel bottoms, cardboard linings and special material to keep out weeds and moles while allowing dainage, benches and other features — will be more efficient than existing smaller beds at the center on Lynn Lane.
The students designed the garden as well as a ramp that will allow a handicapped volunteer, who also is a Master Gardener, to be more involved. The ramp even will have access to an herb garden.
The college students are learning things they never fully realized from what several say is the most gratifying thing they’ve done.
“To help them understand what it’s like to work with a real client, and also to see the impact of their design and construction in the community. So want them to be able to see that architecture doesn’t end with a building that has air conditioning and heating but that it is actually creating space and places that people can use,” Professor Alexis Gregory said of some of the goals she had when the class took up the project, which also counts as a service-learning project.
Gregory is familiar with the community service and non-profit side, previously having worked for non-profits in Washington D.C.
Architecture students aren’t the only ones involved.
Horticulture classes are planning fruits and vegetables for the gardens and will help teach the kids and their families next spring. Education students are working on lesson plans for teachers to link the garden to every day learning. Nutrition students are planning lessons as well for the students and their amilies.
“I’m really excited to see the kids come out and play with the benches, to start planting things and see them grow,” Gregory said of the anticipation of what’s ahead.
Kids grew tomatoes, pumpkins, radishes, lettuce and cabbage this fall and winter in their smaller boxes. But this takes learning to a new level.
“Some of our kids play and interact with the architecture students and they’ve never been exposed to hands-on building objects so to see them get excited gets me excited. I know our kids aren’t exposed to nutrition and gardening and they should be,” BGC Unit Director Jeffery Johnson said of the experience for the kids.
One major goal is to get entire families and community groups involved so the experience carries on.
“We can work with the Boys and Girls Club to make this a longer lasting project so this becomes good lessons for the kids, hopefully to take home to their parents, and their community as well and really spread this throughout the area,” Gregory xplained.
The project also will include shade structures, rain barrels, vegetable cubicles inside the Boys and Girls Club so the kids can store their produce and other items. Those will be built next semester.
Lowe’s, Oktibbeha County, Bell Building Supply, the Oktibbeha County Coop and others have donated materials. The project also has a Go Fund Me account. Anyone wishing to donate materials can contact the Boys and Girls Club.