First-year architecture students travel to Georgia

April 9th, 2018 Comments Off on First-year architecture students travel to Georgia

First-year architecture students (ARC 1546 Studio IB) recently traveled to Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., with Associate Professor Hans Herrmann, Assistant Professor Silvina Lopez Barrera and Visiting Assistant Professor Francesca Hankins.

In Atlanta, students visiting the following:

  • High Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
  • A downtown walking tour that included:
    • Hyatt Regency
    • Marriott Marquis
    • Westin Peachtree Plaza
  • Atlanta Central Library
  • Mack Scogin + Merril Elam – office tour

In Savannah, students experienced:

  • A downtown walking tour, including:
    • City Market
    • Johnson Square
    • Wright Square
    • Oglethorpe Square
    • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist 
    • Lafayette Square
    • Madison Square
    • Jepson Center for the Arts
    • Telfair Academy
    • Owens-Thomas House
  • Graveyard(s) tour /talk

Mississippi Business Journal article features MSU School of Architecture director

March 28th, 2018 Comments Off on Mississippi Business Journal article features MSU School of Architecture director

By | Becky Gillette | Mississippi Business Journal

“Green design” in architecture is far more than a buzz word or a fad. It is increasingly just the way things are done to not only preserve the environment, but the value of the owner’s investments.


Green architecture as a phrase may be a fad, said Michael Berk, AIA, director of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University. The word he prefers is ecological design, that is designing in concert and in balance with the natural systems around us, working with these systems instead of against them.

The U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines are now used by many federal projects, as well as state and local governmental projects and private developments.

“The purpose of the guidelines is to minimize energy use, maximize resources, minimize land use and create healthier, sustainable construction and living environments,” Berk said. “In and of itself, it is not going to solve the world’s problems. But it is a good minimum standard like the building code is a good minimum standard. LEED guidelines are now fundamentally a standardized practice for building design, construction and commissioning. Homes are probably the largest investment most people will ever make, and green building techniques maximize the return on investment because buildings are designed to last and perform efficiently and economically.”

In the future, major changes will be coming in how buildings are powered. Berk said at present, electricity comes from large, centralized power plants many miles away, and approximately 40 to 60 percent of the energy is lost through friction and heat dissipation in the grid before it gets to the end user.

“That is not a good economic model,” Berk said. “We now have the solar technology that makes it possible for every building to take care of its own energy needs. The future could be based on a ‘distributed power model’ for localized energy generation. A comparison is the Internet and stand-alone computers versus the mainframe computer and dumb terminals. Currently we have buildings that rely on central power plants. We could use the energy grid in the same way that the Internet operates and allow each building on the grid to make its own energy and send excess energy to other places when there is excess and purchase additional energy from the grid when it is needed. Photo-voltaic collection makes economic sense right now.”

Berk said internationally the clean energy sector is growing at a phenomenal rate in terms of jobs and economic development.

“Japan, Germany, China and South Korea have figured it out, and they are leaving us in the dust,” he said. “The U.S. led the world in solar and wind technology 15 years ago and it now appears that many nations are leapfrogging ahead of us.”

Green architecture applies not just to new but existing buildings, said Allison H. Anderson, FAIA, LEED-AP, unabridged Architecture PLLC, Bay St. Louis, who in 2002 became the first architect in Mississippi to be LEED accredited.

“One principal is the greenest building is an already existing building, if you can keep it in a functional condition,” she said. “If you have a building that can be renovated, that is the best situation. You have already fired the bricks and cut down the trees. Those are resources that have already been extracted or harvested.”

For existing buildings, Anderson recommends better insulation, upgrading windows and doors to reflect the heat rather than absorbing it and “cool roofs.”

“Roofs are really important in this climate,” she said. “If you are going to replace your roof, you should look at cool roofs which are very bright white that reflects the heat instead of absorbing it.”

She recommends covered spaces outdoors to reduce the urban heat island effect. An example is trees shading permeable parking lots. For a really green building, install low-flow toilets, sinks and showers, and upgrade mechanical equipment. Replace lights with LEDs bulbs, and install motion occupancy sensors so lights turn off automatically when people are not in the room.

Even before Hurricane Katrina, Anderson stressed to clients that sustainability is really important. After Katrina, they realized it wasn’t just sustainability that was important, but resilience. That involves making buildings safe for occupancy before and after a storm event like a hurricane on the Coast or a tornado in the Delta. She said buildings need to be prepared for climate change that is resulting in more severe weather events.

Anderson said resilience is about the entire design of communities, not just individual buildings. After Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 Atlantic hurricane that caused an estimated $69 billion in damages, Anderson’s firm won a competition sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called Rebuild by Design. Ten international teams were chosen to come up with ideas to make the Northeast more resilient because they weren’t prepared for Hurricane Sandy.

“Surprisingly, some of their buildings are only three feet above sea level, which is kind of shocking to us on the Gulf Coast,” Anderson said. “This project took about a year. I led a team from the Gulf Coast including the MSU Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and another firm from New Orleans. We designed city scale improvements in Bridgeport, Conn., and were successfully in getting Bridgeport $75 million in awards from HUD to improve their resilience.”

Anderson said it became apparent after Hurricane Katrina that communities must be prepared for bigger storms, higher temperatures and greater sea level change—more severe climate challenges all the way around. She did a lot of research and ended up writing an entry in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia about adapting to climate sensitive hazards through architecture.

“We talk a lot about adaption because we are going to have to adapt our buildings and behaviors to climate change,” she said. “Right now, here on the Coast, we have about 82 days a year that are more than 90 degrees. By the 2020, we will have about 100 days more than 90 degrees, and by 2080, 120 to 155 days that are more than 90 degrees. We need to prepare for that. Think how our air conditioners strain in the peak months. Think how our electrical grid is strained over peak summer afternoons.”

Anderson said it is also important to be prepared for more severe rainstorms by having less impermeable surfaces and more places for the water to go where it doesn’t cause flooding. Options include permeable paving options for parking areas and detection swales or ponds.

A good example is the Depot pond in Bay St. Louis. It stores storm water while creating a scenic spot for visitors.

“Green infrastructure can be a really beneficial attraction for cities,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t have to just be a ditch. And this isn’t just a coastal issue. There are just as many problems in Jackson or any other city that has a lot of concrete.”

MSU S|ARC to hold alumni reception during 2018 AIA National Convention (NYC)

February 26th, 2018 Comments Off on MSU S|ARC to hold alumni reception during 2018 AIA National Convention (NYC)

The Mississippi State University School of Architecture Director’s Office – along with alumni Daria Pizzetta and Ted T. Porter – will host an alumni reception on Thurs., June 21, 2018, in New York, NY.

Held at the office of Ted Porter Architecture and coinciding with the 2018 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention, this informal gathering will be a time for S|ARC alumni and friends to reconnect, visit and network as well as get updates on what is currently happening within the school. Alumni and friends don’t have to register for the AIA convention to attend this free event.


Who: S|ARC alumni, friends and invited guests

What: A time to catch up with classmates, reconnect, and network with friends

When: Thursday, June 21, 2018, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Ted Porter Architecture
45 West 21 Street, Suite 4A
(Between 5th and 6th Avenues)
New York, New York 10010



Contact the School of Architecture at 662-325-2202 with questions.


Junior MSU architecture student receives $20,000 travel award

February 20th, 2018 Comments Off on Junior MSU architecture student receives $20,000 travel award

Maria I. Ory (Photo by Megan Bean)

A junior architecture student is the third at Mississippi State University to receive a $20,000 award for travel and research.

Maria I. Ory of Destrehan, La., and daughter of Paul Joseph Ory and Tanya Ann Ibieta, will use the endowed Aydelott Travel Award to visit and research the following buildings – Casa Batllo by Antoni Guadi in Barcelona, Spain; Palace Portois & Fix by Max Fabiani in Vienna, Austria; Cuadra San Cristobal by Luis Barragan in Mexico City, Mexico; and Linked Hybrid by Steven Holl in Beijing, China. Her research will focus on how these four architects integrate color into their designs, which she will document through paintings, among other methods.

“The review committee was very impressed with Maria’s unique approach to analyzing buildings by focusing on the integration of color and design in 20th century architecture,” said F.L. Crane Professor and Director of the School of Architecture Michael Berk. “The jury was also very impressed with the professionalism of her proposal; it clearly demonstrated a high-level response to the goals of the Aydelott Travel Award. My office will look forward to reviewing the results of Maria’s research and travel.”

Charles “Trey” Box III (Photo by Megan Bean)

Junior Charles “Trey” Box III of Jackson, son of Chuck and Amanda Box, was runner-up and received $4,800 to support his international research and travel this summer on experimental housing in the 1970s. His proposal includes housing complexes in London, England; Deft, Netherlands; and Barcelona, Spain. The Trussel Travel Award is funded by alumnus Ted T. Porter.

“The Aydelott Travel Award offers a student an opportunity that can and should change the trajectory of their architectural career,” said MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean Jim West.

Ory agreed, saying, “I cannot thank the Aydelotts enough for this award and the MSU School of Architecture for affording me this opportunity. I feel as though the school has really given a solid foundation for me to proceed with this endeavor and have it end in success.”

The architecture student will return to MSU in the fall to work with her faculty adviser, School of Architecture Professor Andrew Reed Tripp, to compile her research and observations into a report to be judged against his fellow Aydelott Travel Award recipients.

One student will receive the Aydelott Prize and an additional $5,000.

“This award enables 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,” West said.

The $2.4 million endowment – established by the late Alfred Lewis Aydelott and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott – provides an award each year to four architecture students currently enrolled in the professional architecture degree programs at Mississippi State and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Auburn University; and the University of Tennessee.

For more information about the Aydelott Travel Award and other fellowships in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university. See the story at

CAAD holds design charrette for new facilities

February 8th, 2018 Comments Off on CAAD holds design charrette for new facilities

The Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design recently brought together its six advisory boards (four industry advisory boards, a faculty advisory board and a student advisory board) for a full-day design charrette to discuss needs and wants for new facilities for the college.

The need to locate all of the college’s units together, as well as space constraints and the need for repairs/updates in several buildings, has put the college on the university’s list for new facilities in the near future.

Cindy Simpson, a 1996 Mississippi State University interior design graduate, first discussed with Dean Jim West the concept of holding a design charrette to gather ideas, and her concept came to fruition on Fri., Jan. 26.

Attendees were divided into teams – each containing a mix of faculty, students, alumni and friends in the four various fields – and were encouraged to discuss needs and wants for the future CAAD facilities.

They were given a tour of existing facilities in Howell Building and Giles Hall as well as basic program and site information to assist in their think tank session.

After hours of discussion, each team presented their ideas (ranging from the philosophical to concrete )to the group, which included invited guests Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Allison Pearson; MSU Director of Planning, Design and Construction Administration Tim Muzzi; and Executive Director of Development for the MSU Foundation Jack McCarty.

Previously known as the School of Architecture, the college was established in 2004 with the addition of the Interior Design Program and the Department of Art. In 2007, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board approved the formation of the undergraduate program in Building Construction Science, adding this fourth unit to the college.

The college is currently housed in numerous buildings across campus. The School of Architecture studios are located in Giles Hall along with the dean’s office and staff. The Department of Art buildings include Freeman Hall (houses the main office), Stafford Hall, Briscoe Hall and a portion of Howell Building; gallery spaces are located in the Cullis Wade Depot, the Visual Arts Center (808 University Drive) and the adjacent building.  The Interior Design Program studios are located in Etheredge Hall, and the Building Construction Science Program is housed in another portion of Howell Building.

Click here to view an overview of all of the teams’ work.

Maurice Cox presents first 2018 Harrison Lecture

January 29th, 2018 Comments Off on Maurice Cox presents first 2018 Harrison Lecture

Maurice Cox, architect and planning director for the city of Detroit, Mich., presented the first Harrison Lecture for the semester at 4 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 26, in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium. His lecture was titled “Learning from Detroit: The Most Inclusive Comeback Story Ever Told.”

Cox is an urban designer, architectural educator and former mayor of the city of Charlottesville, Va. He most recently served as Associate Dean for Community Engagement at Tulane University, School of Architecture and Director of the Tulane City Center, a university-affiliated practice operating at the intersection of design, urban research and civic engagement throughout the New Orleans community. 

This lecture series is sponsored through a generous gift by Freda Wallace Harrison and Dr. Robert V.M. Harrison, FAIA, FCSI.

See the full schedule here.

MSU architecture majors make Oktoc Community Club more accessible

December 21st, 2017 Comments Off on MSU architecture majors make Oktoc Community Club more accessible

Efforts by nearly 20 Mississippi State architecture majors are making the Magnolia State’s oldest community club more accessible.

A new wooden ramp at the Oktoc Community Club recently was designed and constructed by the university’s Freedom by Design team. Now meeting federal accessibility standards, the entranceway on the historic building’s eastern side is situated near a primary parking area.

Freedom by Design is the community service arm of the American Institute of Architecture’s student chapter in the MSU School of Architecture.

Established in 1927, the community club was among many launched statewide by what now is the MSU Extension Service to share current information on subjects related to farm production and food preparation and delivery. Members of the south Oktibbeha organization pride themselves for having held monthly meetings without fail over the entire 90-year period.

“The building is your traditional white rural church style and has steps at each entrance,” explained Larry Box, chairman of the club’s house and grounds committee.

After several members commented on “a need for a ramp to facilitate entrance,” Box said he was encouraged by wife Florence to reach out to the MSU architecture school.

“This project fit really well with the Freedom by Design spirit,” said Emily Turner, a fourth-year student and FBD co-director. A Starkville resident, she attends MSU as a Presidential Scholar.

A trade-marked title, Freedom by Design was created to “provide real-world experience through working with clients, learning from local licensed architects and contractors and experiencing the practical impacts of architecture and design.” Its members focus on finding professional solutions to address physical and other major societal barriers. For more, visit

As they will following graduation and required licensure, the MSU architecture students began the project with a design charrette to brainstorm preliminary concepts. After completing research to ascertain their design complied with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 and was within budget, they developed a virtual model to present to the client.

The project took two weeks to complete. The rigorous demands of daily class schedules led team members to complete much of the work at night, Turner said. She gave special credit for meeting the deadline to Pablo Vargas of Ridgeland, a second-year architecture student and the project’s construction manager.

She also praised support provided by the Boxes, both retired public school employees. “Dr. Box was a great partner to have for our second project; he stayed late to help us and his wife baked treats.” she said.

Turner said the project was much larger than the group’s first venture, the design and construction of compost bins for the Starkville Boys and Girls Club community garden.

She also noted how the Oktoc project involved a number of first-year majors that “didn’t have a lot of experience in building.” Nonetheless, she said the freshmen “took advantage of this opportunity to learn how to interact with a real-world client. We learned some really important skills that most students just don’t get in architecture school.”

Box said he and other club members are “very pleased” with the outcome. “It looks good and is very functional,” he added. “These kids worked hard and I was impressed with their work ethic.”

In addition to Turner and Vargas, the FBD team included (by hometown):

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Sophomore Jacob B. “Jake” Haasl.
CORDOVA, Tenn.—Freshman Aaron M. Jones.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ga.—Sophomore McKenzie R. “Kenzie” Johnson, project manager
FRANKLIN, Tenn.—Freshman Audrey Eisner.
HARVEST, Ala.—Sophomore Breanna H. “Bre” Richeson.
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn.—Freshman Pace M. Dempsey.
LINDALE, Texas—Freshman De’Vion L. Dingle.
MADISON—Junior Alexander D. “Alex” Boyd, publicity co-chair; and sophomore Ashley E. Casteel, director.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Senior Felipe M. Olvera, publicity co-chair.
NEW ALBANY—Freshman Daisy Huerta.
SOUTHAVEN—Sophomore Mariah J. Green.
STEENS—Sophomore Madison C. Holbrook.
SUMRALL—Sophomore Hannah C. Strider.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras—Sophomore Jose Solorzano.
WIGGINS—Junior Kaitlyn R. Breland.

For more about MSU’s Freedom by Design chapter, contact Turner at or find the group on Instagram at fbd_msstate.

Information on the School of Architecture is found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Read more in The Columbus Dispatch.

MSU students propose innovative designs for metro area forestry and wildlife outreach center

December 21st, 2017 Comments Off on MSU students propose innovative designs for metro area forestry and wildlife outreach center

Mississippi State University senior architecture students Maxwell J. “Max” Wilson of Spring Hill, Tennessee, left, and Shelby G. Christian of Vancleave discuss their proposal for a forestry and wildlife outreach center in Flowood with Mississippi Forestry Association Executive Vice President J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr. The project was part of MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines’ fall-semester introduction to mass timber studio course that is made possible with support from the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, the fundraising arm of the MFA. (Photo by Russ Houston)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Eighteen architecture students in Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently presented master plan and building proposals for a forestry and wildlife outreach center in Mississippi’s largest urban natural area.

The student projects were part of MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines’s fall-semester introduction to mass timber studio course supported by the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Mississippi Forestry Association.

The Mississippi Forestry Foundation has long provided financial support to MSU on behalf of the Mississippi Forestry Association. In 2016, the MFF created the TIMB(R) Fund, to assist the School of Architecture in educating students on the value and benefits of building with wood through the design of a proposed state-of-the-art wood structure for public outreach and education. TIMB(R) is an acronym that stands for Timber Innovations for Mississippi Buildings Reimagined.

In 2017, the MFF committed $50,000 for continued work with the university’s colleges of Architecture, Art and Design, and Forest Resources. $37,500 of the MFF’s TIMB(R) Fund gift is benefiting the School of Architecture’s fourth-year studio course planned for five separate semesters. A total of $12,500 of the MFF gift supports the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts’ Advancement Fund, assisting with travel, research, conference participation and hosting, and other activities furthering work in the areas of cross-laminated timber and mass timber-related technology.

As part of Gines’ fall-semester mass timber studio course, nine student teams each designed a state-of-the-art forestry and wildlife outreach center located on the Fannye Cook Natural Area, a 2,700-acre site along the Pearl River in Flowood that is named for the late Mississippi pioneer conservationist and scientist and owned by nonprofit Wildlife Mississippi. Wildlife Mississippi plans to develop approximately 25 miles of trails for recreation and exercise, create wildlife and forest interpretive areas and viewing platforms/towers, construct educational venues such as a pavilion and amphitheater and provide direct access to the Pearl River. In addition to the forestry center, structures planned at the entry of the area include a visitor center, comfort station and pad site for future development.

In their project proposals, students were required to use mass timber building technologies as the primary structural system. Water management, energy and forestry conservation, and promotion of physical wellness in terms of outdoor activity also were top design priorities.

During a recent event in Giles Hall, each student team gave a presentation that left MFA and Wildlife Mississippi representatives with the challenging task of selecting three winning proposals. The building proposals also will be submitted to the Innovation 2030 student design competition sponsored by Santa Fe, New Mexico-based nonprofit Architecture 2030.

MFA Executive Vice President J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr. presented first and second places with a monetary prize and copy of Kenneth Frampton’s book “Labour, Work and Architecture.”

Ratcliff also thanked the entire class of students for working together on a project that will help promote “mass timber as a viable option for construction in Mississippi” and “the value of forests and forestry products to our state.”

Mississippi State University senior architecture students Barnes Brown of Franklin, Tennessee, second from left, and Patrick T. Greene of Southaven, second from right, received first place for their forestry and wildlife outreach center master plan and building proposal. Congratulating them are (left) Rubin Shmulsky, head of the MSU College of Forest Resources’ Department of Sustainable Bioproducts; (center) MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines; and (right) Mississippi Forestry Association Executive Vice President J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr. (Photo by Allison Matthews)

Seniors Barnes Brown of Franklin, Tennessee, and Patrick T. Greene of Southaven made up the first place team. Each received a copy of Bryan Nash Gill’s book “Woodcut” in addition to the aforementioned prizes.

“We wanted to showcase forestry in Mississippi through the landscaping you see as you go throughout the building,” Brown said. “The raised atrium space we proposed would provide visitors with a nice moment where they could see the construction of cross-laminated timber. As they walk in, our hope would be for them to say ‘Wow, this building is all wood.’”

Greene said features in his and Brown’s proposed 14,300-square-foot building design include a catering kitchen, classroom, social space, executive and accounting offices, multipurpose room, conference center and boardroom. The center itself would be built using materials harvested on-site and Mississippi-sourced softwoods, Brown added.

“Our overall and driving concept of this site is to establish a respectful relationship between the intervention of man and the untouched wilderness,” Greene said. “The method that we propose is a datum, or concrete/gravel walkway established perpendicular to the existing road, which determines the orientation of each building adjacent to it. The datum ties the tranquil essence of the lake with the natural canopy provided by the trees.”

Gines praised the students for “raising the bar and putting in a tremendous amount of work for this exciting project focused on mass timber as a renewable, locally-sourced construction material.”

“The School of Architecture is proud to be at the forefront of construction education. We want to be leaders of mass timber in Mississippi, and I believe that starts here at Mississippi State University,” Gines said. “We are thankful for the support of the Mississippi Forestry Foundation in providing funding for this architecture studio and being advocates for the wonderful work our students have done and will continue to do.”

Rubin Shmulsky, head of the MSU College of Forest Resources’ Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, also offered words of gratitude for the students’ efforts.

“I’m an unabashed advocate for wood and timber products, and the architectural buildings, structures and thoughts you all have developed will inspire people and create a market for our creative material of choice – wood,” Shmulsky said.

Learn more about the Mississippi Forestry Association at; and Wildlife Mississippi at

Part of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, the nationally accredited School of Architecture offers the only curriculum in the state leading to a professional degree in architecture. Learn more at, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

Learn more about the College of Forest Resources and its Department of Sustainable Bioproducts at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Mississippi State University senior architecture students David N. “Nate” Johnson of Meridian, second from left, and Kelli R. Weiland of Coahoma, second from right, received second place for their forestry and wildlife outreach center master plan and building proposal. Congratulating them are (left) Rubin Shmulsky, head of the MSU College of Forest Resources’ Department of Sustainable Bioproducts; (center) MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines; and (right) Mississippi Forestry Association Executive Vice President J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr. (Photo by Allison Matthews)

Mississippi State University senior architecture students Alan C. Pittman of Pelahatchie, second from left, and Lee Bryant of Starkville, second from right, received honorable mention for their forestry and wildlife outreach center master plan and building proposal. Congratulating them are (left) Rubin Shmulsky, head of the MSU College of Forest Resources’ Department of Sustainable Bioproducts; (center) MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines; and (right) Mississippi Forestry Association Executive Vice President J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr. (Photo by Allison Matthews)


MSU Carl Small Town Center’s Ripley community project provides students with ‘real-world’ experience

December 13th, 2017 Comments Off on MSU Carl Small Town Center’s Ripley community project provides students with ‘real-world’ experience

Mississippi State’s Carl Small Town Center collaborated with fall-semester fourth-year students in the university’s School of Architecture to develop a master plan for the 50-acre First Monday Trade Days and Flea Market site in Ripley. Pictured during a recent presentation to Ripley stakeholders are, from left to right, MSU senior architecture majors Asher E. Paxton of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Matthew T. Lewis of Brandon, MSU School of Architecture Director and F.L. Crane Professor Michael Berk, and Mitchell D. Hubbell of Pensacola, Florida. (Photo by Russ Houston)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State’s Carl Small Town Center has collaborated with students in the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design to reimagine a popular site in Ripley as part of a proposed master plan for the Tippah County town.

Director Leah F. Kemp said the CSTC began work on the Ripley master plan this past August. For the project, the center solicited help from MSU Assistant Professor Fred Esenwein’s fourth-year architecture studio class to generate ideas for the 50-acre First Monday Trade Days and Flea Market site in Ripley.

Throughout the fall semester, Esenwein’s students worked in groups to develop a master plan featuring cohesive structures for the site, which has brought together craftsmen, artists, farmers, ranchers and other community members for more than 120 years. Ripley residents and CSTC staff also provided feedback to students over the course of the project.

Kemp said the architecture students received words of praise while recently presenting their completed projects to Ripley stakeholders at the Carl Small Town Center in MSU’s Giles Hall. The center will incorporate the students’ design recommendations into a master plan fostering economic growth and community development in Ripley and Tippah County as a whole.

“The Carl Small Town Center is a valuable resource for the School of Architecture as it provides a meaningful way to link students to communities and their needs,” Kemp said. “It also provides students with the opportunity to engage in public interest design.”

Asher Paxton, a senior architecture major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was among students who participated in the CSTC project. He enjoyed interacting with Ripley residents and stakeholders on-site, as well as during their recent visit to the Starkville campus.

“For us architecture students, having the clients come to our fourth-year studio review to critique our work was super beneficial,” Paxton said. “It helped us think about the site in a real-world way.”

Greenwood resident Fred E. Carl Jr., a major Mississippi State benefactor and the Carl Small Town Center’s namesake, founded and served as the first president and CEO of nationally recognized Viking Range Corp. A one-time architecture major at MSU, he endowed the university’s statewide community design outreach program in 2004.

For more on the College of Architecture, Art and Design, visit; its Carl Small Town Center, at or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at


archimania ranked 13th by Architect Magazine

December 12th, 2017 Comments Off on archimania ranked 13th by Architect Magazine

Archimania, a memphis architecture firm, was ranked number 13 in the 2017 Architect Magazine annual top-50 ranking.

See the main story here, and see the full list of the top-50 here.

Mississippi State University architecture alumni at archimania include:

Partner/ Principal:

  • Todd Walker, FAIA

 Staff architects:

  • Greg Price AIA
  • Will Randolph Assoc AIA
  • Kayce Williford AIA


  • Anthony DiNolfo
  •  J Humphries Assoc AIA
  • Patrick Brown
  • Patrick Green (current fourth-year student)


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