Alumni enlist architecture students to help with solutions for state

December 12th, 2014 Comments Off on Alumni enlist architecture students to help with solutions for state

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l to r: Patrick Sullivan, Keith Findley, Megan Vansant, Kevin Flores , Aaryn Phillips, Nenyatta Smith, Daria Pizzetta and Jim Findley (photo by Patrick Brown)

Jim Fennell and Keith Findley have come back to their alma mater for help with accomplishing a goal they have for the state. The two alumni hope to bring some of the ideas of functional symbiosis and reuse from their Colorado Ivywild project to the state of Mississippi.

Functional symbiosis is when companies partner together and share waste. The Ivywild project is a renovated school that houses a brewery, bakery, community garden and other components that all work together in a closed circuit. The excess water from the brewery waters the garden; spent grains from the brewery goes into making the bread at the bakery and so on.

According to Fennell, when businesses are able to take advantage of a functional symbiotic relationship, they have lower operating costs from the reuse of materials and can, therefore, be more successful.

“In turn,” he said, “that gets others in the community interested, and it starts to grow.”

“I think it can really do good things for the state,” added Findley

So, the two alumni approached Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Professor and director of the School of Architecture, last year about getting architecture students involved in helping spread the idea across the state.

“These young people are our best resources for solutions,” said Findley.

And the idea happened to fit perfectly with what Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory had already been planning for her fall fourth-year studio.

Gregory, inspired by an ACSA conference, wanted to dedicate her semester to getting students to think about recycling and reuse. So, with funding from the two alumni, the Ivywild Studio was born.

Gregory created a series of projects for the studio that, throughout the semester, taught recycling, reuse and functional and community symbiosis. Early projects helped students develop the conceptual idea leading to their final project inspired by the Ivywild project.

For the final project, titled “Starkville Symbiosis,” students were challenged to research and create a design for a similarly functioning hypothetical building in Starkville. The students were given a site at the corner of Jackson and Lampkin Streets and real-world clients, Ed Dechert and Cameron Fogle of Sweetgum Brewing and Troy DeRego of DeRego’s Bread.

The final designs included a variety of symbiotic ideas and were presented on Dec. 2 for a panel of jurors including two of the clients, Dechert and DeRego, as well as Fennell and Findley.

Additional jurors included Allison Anderson, FAIA, LEED-AP, and John Anderson, AIA, LEED-AP of unabridged Architecture; Daria Pizzetta, AIA, LEED-AP, of H3 Hardy Collaboration; Patrick Sullivan, president of the Mississippi Energy Institute; Jeremiah Dumas, MSU sustainability coordinator; Bob Wilson, executive director of the Mississippi Main Street Association; and Phil Hardwick, project manager for the Stennis Institute.

The jurors were excited to see the variety of creative solutions the students came up with and immediately saw the impact such projects could have on the state.

Allison Anderson said that the students, now in their fourth-year of study, are starting to understand that “architecture doesn’t end at the line of the building; it continues into the community.”

She went on to explain that architects need to think about what the needs are in the community and how it will grow in the future, and this project helped the students to start to do that.

Sullivan said he saw a wide range of opportunities in the students’ projects.

“The IvyWild project,” he said. “There’s just not anything like that in Mississippi. The goal should be for nothing to leave the site – air, water or steam emissions – except products that are being sold and, of course, people coming and going. Taking that kind of approach is just smart.”

“I hope to see one of these actually developed,” said Daria, who also serves on the school’s Advisory Council.

The jurors selected four top projects. First place and $1,000 went to Megan Vansant; Kevin Flores received second place and another $1,000. Honorable mention went to Aryn Phillips and Nenyatta Smith.

“We see this as a first step in an ongoing thing at the university,” said Findley.

Gregory said her students – now “Ivywild fans” – really enjoyed the project.

“Hopefully they’ll carry this throughout their careers,” she added.

Fourth-year architecture students in the Ivywild studio include (by hometown):
CORDOVA – Emma Morse, daughter of James M. Morse and Charlene Smith
CLINTON – Devin Carr, son of Neil and Sandra Carr
FOREST – Kevin Flores, son of Jose and Teresa Flores
GULFPORT – Nenyatta Smith, daughter of John and Dorothy Smith
HERNANDO – Patrick Brown, son of Chet Brown and Earline Wallace
HORN LAKE – Daniela Bustillos, daughter of Jaime and Maria Bustillos
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Megan Vansant, daughter of Donald R. and Rebecca W. Vansant
JACKSON – Lorianna Baker, daughter of Duke and Karen Baker
OLIVE BRANCH – Aryn Phillips, daughter of William and Luretha Phillips
PADUCAH, Ky. – Ryan Bridges, son of Michael Douglas and Delinda Kay Bridges
PICAYUNE – Cody Smith, and son of Ray and Christina Renderman
SNELLVILLE, Ga. – Ryan Mura, son of Ryan L. and Susan D. Mura

Read the story on MSU’s website.

Read the story on WCBI.

See the story in The Dispatch.

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