Where are they now: KeAirra Williams

July 29th, 2016 Comments Off on Where are they now: KeAirra Williams

KeAirra Williams, S|ARC Class of 2015, was recently featured in the Memphis Business Journal, People on the Move:

  • via bizjournal.com/memphis

    via bizjournal.com/memphis

    KeAirra Williams

  • Current employer: Renaissance Group: architecture • engineering • planning • interiors
  • Current title/position: Intern Architect
  • Duties/responsibilities: KeAirra Williams joined Renaissance Group Inc. as an intern architect. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. As an intern architect, she assists in Schematic Design phases with digital massing model studies and Photoshop sketch editing.

CAAD hosts design summer camp in downtown Jackson

July 28th, 2016 Comments Off on CAAD hosts design summer camp in downtown Jackson

(Video by Kamau Bostic)

(above photos by Lori Neuenfeldt)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently hosted a design camp for students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi.

Held June 20–24, the five-day summer experience in Jackson had a goal of helping students in the Greater Jackson community develop their interests in architecture, art, community development, design, engineering, planning, social justice and related professional fields.

Students gained knowledge of design tools and media through individual and group workshops focused on design, sketching, photography, graphic design, model building, sculpture and construction, among other skills. Collaboration, leadership and communication skills were developed, which will help students increase their self-confidence in these areas, leaders said.

Faculty of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design—as well as those from the university’s College of Business—led students in collaborative and creative activities focused on design education. MSU alumni are led discussions on design-related career opportunities and provided information about their educational and professional experiences.

CAAD Associate Dean and Professor Greg Hall said the camp was designed to help expose students to the wide variety and scope of educational and career opportunities in design fields ranging from architecture to graphic design and interior design to fashion, as well as related fields such as engineering and construction.

“One of our primary goals is to help students form educational and professional goals that they can continue to develop during their high school education, regardless of their eventual career choice,” Hall said.

In addition to being funded in part by a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, this year’s camp is supported by MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, its School of Architecture and Department of Art, the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and Office of the Registrar.

Lori Neuenfeldt, MSU art instructor and gallery director, and architect Emily Roush-Elliott of the university’s Carl Small Town Center, served as camp co-directors.

The college plans to host sessions for teachers this fall and expects to expand the camp into other areas in the future.

For additional camp information, contact Hall at 662-325-2509 or ghall@caad.msstate.edu.

Final Day/Exhibit:

School of Architecture holds annual Design Discovery Camp

July 27th, 2016 Comments Off on School of Architecture holds annual Design Discovery Camp

(photos via Megan Bean, Mississippi State University and Kapish Cheema, 2016 counselor)

Design Discovery was held June 10 – 17 this year.

The annual weeklong camp was created specifically for high school students age 16 and older–especially entering MSU freshmen–with an interest in architecture or related design fields.

Activities simulate the levels of information processing, individual skills and focused intensity required of students enrolled in the state’s only accredited architecture program.


2016 Design Discovery Scholarship Recipients:

Johnson-McAdams Design Discovery Camp Scholarship

  • Jaylin Gilland

Joseph L. Echols D2 Scholarship

  • Corey Luellen
  • Lamuel Walters

Toyota Wellspring Education Fund

  • Sarah Hoing


For more on Design Discovery, contact Phyllis Davis-Webber at 662-325-2202 or pdavis@caad.msstate.edu.

State Spotlight: Architecture project provides Boys and Girls Club garden

July 25th, 2016 Comments Off on State Spotlight: Architecture project provides Boys and Girls Club garden

(Photos by Megan Bean | Mississippi State University)

Starkville Boys and Girls Club youth are benefitting from a community garden designed by Mississippi State University architecture students.

Featuring six raised beds and a shade area built by students during the spring semester, the project has continued through the summer with MSU student, faculty and staff volunteers working with the youth to plant and grow vegetables.

In addition to faculty and students from MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, collaboration has come from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Education and the university’s Horticulture Club.

See the State Spotlight!

MSU School of Architecture alumni featured in Sun Herald

July 7th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU School of Architecture alumni featured in Sun Herald

Sun Herald - 07-03-2016

photo submitted by Mark Talley

By Justin Mitchell | sunherald.com

You won’t find these Coast home designs in the suburbs

When architects Mark (MSU S|ARC class of 2010) and Madison Talley (class of 2011) told people they were bringing their modern approach to South Mississippi, some people warned them to be careful.

Madison, a Coast native, said she and her husband thought they would end up in a large city after they graduated from Mississippi State University. But after seeing how expensive San Francisco was, they considered bringing their brand of modern design back home.

“Whenever we came to the Coast, people said, ‘I’m just not sure you’re going to find this contemporary architecture niche you’re looking for,’ ” Madison Talley said.

But those folks were wrong. In a quaint building on Government Street, TALLstudio is open for business, and residents and business owners are taking note of the Talleys’ innovative approach to design.

Form and function

“Our clients are typically younger, mid-30s, and wanted to do something different or more forward-thinking — not like the houses they grew up in on the Coast,” Madison Talley said. “Plenty of architects do that, and we wanted to differentiate ourselves by doing something else.”

Since opening TALLstudio two years ago, the Talleys have worked with 10 clients in the Southeast and are in negotiations for other projects. Their aesthetic is simple — the Talleys create functional living or business space that is sleek and modern with clean lines. Each design is individually crafted to fit clients’ needs.

You won’t find spec books or blueprint samples inside TALLstudio. You’ll see model replicas of projects under construction.

Mark Talley said their aesthetic doesn’t necessarily fit in — it stands out.

“It’s based on our client’s wants or needs,” he said.

Madison Talley said their clients want something out of the ordinary, and it’s an added bonus that TALLstudio’s designs feature materials that are easy to maintain.

“It’s something that’s not fluffy or with a lot of extra trim or ornate detailing,” she said. “We base most of our designs based on function.”

A not-so-typical ‘farm house’

One of the Talleys’ latest projects, a “farm house” in Long Beach, started with a trip to the land where the 3,100-square-foot home would be constructed.

Mark and Madison spent days at the site, taking note of how the wind moved through the trees and how the light played on the ground. When the sun is shining on the completed home, a tree shadow creates an eye-catching pattern.

“We try to capture the views that our clients want to see. We site the building so it’s ecologically responsible and responds to the environment,” Madison Talley said.

The design of the “farm house” features single-sloped roofs and large panes of glass to allow a lot of natural light. The interior finishes are very unusual, Madison Talley said.

The home is open-concept, and a second-story loft features a library area and play area for children that overlooks the main living space. The client wanted the home to look different and spark the attention of visitors, Madison Talley said, but they didn’t want it to look like a spaceship.

When the family moves into the space, they won’t be bringing anything with them so there’s not a lot of storage space or an attic.

The exterior could possibly include unconventional materials such as metal or spray concrete.

Mark Talley said he and his wife had to “form” the building within the free space in the site. The bottom floor is T-shaped to fit in the land surrounded by trees, and the second floor helps with the ecological footprint.

“The overarching idea about this house is that it could not compete with the trees on this site,” Mark Talley said.

A revamped Katrina cottage

The Talleys have recently finished an addition to a home on Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs and are working with a client who bought a Katrina cottage to make it into a relaxing oasis.

The plan was to make it look like anything but a Katrina cottage. The wraparound porch features an open area where the client can store her wind-surfing gear and a screened-in section where she could host yoga classes.

“Most of them live very interesting lives, have very interesting businesses or have a very interesting perspective on life,” Mark Talley said of their clients.

The Talleys said they usually go in 50 directions when beginning a project and narrow that down to three options to present to the client before moving in a final direction.

“We try to keep our work very easy to build,” Madison Talley said. “Hopefully, we get a better project that is more ecologically friendly. We have to take into account hurricanes and high wind. The more simple we can keep these things, the stronger we can make them.”

The Talleys said they can work with any budget, and also offer art installation and graphic design.

“We tailor our services to what a client can afford,” Madison Talley said.

Living within their means

The Talleys live on a large piece of land in Vancleave in a completely renovated AirStream trailer that is less than 200 square feet. Madison Talley said she can clean her entire home in about 10 minutes.

She said some clients think it’s cool while others think it’s a tad wacky.

“We did not want to take on a mortgage or renting a house,” she said. “We could take that money we would sink into a house and put that into our business. We’re young and we can adapt to it. We can live small right now so that our business can hopefully flourish.”


Mark and Madison Talley’s architecture firm, TALLstudio, is at 1508 Government St. in Ocean Springs.

To contact the Talleys, e-mail Mark Talley at mark@tall-studio.com or Madison Talley at madison@tall-studio.com

Information from TALL Studio website

Booneville junior at MSU receives $20,000 architecture travel award

June 10th, 2016 Comments Off on Booneville junior at MSU receives $20,000 architecture travel award

(Above photos from Waddell’s trip to Uruguay.)

A Mississippi State junior is among the first four students at southeastern architecture schools to receive the newly endowed Aydelott Travel Award.

Lara Lynn Waddell, a graduate of Booneville High School and daughter of George and Julie Waddell from Marietta, has been awarded $20,000 to travel and research four unique buildings she believes possess qualities that rank them among the best in the world.

(photo by Russ Houston / © Mississippi State University)

(photo by Russ Houston / © Mississippi State University)

“I cannot think of a more deserving student,” said School of Architecture Director and F.L Crane Endowed Professor Michael Berk. “The intensity, discipline and rigor of Lara Lynn’s studio and coursework is unparalleled. Her submission proposal for the Aydelott fellowship had the maturity and gravity of a professional historian.”

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 the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Auburn University; Mississippi State University; and the University of Tennessee.

“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.

Waddell agrees and credits assistant professor of architecture Zulaikha Ayub for starting her on that path.

It was in Ayub’s studio where Waddell first discovered her interest in brick buildings.

“We studied proportions and how it relates to the human body,” she said, explaining what sparked that curiosity and led to helping her choose her top buildings for the Aydelott Award.

Waddell’s buildings include:

—The Church of Cristo Obrero designed by Eladio Dieste located in Atlantida, Uruguay;

—Casa Baldi by Paolo Portoghesi in Rome, Italy;

—Muuratsalo Experimental House by Alvar Aalto in Muuratsalo, Jyvaskyla, Finland; and

—National Arts Schools Cuba by Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti in Havana, Cuba.

Waddell is traveling to each of these locales this summer to study the buildings first-hand and conduct interviews for her research.

“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.

Waddell will return to MSU in the fall to work with her faculty adviser, Professor Emeritus Michael Fazio, to compile her research and observations into a report to be judged against her fellow Aydelott Travel Award recipients. One student will receive the Aydelott Prize and an additional $5,000.

“Dr. Fazio already has been such a great help through this process because he has so much knowledge in the architectural field. I have gained a new friend and lifelong mentor and look forward to the opportunities this experience is going to bring,” Waddell said.

For more information about the Aydelott Travel Award at Mississippi State, visit http://www.caad.msstate.edu/sarc/aydelotttravelaward.php.

See the story at msstate.edu.

Read more about the award.

See the story at WCBI.com

CAAD holds alumni reunion in Philadelphia

June 2nd, 2016 Comments Off on CAAD holds alumni reunion in Philadelphia

(Photos submitted by Keith Bush, S|ARC Class of 1987)

The Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design hosted an alumni reunion and reception on Thurs., May 19, 2016, in Philadelphia, PA.

Held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown and coinciding with the 2016 AIA Convention, the informal gathering was a time for CAAD alumni, friends and family to re-connect, visit and network as well as get updates on what is currently happening within the college.

Carl Small Town Center director to co-teach workshop at UNC

June 2nd, 2016 Comments Off on Carl Small Town Center director to co-teach workshop at UNC

John Poros (Photo by Megan Bean)

John Poros (Photo by Megan Bean)

Upcoming STRIDE Workshop Introduce Planning Tools for Linking Rural Development and Transportation

Via stride.ce.ufl.edu

Dr. Brian J. Morton of UNC-Chapel Hill and John Poros, director of the Carl Small Town Center at MSU, will be co-teaching a technical workshop related to their STRIDE-funded project, “A Regional Land-Use Transportation Decision Support Tool for Mississippi” (project #2012-003S), during the National Regional Transportation Conference on June 13-15, 2016 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

via Stride website

via Stride website

“Transportation planners and economic development staff working in small towns or rural communities make strategic decisions about the projects that would best enhance the transportation infrastructure and the strategies that would best promote growth and revitalization,” said Morton, lead PI.  “John Poros, Joe Huegy (of NCSU) and I have developed a suite of tools that inform planning for bicycle travel, preservation of community character and regional development.”

Using a case study set in four counties (see image at right) in Northeast Mississippi (a mostly rural area), the STRIDE project generated an easy-to-use tool for assessing bicycle suitability and a land use model integrated with a household-level travel demand model. The project also generated build-out analyses and renderings showing how infill development could increase density while preserving the existing small town feel.

“Community-Viz projected build-outs along with on the ground visualizations provide rural communities with the tools to assess their options for future growth and development,” Poros said. “Combined with transportation modeling that includes bicycling, rural communities can better position themselves to be the green, sustainable communities of tomorrow.”

The workshop will provide an introduction to a suite of tools for rural transportation planning.

A three-hour workshop is scheduled for Tues., June 14. First, Morton will relate the project to current planning initiatives in small towns and rural areas, including heritage and active tourism, livability and sustainability. Poros will then describe the Community Viz®-based build-out analyses and the bicycle suitability assessments, and he will show photo-realistic visualizations of reimagined streetscapes. In the last hour of the workshop, Morton will discuss the integrated land-use/travel-demand model and an application that investigates how to coordinate growth for an area with both automobile manufacturing and heritage tourism.

What can participants expect from this workshop?: How higher density, pedestrian/bike friendly development can be achieved in small towns. How the land-use/travel-demand model works and how different tools can work together.

Information on the conference and workshop is available at the website of the National Association of Development Organizations: http://www.nado.org/events/rpo2016/.

Emeritus professor featured in The Anniston Star

June 1st, 2016 Comments Off on Emeritus professor featured in The Anniston Star

Josh Gray and Rachel McCann (photo via annistonstar.com)

Josh Gray and Rachel McCann (photo via annistonstar.com)

After 26 years of teaching architecture, Rachel McCann is now a jazz singer

By Erin Williams | The Anniston Star

Five years ago, Rachel McCann was living the adult American dream. She was married with two adult children, and had spent more than two decades as a professor of architecture at Mississippi State University in Starkville.

Then she came in contact with John Grisham. The award, that is.

“I had been just really kind of running myself crazy with working so hard,” McCann said about that time in her life. She was given the Grisham Master Teacher award, the highest teaching honor that one can receive at Mississippi State, which came with $10,000 in prize money.

 As a reward to herself, McCann used the prize money to fund a five-week yoga teacher training session in Sedona, Ariz.

“And when I came out of it,” she said, “I kind of knew I wanted to make a change.”

Change, she did.

When she returned from yoga training, she was asked to sing backup on an album for fellow professor Bob Damm. During the session, she met fellow musician and future husband Josh Gray, who is the frontman of his own band, The Graysmiths.

Around this time, the urge to write more songs came back full force – but it would be another four years before she retired from Mississippi State, after 26 years of teaching and moved to Nashville.

In 2015, she married Gray and officially started her own band, Carnal Echo. Their music is a blend of jazz and R&B, with echoes of the styles of Norah Jones and Diana Krall.

The band also includes her husband and, on this tour, will feature pianist Katarina Pejak.

Looking back at her life, McCann’s path has been writing itself almost all her life. At age 10, she started playing piano for her church. At 16, she learned how to play the guitar. During her undergraduate years, she got into songwriting and played in a duo, but chose to major in architecture instead.

By the time she had established her family, her music was confined to playing guitar and singing in the choir at church, and tinkering a bit at home.

“I remember every time I walked up and down the stairs, I would sing, or if I was hanging up laundry, I would sing. I would just do it all of the time as kind of an outlet.”

This year, McCann released a four-song EP and is touring through Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Her song “Everyday I Leave You,” a smooth, mellow tune, is currently getting airplay on local public radio stations around Alabama.

Her performance on Friday at Caldwell Tavern in Anniston will actually be a three-band showcase, starting with The Graysmiths (McCann and Gray), then Carnal Echo (McCann, Gray and Pejak), then Pejak in a duo with drummer Slaven Ljulich.

“We’re the same four people, but we’re in three different bands,” McCann said.

Though it took her a while to get there, McCann knows this stage of her life was worth the wait.

“The yoga trainers were always at me to live less in my head and more in my heart, and if you think about it, that’s exactly what I’d just done,” she said. “I’d left a teaching career that’s all about knowledge and research, and moved into songwriting and singing – which has to come straight from the heart.”

MSU-led design project selected for prominent New York exhibition

May 26th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU-led design project selected for prominent New York exhibition

More than 100 Mississippi State students contributed to the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s SuperUse Pavilion, a part of the museum’s rain garden program that recently has been selected for exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City beginning in late September. (Photo by Megan Bean)

More than 100 Mississippi State students contributed to the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s SuperUse Pavilion, a part of the museum’s rain garden program that recently has been selected for exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City beginning in late September. (Photo by Megan Bean)

See the story at msstate.edu.

The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s SuperUse Pavilion, a part of the museum’s rain garden program that benefitted from the efforts of more than 100 Mississippi State undergraduate and graduate-level students, recently has been selected for exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.

The exhibition, “By the People: Designing a Better America,” will open in late September and showcases the innovative and impactful actions generated through design. Organized by Cynthia E. Smith, Cooper Hewitt’s curator of socially responsible design, the exhibition features 60 design projects from every region across the U.S. For more, visit http://www.cooperhewitt.org/events/current-exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions/.

The SuperUse Pavilion was selected in recognition of the efforts of MSU students studying architecture, art, building construction science, graphic design, landscape architecture and landscape contracting who designed and built the museum’s new event and exhibition pavilion.

The site also will be featured in a forthcoming book published by Cooper Hewitt. Hans C. Herrmann, MSU associate professor of architecture, and Cory Gallo, MSU associate professor of landscape architecture, will represent the project team during the museum’s press event this fall.

Marked by the adaptive reuse of a former gas station pump canopy, once positioned adjacent to Stromboli’s Pizzeria in downtown Starkville, the SuperUse Pavilion offers occupants a working example of how sustainable design and construction may be achieved using low-cost and readily available materials that often are regarded as waste rather than raw material.

The steel frame of the gas station canopy was reinforced and reconfigured to accommodate an extensive living roof system, made accessible by the repurposing of a circular staircase salvaged from a church slated for demolition in Memphis, Tennessee. The SuperUse Pavilion employs LED lighting technology along with high durability materials to demonstrate a low-tech response to the sustainable design demands of the future, Herrmann said.

“The exhibition is a fantastic recognition of the design and construction that has been taking place here at MSU under the guidance of both the architecture and landscape architecture programs,” Herrmann said. Herrmann, Gallo and other team members expressed appreciation for the contributions of MSU students, faculty, extension services, local business supporters and community volunteers who helped make the SuperUse Pavilion and Heritage Museum Rain Garden Project possible.

As a component of the larger museum grounds improvement project, the pavilion joins additional sustainable design features, including a 700 square-foot rain garden, 200 square-foot sand filter, 1,000-gallon rainwater cistern, an American Disabilities Act-compliant museum entrance, along with more than 1,000 square feet of new landscape plantings.

The museum pavilion, rain garden and MSU faculty involved have received eight national and regional awards for teaching, collaborative practice and design. Most recently, the SuperUse Pavilion was recognized by the American Institute of Architects, Mississippi Chapter, with one of only two chapter Honor Awards granted in 2015.

The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum is located at 206 Fellowship Street in Starkville. Museum hours are 1-4 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, and by appointment. While admission is free, donations are encouraged. Learn more at http://oktibbehaheritagemuseum.com/wordpress/.

The School of Architecture in MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design offers the only curriculum in the state leading to a professional degree in architecture. The school offers an intense, carefully structured and rich array of courses that constitute a solid foundation for architectural practice. For more, visit http://www.caad.msstate.edu/sarc/home.php.

The Department of Landscape Architecture in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences fosters the will and ability to plan, design, build and manage regenerative communities. Students explore the design process, storm water design, energy flow, native landscapes and plant materials, green infrastructure, sustainability, community planning and regional planning. For more, visit http://www.lalc.msstate.edu/.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt aims to educate, inspire and empower people through design by presenting exhibitions and educational programs and maintaining active publications.

See the story at WTVA.com.

See the story in The Columbus Dispatch.

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