School of Architecture holds fall 2016 convocation

August 17th, 2016 Comments Off on School of Architecture holds fall 2016 convocation

S_ARC Fall Convocation 2016_4

Fall 2016 convocation for the School of Architecture was held on Aug. 17 in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall.

Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, welcomed the group and gave an update on the college before Director and F.L. Crane Professor Michael Berk started with the rest of the program.

MSU School of Architecture featured in Architect magazine

August 16th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU School of Architecture featured in Architect magazine

The Aydelotts’ $2.4 Million Gift to Architecture Students in the South

Alfred Aydelott, who with his wife Hope was responsible for one of the largest educational endowments by an architect, led a complex life filled with outbursts, grudges, and a medical miracle.

MSU architecture alumnus, wife fund student research work in Australia

August 15th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU architecture alumnus, wife fund student research work in Australia

When one door closed for Zachary Henry, four more opened.

Henry, a fourth-year MSU architecture student from Knoxville, Tenn., was disappointed when his proposal for a travel scholarship to Australia didn’t come out on top.

However, when his boss, School of Architecture alumnus Briar Jones heard about Henry’s plan, he and his wife, Michelle, decided to fund his travels and research themselves.

“I was impressed with how much thought he put into applying for the Aydelott Travel Award and was disappointed for him when he didn’t win,” the principal at Thomas Shelton Jones and Associates in Starkville said, describing his intern as “full of energy.”

“Architecture is best experienced firsthand,” he added. “Great students read and learn what they need to see. Then they figure out how to go and experience the space and place and material tactility firsthand.”

After the shock of the Jones’ generosity wore off, Henry quickly got to work planning his trip with the help of Professor Emeritus Michael Fazio and Assistant Professors Emily McGlohn and Andrew Tripp.

The first leg of his trip included an interview with award winning Australian architect Glenn Murcutt at his home in Mosman, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

“I’ve never met someone so passionate and humble about what they do,” said Henry, who said the 80-year-old Murcutt designs buildings that function as machines, unlike any other architect practicing today.

Henry said Murcutt doesn’t design for the money because he wants to create great architecture for people of any income and background to enjoy and live in.

“He breaks even on most of his work and lives in the most humble dwelling,” he said. “How incredible is that?”

Murcutt, who also teaches architecture at the University of New South Wales, paid a visit to Mississippi State University in 1998 and had nothing but high regards for MSU when he met with Henry.

“He told me, ‘You are getting a fantastic education, Zachary.’ I knew that,” he said, “but being reassured by the winner of a Pritzker Architecture Prize and Alvar Aalto Medal was just icing on the cake.”

The MSU student learned that Murcutt teaches in a similar method to his own professors – not using computers until the third-year of study and requiring lots of drawing and research before beginning to design.

The rest of Henry’s trip was dedicated to studying four Murcutt-designed buildings he had previously chosen as key to his research thesis – “Ecological functionalism in the work of Glenn Murcutt and how his buildings respond to the environment as a working machine.”

All located in New South Wales, Australia, the buildings ranged from small private residences to a large public building:

  • The Carter House, Kangaloon
  • The Magney House, Bingie Bingie
  • The Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, Riversdale
  • The Fredericks-White House, Jamberoo

Henry collected data – using data loggers, multi-meters and laser devices – on how each of the four buildings responds to the physical and built environment.

He was really able to connect with the education center building, as he stayed there on the 2,700 acre property for three days collecting the data.

“It was interesting but also extremely scary; I was by myself in middle of the dense Australian rainforest with kangaroos, wombats and who knows what else!”

Now that he is back, he will compare and contrast the results and put his data into 3D modeling software to study the buildings in artificial environments.

“I’m excited to see where it goes,” he said, adding that he is not really sure what results he will get.

Henry has big plans for his research, including an Honors College Oxbridge Tutorial, presenting at conferences, a published paper, and eventually graduate school.

His end goal is to write a book and include the more than 500 Murcutt projects currently not catalogued for the library in New South Wales “so everyone can experience and learn about his work.”

MSU architecture school to begin wood-based design studio

August 9th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU architecture school to begin wood-based design studio

(Photos provided by Jacob Gines)

Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture hopes to lead the charge in the Southeast on innovative wood research and design.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, Inc. (SFI), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to responsible forest management, recently awarded a $10,000 Community Partnerships grant for a design studio centered on wood technologies. The Mississippi Forestry Foundation and other industry partners pitched in a $12,000 match for the grant.

MSU architecture assistant professor Jacob A. Gines will use a portion of the funding for a design studio, scheduled for this fall and tailored for fourth-year undergraduate students. The studio will focus on recent innovations in wood products and construction methods.

The studio, called TIMB(R): Timber Innovations for Mississippi Buildings Reimagined, will culminate with a design competition in which students will craft plans for a mid-rise wood structure that could serve as a showcase for wood building design in Mississippi and an office space for the Mississippi Forestry Association.

“That doesn’t mean the winning design will necessarily be built, but it will provide MFA an opportunity to conjure interest and investment for such a project,” Gines said. “We at the MSU School of Architecture love the idea of being able to facilitate that process.”

Gines said a long history of “building tall with wood” in the U.S. halted following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 when international building codes began regulating wood use in the frames of mid- to high-rise structures. But recent innovations in wood design technology, such as cross laminated timber where thicker wood panels run perpendicular throughout the structures’ frames, are opening doors to taller wood construction with better fire ratings.

“These highly engineered wood products allow us to increase the strength and span properties of wood, so we can build higher while addressing life safety issues,” he said.

The architecture professor added that a lot is being done with these new wood innovations in Europe, the Northwest and Canada, but nothing in this region.

With a showcase wood building that would demonstrate those technologies, Gines sees an opportunity for Mississippi to become a leader in the Southeast region in promoting mid-rise wood-frame construction. That would help the state’s economy, he said, since 64 percent of Mississippi’s land is forested. It’s also an environmentally friendly way to build, he added, because timber is a renewable resource.

Last year, Gines challenged students in his fourth-year architecture studio to research high-performance wood construction and design a hypothetical 20-story wood building in Manhattan, New York. His materials class and a building construction science class also worked closely with the MSU Department of Sustainable Bioproducts to further their knowledge on the subject.

MFA executive director Tedrick Ratcliff said interest in wood-frame construction is growing nationwide, and he is pleased to see MSU students looking for innovative ways to use one of the state’s most abundant resources. Regardless of whether the building the design students will propose ever comes to fruition, Ratcliff said MFA plans to make the most of the studio’s greater purpose.

“As soon as the first student puts pen to paper on one of these design proposals, people will have the opportunity to see the potential in this kind of construction,” he said. “Mississippi needs one of these buildings because people need to see it. And as people see these students’ designs, I believe it will draw businesses and other entities to want those kinds of buildings for themselves.”

Gines presented his research at the 2015 annual meetings for the MFA and Resource Management Service, LLC, a collection of investors and stakeholders in the forestry industry. In September, he will host the Timber Innovations for Mississippi Buildings Reimagined (TIMB(R)) symposium.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We are hoping to do some incredible things in the future as we join forces with industry and university partners.”

The School of Architecture is part of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design. For more information on SFI®, visit

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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


    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

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

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 |

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 or Madison Talley at

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

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

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