MSU’s Carl Small Town Center to receive CIRD workshop funding

October 24th, 2014 Comments Off

Via Leah Barbour | MSU Public Affairs

When Chickasaw County community leaders contacted Mississippi State University’s Carl Small Town Center, they wanted to discuss ways to connect the Tanglefoot Trail to downtown Houston and the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The CSTC is the service and research arm of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, and the center works with officials, citizens and organizations to improve quality of life in towns throughout the Magnolia State, said Leah Kemp, CSTC assistant director.

Houston is the southernmost community along the Tanglefoot Trail, she explained. At present, the end of the 44-mile, rails-to-trails cycling/pedestrian pathway is a vacant lot, but Houston leaders want to change that.

“There is currently no way for cyclists to get from the trail to the nearby downtown or the Trace,” Kemp said.

CSTC leaders chose to apply for a competitive Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design workshop funding, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, because connecting Houston’s tourist attractions should boost tourism and benefit neighborhoods, Kemp said. In late July, the CSTC learned Houston was one of only four communities in the nation to receive the award, which will enable CSTC to host a rural design technical workshop this fall for the town.

“We and our partners in Houston recognize that this area has wonderful potential; we also recognize that this CIRD program will provide the necessary expertise that Houston needs,” she said.

The CIRD funding will fund a two-and-a-half day workshop in Houston, with CIRD providing design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000, according to CIRD officials. The CSTC-Houston team will receive additional training, both before and after the workshop, through conference calls, webinars and other web-based resources. Topics include community engagement, rural design, partnership development and workshop planning.

CIRD is a National Endowment for the Arts initiative that collaborates with the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Project for Public Spaces, Inc.; the Orton Family Foundation; and the CommunityMatters Partnership to sponsor design experts’ work in rural communities.

To qualify for the CIRD funding, towns must have populations fewer than 50,000; only two towns and two counties were selected. The Mississippi community is the only one in the Southeast, and it’s the smallest–only 3,562 residents. Other funding recipients are located in Franklin, New Hampshire; Oregon County, Missouri; and Lancaster County, Nebraska.

“The selected communities demonstrate rich potential for leveraging partnerships to take action on a wide range of rural design issues,” said Cynthia Nikitin, CIRD program director and senior vice president of project for Public Spaces, Inc. “Rural design is a valuable tool for citizens to use to build on existing assets and improve their community’s quality of life and long-term viability.

“The workshop will provide national experts in design-related fields that can help develop a tangible vision for how to connect the trail to the downtown, as well as provide a way that Houston can bring economic development to its town by capitalizing on the trail.”

For more information about the CSTC, visit

Learn more about CIRD at

Annual NOMAS Trashion Show set for Nov. 12

October 17th, 2014 Comments Off

The sixth annual NOMAS Trashion Show is set for Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in Giles Hall.

Put on by the School of Architecture, the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students and the MSU Fashion Board, this year’s “High Trashion-” themed show will feature designs created by students using recycled materials.

Past creations have been constructed out of bottle caps, bubble wrap, Coke cans, duct tape and more.

The third annual “Junk to Funk Sale” will start at 3 p.m. the day of the show. It is a profit sharing event for students who make custom products to sell them in the Giles Hall Gallery. For more information, visit

The Trashion Show and “Junk to Funk Sale” usually bring in 200-300 people.

Watch the video from last year’s show:

TrashionShow2013 from Justin on Vimeo.

(direct link:

For more information, contact Aryn Phillips, NOMAS president, at

Fourth-year architecture students explore Seattle

October 15th, 2014 Comments Off

Fourth-year architecture students sketch in the Seattle Public Library designed by OMA. (photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students sketch in the Seattle Public Library designed by OMA. (photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students wait to get into the Space Needle. (photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students wait to get into the Space Needle. (photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students explore the Seattle City Hall,designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.(photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students explore the Seattle City Hall designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. (photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students get a tour of St. Ignatius Chape,l designed by Steven Holl, from Friar Cob of Seattle University.(photo by Alexis Gregory)

Fourth-year architecture students get a tour of St. Ignatius Chapel, designed by Steven Holl, from Friar Cob of Seattle University. (photo by Alexis Gregory)

Students and faculty in the fourth-year architecture studio flew to Seattle, Wash., on Sept. 28 for the annual School of Architecture Field Trip.

Students visited the Seattle Space Needle, St. Ignatius Chapel, Seattle Public Library and Pike Place Market, among other architectural landmarks in the city.

Students were also treated to a tour of the offices of Olson Kundig Architects by firm principal Kirsten Murray.

School of Architecture professor takes on new role as Architect Licensing Advisor

October 15th, 2014 Comments Off

Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory

Alexis Gregory

Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory has taken over as the architect licensing advisor for the School of Architecture from John Poros, associate professor and director of the Carl Small Town Center.

Gregory will be working with students to advise them on how to reach their career goals and how to complete the Internship Development Program (IPD) and the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) conducted by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) so that students can become licensed architects after graduation.

More information about NCARB can be found at

School of Architecture director presents at University of Florida lecture series

October 14th, 2014 Comments Off


Michael Berk, director of the School of Architecture and F.L. Crane Professor, was invited to speak as part of the University of Florida’s fall 2014 School of Architecture Visiting Lecture series.

Berk was recently honored by the university at a ceremony on March 31, where he was presented the 2014 Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award.  During that visit, he also participated in the school’s Masters Research Projects (MRP) final presentations jury review with fellow critics Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Berk returned to the university on September 29 to present “Ecological Design and the Art of Pre-Fabrication” as part of the school’s lecture series, which includes four other distinguished speakers this semester.

Michael A. Berk, AIA, is the Director of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University where he holds the F.L. Crane Endowed Professorship. He is a registered architect with an extensive practice as a design partner in the West Palm Beach firm (AOA) prior to his return to the academy. Berk teaches and researches in the areas of: Information Design and Factory-built Housing (GreenMobile®). He is considered by many to be an expert in the area of ecological design; recent lecture invitations include: Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Hearst Lecture Series Cal Poly; Rural Studio; and the National Building Museum. Berk has been responsible for more than $7 million in funded research. He was also a pioneer in design studio pedagogies; his Digital Nomads (1992) program created the first student-owned laptop requirement by ‘breaking the machine out of the traditional computer lab’ and placing it along-side power saws and drawing boards in the design studio, complementing traditional analog processes.

Giles Architecture Gallery 2014-2015 exhibition schedule

October 14th, 2014 Comments Off

newSARC Gallery Schedule Updated

School of Architecture, TSD to hold Faculty Exhibit reception

October 13th, 2014 Comments Off

TSD Gallery Poster 1

Tau Sigma Delta and the School of Architecture will host a reception on October 22 at 5:15 p.m. for the Faculty Exhibition, which will be on display in the Giles Gallery from October 15-November 3.

Work by the following faculty is featured in the exhibit:
Jassen Callender
John Poros
Jeff Roberson
Jacob Gines
Justin Taylor
Hans Herrmann
Michael Berk
Erik Herman

TSD member Taylor Yates is the student curator for the exhibit.

Architecture student ties for first place in the Arts & Humanities Category of the MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium

August 28th, 2014 Comments Off

Jacqueline Brooke Dorman, fifth-year architecture student, tied for first place in the Arts & Humanities Category of the MSU Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. The symposium was held Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 1 – 3:30 p.m. in Griffis Hall and was hosted by the Shackouls Honors College.

Dorman presented her research on the gap in building construction technology literature for architecture students titled “Exposing Gaps in Student Literature for Building Construction Technology.” This award is in addition to her award for the same research in the MSU 2014 Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium hosted by the Graduate School where she won “Best Presentation.”

Dorman conducted her research under the guidance of School of Architecture Assistant Professor Alexis D. Gregory, AIA.

Also presenting his research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium was third-year architecture student Ryan Fierro. Fierro was funded with a 2014 Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and he worked with School of Architecture Assistant Professor Jacob Gines on his research.

Read the story on MSU’s website.

IMG_2257 IMG_2260






Thomas to lead fundraising for College of Architecture, Art and Design

July 15th, 2014 Comments Off

2014_07_15__2014_07_15_132534Via Amy Cagle | MSU Foundation

Perry King “P.K.” Thomas is the new director of development for Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Thomas officially assumed the position Tuesday [July 15]. He succeeds Nathan Moore, who recently became director of corporate and foundation relations for the MSU Foundation.

“In his new role, P.K’s. knowledge and previous fundraising experience with Mississippi State will prove invaluable as he provides philanthropy leadership within this major academic unit,” said Jack McCarty, the foundation’s executive director of development.

A Tupelo native and Mississippi State alumnus, Thomas joined the university’s fundraising staff in 2010 as assistant director of development for the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. Prior to that, he was a district executive for Yocona Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and served two years as an MSU admissions counselor.

His two MSU degrees include a 2003 bachelor’s in communication and a 2008 master’s in physical education and sport administration.

The College of Architecture, Art and Design includes the School of Architecture and three research centers (the Carl Small Town Center, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and Design Research Informatics Lab), along with the Department of Art, the Interior Design Program and the Building Construction Science Program.

The School of Architecture is the only accredited program in the state.

For more information on MSU’s fundraising activities, visit

Lt. Gov. Reeves names architecture alumnus to Jackson Sales Tax Commission

July 8th, 2014 Comments Off

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves today named small business owner and local architect Michael Boerner to the 1-percent sales tax commission charged with overseeing expenditures from a recent sales tax increase in the city of Jackson.

The 10-member commission will develop a plan for infrastructure repairs and address how tax revenues will support the plan.

In January, voters in Jackson approved raising the city’s sales tax by 1 percent to fund infrastructure repairs.

“Michael has a passion for the city of Jackson and wants our capital city to be successful,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “His experience managing a business and expertise as an architect will be useful as the commission prepares a plan to address Jackson’s infrastructure challenges.”

Boerner, AIA, LEED AP, is the principal of Wier+Boerner Architecture in Jackson.

He has a bachelor of architecture degree from Mississippi State University (2002) and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Millsaps College.

Boerner has architectural experience working for firms in Dallas, Birmingham, New Orleans and Jackson.

“Jackson needs a strong, reliable infrastructure to thrive,” Boerner said. “I look forward to serving on the commission and helping to shape the city’s future.”

The Jackson resident has worked on numerous projects around Mississippi, including Babalu restaurant in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, renovations to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds and Coliseum and the Iron Horse Grill restaurant in downtown Jackson. He also serves on the State Board of Architecture.

Boerner and his wife, Katherine, have one daughter and attend Galloway United Methodist Church in Jackson.

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