Annual Brasfield and Gorrie design competition wraps up

September 13th, 2016 Comments Off on Annual Brasfield and Gorrie design competition wraps up

(Photos and story by Kelsey Brownlee)

Students in the College of Architecture, Art and Design participate in the Brasfield & Gorrie Student Design Competition every year at Mississippi State University. The interdisciplinary design competition includes teams of students from each department in college (architecture, art, interior design and building construction science).

The goal is to expose students to an interdisciplinary project delivery system to facilitate the design of a structure that incorporates sustainability, innovation and LEED construction principles. It is the goal of the competition to overcome preconceived ideas of the roles traditionally assumed by the various disciplines in the college. Teams will implement into their design solutions current issues that are impacting the design and construction industry.

Student teams work on the project the first two weeks of the fall semester. This year’s presentations were held on Wed., Aug. 31.

For this year’s competition, students were challenged to design and create a renovation and construction plan for two existing buildings, as well as a means of connecting the buildings, for the tenancy of the pop-up retail space. Located on University Drive at the edge of the MSU campus, the existing buildings were constructed during the 1930s as part of the Public Works Administration and originally served as faculty housing.

Students were asked to

  1. incorporate accessory spaces such as offices, a receiving area and a catering kitchen in addition to the retail and gallery spaces;
  2. bring the buildings into compliance with current zoning and building codes;
  3. design signage and wayfinding that will direct attention to the building from University Avenue; and
  4. incorporate aspects of sustainability that would allow the project to be designated LEED certified.


First Place (tie):
Team Bazaar:
Annah Pennebaker, interior design
Nick Vezinaw, architecture
Omkar Prabhu, architecture
Lara Lynn Waddell, architecture
Tanner Wallace, building construction science
Sarah Prater, graphic design

Team Expo:
Catherine Conner, interior design
Katie Hughes, interior design
Cory Moxley, architecture
Claire Sims, architecture
Matt Bowen, building construction science
Morgan Donour, graphic design

Third Place:
Team Vertex:
Tori Reynolds, interior design
Ana Miller, interior design
Curtis Reed, architecture
Charles Barlow, architecture
Ben Webster, architecture
Davis Byrd, building construction science
Lauren Lewis, graphic design

Register now for MSU School of Architecture’s TIMBR Symposium

September 2nd, 2016 Comments Off on Register now for MSU School of Architecture’s TIMBR Symposium

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State’s School of Architecture is hosting a Timber Innovations for Mississippi Buildings Reimagined (TIMBR) Symposium Thursday-Friday [Sept. 15-16] on the Starkville campus.

Registration is free and must be completed by Sept. 10 at American Institute of Architects (AIA) continuing education units will be provided.

Funded in part by a $10,000 Community Partnership Grant from internationally recognized nonprofit Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI), the daylong event will bring together architects, engineers, students, educators, researchers, timberland owners and forest product professionals, among others.

MSU Assistant Professor of Architecture Jacob A. “Jake” Gines said this first-of-its-kind event will focus on mass-timber innovations and their potential application in the construction industry for Mississippi and the Southern region of the U.S.

Sustainable forest management can provide strategic long-term benefits for the Magnolia State, Gines emphasized.

“Mississippi contains approximately 19.8 million acres of forested land, which accounts for 64 percent of the state’s total area,” he said. “The value of timber harvested in Mississippi has averaged in excess of $1 billion per year over the past 20 years and accounts for over 70,000 jobs in the state.”

Gines said funding also was provided by a $12,000 grant from the Mississippi Forestry Foundation and other industry partners. This fall, the grant is enabling fourth-year undergraduate architecture students’ participation in a wood-based design studio.

Focusing on recent innovations in wood products and construction methods, the studio 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. For more, visit

For complete details on the TIMBR Symposium, visit the above-mentioned websites or contact Gines at 662-325-0094 or

The School of Architecture is part of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

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

See the article at

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Read the story by The Clarion Ledger.

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.

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