Reception held for ‘Preserve Nation’ exhibit

January 30th, 2014 Comments Off on Reception held for ‘Preserve Nation’ exhibit

TSD student curator Jake Johnson introduces Bellinda Stewart.

TSD student curator Jake Johnson introduces Bellinda Stewart.

A reception was held on Wed., Jan. 29, for the Belinda Stewart Architects P.A. exhibition, “Preserve Nation: An Exhibit on Historical Preservation and Vernacular Design,” in the Giles Gallery.

Many of the firm’s architects came to the reception, including owner Belinda Stewart, FAIA.

Stewart gave a brief history about her career and the firm and left the students with the message to “Do what you love where you love.”

The work will be on display through Fri., Jan. 31.

Architecture students, faculty, alumni to help transform school into naval museum

January 9th, 2014 Comments Off on Architecture students, faculty, alumni to help transform school into naval museum

MSU architecture assistant professor Jacob Gines (left) discusses the project as David Perkes, director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, looks on. (photo from Mississippi Press website)

MSU architecture assistant professor Jacob Gines (left) discusses the project as David Perkes, director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, looks on. (photo from Mississippi Press website)

Watch the video on WLOX.

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – The Mississippi Maritime Museum Group is getting some help transforming the old Pascagoula High School into a naval history museum.

The old building may not look like a museum now, but that will soon change. Mississippi State University architecture professors and students have teamed up with Mississippi Maritime Museum Group to breathe new life into this place.

“We are having the beginning of a Charette from Mississippi State School of Architecture,” said Museum Vice President Jack Hoover.

“The Charette means that they are coming in here and they will study this building as far as the best usage, plans and future development.”

During the two day trip, the MSU group will meet with maritime museum and city leaders to get insight on what they want to see developed here.

“It is a combination of looking at the kind of museum and what they need and also make into a great project for students,” said David Perkes, Director of MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.

Museum board member Robert Hardy also has some suggestions for the naval center.

“I think our primary focus is to build this museum as an educational tool and opportunity to gather and preserve artifacts,” said Hardy.

“We have a 300 year heritage going back to 1699 with maritime development on the Pascagoula River. Today, 85 percent of U.S. Navy warships that are active in the Navy were built here at Ingalls.”

MSU student John Taylor Schaffhauser of Canton said creating an action plan should be easy because there is potential in every room of this structure.

“It has some really good bones and when I walked in, I was immediately amazed how well lit it is. The natural light pouring in, it is feels how school should feel. The walls are thick and they’re honest. Yes, it really has some great potential,” Schaffhauser said.

Thursday afternoon, the MSU staff and students will present and discuss the details and visuals for the new Museum with city leaders and the maritime board. The meeting will be held at the Chamber of Commerce building in Pascagoula.

Read the story and see the video by the Mississippi Press.

Alumna Belinda Stewart holds Friday Forum lecture

October 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Alumna Belinda Stewart holds Friday Forum lecture

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School of Architecture alumna Belinda Stewart, FAIA, led a Friday Forum lecture on Oct. 4.

In “It’s All Local: The Value of Mississippi’s Vernacular Architecture,” Stewart discussed richness of place and all the influences in the state including local politics, local culture, local art, local music, local events, local food, local people, local stories, the local economy, local business and industry and local architecture.

“But I’m here to tell you how all those things influence architecture and can influence us and the buildings we design,” she said.

Stewart discussed what makes architecture “local” and how she thinks architects have a responsibility to get to know and connect with a community on all levels when designing a building.

“I encourage you to think broadly and think about all aspects of the community.”

Belinda Stewart serves on the school’s Advisory Council, is president of Belinda Stewart Architects PA.

Friday Forum is organized by Tau Sigma Delta.

Belinda Stewart Architects Fellow takes first at MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium

August 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Belinda Stewart Architects Fellow takes first at MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium

Taylor Keefer and Assistant Professor Jacob Gines visited this cotton mill in Jackson to discuss with the owners possibilities for what they can do with the site. Through her research, Keefer learned about what’s involved and the benefits to listing a building as a National Historical Landmark or on the National Register of Historic Places.

Taylor Keefer and Assistant Professor Jacob Gines visited this cotton mill in Jackson to discuss with the owners possibilities for what they can do with the site. Through her research, Keefer learned about what’s involved and the benefits to listing a building as a National Historical Landmark or on the National Register of Historic Places.

Belinda Stewart, FAIA, an alumna of the School of Architecture, recently established a student internship in the Carl Small Town Center (CSTC). The Belinda Stewart Architects Fellowship was established to afford an outstanding architecture student the opportunity to engage in design research and outreach efforts on behalf of small towns throughout the state, while honing their own design skills and gaining professional experience.

“The School of Architecture is set in Mississippi in the middle of incredible richness of design and architecture, a lot of which is in our small towns,” said Stewart. “Having the opportunity to know those structures and know why they evolved the way they did and why they were designed that way can make them a stronger architect. Whether they go on to practice that type of architecture or not, I think more and more people need to have the knowledge of what’s around them.”

The first Belinda Stewart Architects Fellow, Taylor Keefer, a fifth-year architecture student from Hueytown, Ala., spent the summer learning just that. She worked with the CSTC, Assistant Professor Jacob Gines and Stewart to research cotton mills in the state.

Stewart said her goal at her firm, Belinda Stewart Architects, is to help small towns figure out how they can have a viable future.

“Our philosophy is there’s always a way, and it’s just about helping them find that way,” she said. “Those are the kind of tools I think would be incredibly powerful for an intern … to go into communities and learn how to help them find that way.”

After Keefer had conducted extensive research that involved learning about the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historical Landmark, Stewart helped Keefer get in touch with the owners of a large cotton mill in Jackson. Keefer and Gines then visited the site to help the owners figure out what to do with the mill.

“They have a ton of ideas,” said Keefer, “But they still have to do lot of cleaning up of the site before anything can happen.”

Keefer said she and Gines discussed with the mill owners the possibility of getting a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) or Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) done of the property. They also explained the possibility of listing the mill on the National Register or getting it listed as a Historical Landmark.

After the visit and more research, Keefer presented her findings, “King Cotton,” at the recent Mississippi State University Undergraduate Research Symposium, and she won first place in the Arts and Humanities category.

Keefer learned a lot during her internship and said, “It did really show me how history, something I’ve always been interested in, really does apply to architecture and practice, not just research.”

She hopes her thesis project this year will expand on her summer research.

Click here to see Keefer’s poster for the research symposium.

Click here to see her abstract.

Keefer and Gines also mapped out on a Google Map all the cotton industry buildings throughout the state (existing, demolished and ruined) using historical data from Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, “an incredible undertaking,” according to Gines. Click here to see their work.

Architecture alumna Belinda Stewart elevated to AIA Fellow

February 12th, 2013 Comments Off on Architecture alumna Belinda Stewart elevated to AIA Fellow

Belinda Stewart was one of just 122 AIA members elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows by the 2013 Jury of Fellows.

Out of a total of over 80,000 AIA members, only about 3,000 members have received this distinguished honor.

Stewart, the founder of Belinda Stewart Architects, PA and past AIA Mississippi president, was honored in the Public Service Work category.

Anne Marie Decker, the current president of the Mississippi chapter of AIA, described Stewart in a congratulatory letter.

“Belinda has been serving her community and the state of Mississippi as an exceptional architect in the broadest sense of the term for many years. She is a trailblazer, a successful architect in small town Mississippi, the first female president of AIA Mississippi and now the first female Fellow of the Institute from Mississippi.” (Click here to read the full letter).

The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

Stewart and the 2013 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National AIA Convention.

See the list of 2013 AIA Fellows.

See Belinda Stewart’s Summary of Achievements.

School of Architecture alumna Belinda Stewart sponsors internship for Carl Small Town Center

December 6th, 2012 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumna Belinda Stewart sponsors internship for Carl Small Town Center

Belinda Stewart, front, and her team of fourteen employees at Belinda Stewart Architects, PA, have the goal of helping small towns figure out how they can have a viable future.

Belinda Stewart didn’t know much about the field of architecture growing up.

“I didn’t even know how to spell it,” she laughed.

That all changed, however, when the then-Associate Dean of the School of Architecture at Mississippi Sate University, James F. Barker, paid a visit to Stewart’s high school in Eupora to explain what architecture was.

“It blew me away,” she said, explaining that she had always enjoyed traipsing around after her grandfather, a carpenter, and loved to hear about how areas – especially buildings – had changed over time.

So, Stewart decided to give architecture a try and enrolled at Mississippi State.

It was there that she discovered her true passion after an assignment she received from Dr. Michael Fazio, her professor of architecture history.

“He assigned a report to us to discover and research something you are excited about to do with historic architecture,” she said, “something you want to be ‘an expert in.’”

Stewart chose to define the early historic architecture and how buildings evolved in her home of Webster County.

“I think’s that’s what really fired me up with these small towns,” she said, explaining that she discovered many of the buildings in Webster County were pre-Civil War. “It’s amazing that those structures are still there. It was exciting to learn about them.”

Encouraged by her interest in historical architecture of small towns, Stewart did her fifth-year thesis project on the study of vernacular architecture – specifically looking at why buildings evolved the way they did and the impact this knowledge could have on current design.

“I think that was an incredible base for an architect – knowing why things evolved in this area,” she said. “It’s just a great base to have.”

In fact, Stewart, the founder of Belinda Stewart Architects, PA, said she would like to encourage more of that type of study at the School of Architecture and has established the Belinda Stewart Architects Internship to help.

“The School of Architecture is set in Mississippi – in the middle of incredible richness of design and architecture – a lot of which is in our small towns,” Stewart said. “Having the opportunity to know those structures and know why they evolved the way they did and why they were designed that way can make them a stronger architect. Whether they go on to practice that type of architecture or not, I think more and more people need to have the knowledge of what’s around them.”

Stewart’s gift will support the competitive hiring of a student to join the staff of the Carl Small Town Center. The internship will afford an outstanding architecture student the opportunity to engage in design research and outreach efforts on behalf of small towns throughout the state, while honing their own design skills and gaining professional experience.

“There is so much need for small communities in the state,” said Stewart. “The economic base is not there any more for so many of them, and the vision has kind of been lost because the town’s base has been lost. Our goal is to help towns relook at themselves and, more importantly, to learn to appreciate what they have … what makes them unique and what makes them special.

Stewart and her team of fourteen employees have the goal of helping small towns figure out how they can have a viable future.

“Our philosophy is there’s always a way, and it’s just about helping them find that way,” she said. “Those are the kind of tools I think would be incredibly powerful for an intern … to go into communities and learn how to help them find that way.”

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