Materials class visits Columbus Brick

February 23rd, 2015 Comments Off

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A group of 40 students in Assistant Professor Jacob Gines’ materials class recently visited Columbus Brick Company in Columbus.

A special thanks to Butch Reed, sales manager, who coordinated a tour of the plant’s entire operation for the group, which included a look at the raw materials as well as explanations of the processes of mixtures and molding, how the bricks are manufactured and the firing process.

This is the third year Gines has taken his class on a trip to Columbus Brick.

“It’s so wonderful the way they interact with the students,” he said. “For them to see the manual and then the mechanized part is pretty incredible.”

He said the highlight of this trip was at the end of the tour when students were able to work alongside four experienced brick masons who were invited to conduct a workshop and demonstration.

Students were challenged to build a temporary brick wall.

“Parts of it were not that great,” laughed Gines. “But that’s to be expected.”

Gines said he was especially glad his students were able to see the pride the masons take in their craft.

“What a wonderful opportunity to get some hands-on experience and to understand and appreciate the work of masons and that it’s extremely skilled work and not something everyone can do.”

CAAD hosts annual career panel discussion

February 5th, 2015 Comments Off

In conjunction with MSU’s Career Days, the College of Architecture, Art and Design held a panel discussion with representatives from the college’s four areas of study (architecture, art, interior design and building construction science.)

The panel was held on Feb. 4 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall. A reception followed immediately after the question-and-answer session.

Beth Miller, director of the Interior Design Program, severed as moderator.

Panelists included:

• Architecture: Ann Somers, AIA, Principal, CDFL Architects + Engineers, P.A. Somers serves on the School of Architecture Advisory Board and is a 1981 graduate.
• Art: Mary Beth McDavid, Creative Director, DPM Fragrance
• Building Construction Science: Adam Moore and Trey Jacobs, Project Managers, Montgomery Martin Contractors, LLC. Jacobs and Moore graduated from the Building Construction Science Program in 2013.
• Interior Design: Ashley Hughes, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C, Certified Interior Designer MS & FL, Pryor & Morrow Architects & Engineers. Hughes is a 2007 graduate of the Interior Design Program.

The panel began with general introductions.

CAAD Career Panel from CAADatMSU on Vimeo.

Then, Miller, asked the first question: What do you look at in a potential new hire?

  • Moore said the most important thing is a good attitude and how you carry yourself. He also said being able to communicate is important.
  • Jacobs said he looks for experience of any type.
  • McDavid looks for candidates that have an “entrepreneurial spirit.” “We try to get an idea if a candidate can manage a project.” She encouraged students to have a job while in school and be involved to show they can balance work and school.
  • Hughes said, “how you carry yourself.” She said candidates should show confidence and also be open to learning from others. She encouraged students to ask questions and added that organization is also important.
  • Somers said the first look at a new candidate is the resume and letter. She said her firm looks at the graphics and tries to see if the candidate’s style matches the firm. Therefore, she encouraged students to match their resume to the firm. Somers said different things stand out to her – sometimes GPA, sometimes experience, sometimes design work. She said she loves when students say they are going to follow up with a phone call, and they actually follow through. She said her firm always brings in those candidates at least for a meeting.

Next, students were given the chance to ask questions.

What is your favorite part of the design process?

  • Somers said she enjoys the fact that as an architect, she gets to learn something new every day. She also enjoys collaboration with a team.
  • Hughes finds the most important part of her job is to make sure the client is happy with what her company provides. She said she enjoys the time after meeting with a client when she gets to work on developing the solution to the design problem.
  • McDavid enjoys customer interaction and agreed with Hughes that it’s enjoyable to solve a design problem. She also said it’s very rewarding to see a product she had a part in designing sitting on a retail shelf and being promoted internationally.
  • Moore said he doesn’t really have as much to do with the design process but enjoys that owners value his opinion on budget issues and being cost-effective with projects.

What are some of the responsibilities of a junior designer?

  • Hughes recalled a time at her first company when she was invited to lunch with the CEO. He told her that the number one thing he wanted her to do for him while working at the company was to learn. She agreed that the number one goal when starting a job should be to be willing to learn and have a willing attitude. “They will put into you what you are trying to get out of it,” she said, adding “You are just as much in control of your future as the person you work for, and that’s a really powerful thing.” Hughes also said that interior designers should expect to do a lot of drafting, and she praised the MSU Interior Design program for training her in Revit – something she said gave her a leg up in her first job.
  • McDavid said that the majority of their new hires are in their first job out of school. She said she loves that they are “not afraid to just jump in and run with it.” She encouraged everyone to take ownership and show initiative in projects and not to come in thinking of a position as a junior position. “Have the attitude of ‘what will I know in a month, and how can I make myself valuable to the company.'”
  • Somers added that students now are coming in with new skills that they are able to teach employees who have been working at companies longer.
  • Jacobs told students that entry-level jobs in his field involve a lot of paperwork. “They’ll put as much on you as you show you can handle. It’s a lot of on-the-job training,” he said, adding that the more you are willing to take on and learn, the quicker you will move up.
  • McDavid added that new hires shouldn’t be discouraged by having to do paperwork or the more mundane parts of a project. “Own those with passion,” she said.

What makes an employee the most valuable to a team?

  • Hughes said it’s important to be able to count on a team member – that a project will get done and get done correctly. She also said it’s important to be able to trust a team member.
  • Somers said, “Attitude is key,” adding that it’s important to be thorough, and that that’s often something that has to be learned – often through a more senior mentor.
  • McDavid values a team member who is able to take feedback, listen, ask questions, and apply it all.
  • Moore said it’s important to have initiative and a good attitude. “Go learn from the guy next to you,” he said.

(Directed toward construction representatives) What factors led toward your decision to work for a medium-sized contractor?

  • Moore and Jacobs both credited the decision partly on family and wanting to not move around as much. Moore added that he would have “felt like just another guy – a number” at a larger company, adding with pride that Mr. Montgomery Martin walks by him every day and knows him by name.
  • Hughes said her first company was medium-sized, and she values that she was able to get so much one-on-one training. “The most important thing I feel like I can tell you is in your interview process, try to gauge if they have a mentorship program because that is what is going to help you the most to further your career,” she said.
  • Somers said she has had the opportunity to travel and work at both large and small firms. She encouraged students to do the same. “I don’t think you’ll totally know what you want until you are immersed in it,” she said

(Directed toward architecture representative) What are the advantages of working for a large firm?

  • Somers said large firms usually have teams that work on culture and put more into training. “They have a different way they distribute work, and the mechanics are just different.” She also said how you rise to success is different in a large firm because there is usually stiff competition, which she said can often push you more.

The panel discussion ended with a final question from the moderator: What are some tips for the interview process?

Tips for an inteview – Adam Moore from CAADatMSU on Vimeo.

  • Jacobs: Be able to elaborate, be able to communicate, and be well-rounded.
  • McDavid: Ask questions and be conversational (not just one-word answers).
  • Hughes: “First impressions are key.” Know about the company, and know what your future goals are.
  • Somers: Her current firm (CDFL) looks to see if you are a good fit for the firm and will ask questions about your priorities in life and work. They want it to be a good fit for you as well. “Think about who you are interviewing with and know where you want to head in your career. You want the firm to want you as much as you want the job.” Somers added that larger firms seem to have more clear-cut interviews, and it’s good to have a salary and benefits in mind for the interview.

School of Architecture, TSD hold reception for ‘Container Architecture Exhibition’

February 4th, 2015 Comments Off

A reception was held on Feb. 2 for the current exhibition on display in the Giles Gallery.

The School of Architecture’s Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society (TSD) will host Jure Kotnik’s “Container Architecture Exhibition” through Feb. 25.

Jure Kotnik’s widely acclaimed exhibit explores the rising trend of shipping container architecture. The exhibit showcases the most high profile container projects from around the globe.

The exhibition features the work of Adam Kalkin (USA), AFF Architekten (Germany), DeMaria Design Associates (USA), HVDN Architecten (Netherlands), Hybrid (USA), Knock.Se (Sweden), Lot-Ek (USA), Luc Deleu (Belgium), MMW Architects (Norway), Nicholas Lacey & Partners (UK), Phooey Architects (Australia), Pierre Morency Architecten (Canada), Platoon + Graft (Germany), Shigeru Ban Architects (Japan), Spillmann-Echsle (Swiss), Spillmann-Felser (Swiss), Will Alsop Design Ltd. (UK) and Jure Kotnik (Slovenia).

School of Architecture alumnus named ‘Engineering News-Record’ top 20 under 40

January 27th, 2015 Comments Off

(Via W. Scott Allen)

Each year, Engineering News-Record magazine’s regional editions celebrate rising stars and the excellence of construction professionals.

In 2015, each region highlighted 20 individuals under the age of 40 who represent the “Best-of-the-Best” in their construction and design careers by advancing their companies and the industry and by giving back to their communities.

W. Scott Allen, Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C, was one of these 20 recipients.

Photo credit: Perkins+Will / Genia Narinskaya

Photo credit: Perkins+Will / Genia Narinskaya

Allen, a New York-based project designer with the global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will and a 2010 graduate of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture, was also highlighted in the February 2015 Issue of  Engineering News-Record’s as a “Design Wunderkind.”

His portfolio encompasses over thirty million square feet of work throughout a broad range of building types, and most recently, his ideas and lectures have been seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Record, Fortune, Fast Company, CNN, USA Today, World Landscape Architecture, Bloomberg Business and various smaller publications. His work has also been exhibited in museums and art galleries nationally and abroad.

Allen’s work revolves around asking the unconventional and unique questions provoking new relationships to redefine the built environment for the next generation. His creative process has been characterized by an ideal, yet hyper, practical approach, combining rational and environmental analysis, cultural and social perspectives, and inventive formal solutions. Most recently he has completed designs on an 80-story tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; created an urban reorganization plan for Salt Lake City, Utah; won an international design competition for a confidential consumer goods company’s North American headquarters, securing a new net-zero office development; and he’s currently working on two 60-story luxury residential towers in midtown Manhattan, NY, and numerous other large-scale urban design and commercial projects.

Located at the intersection of design, culture and economy, Allen starts each new project free of predetermined ideas. His design process looks at architecture’s fundamental elements and their relationships to our cities, where his projects integrate commerce, sustainability, urban infrastructure, civic space, custom construction techniques, culture and occupancy issues. His practical and form-generative approach creates projects that take on inspiring solutions that meet the needs of users and are meaningful to their context.

Photo credit: Scott Allen

Photo credit: Scott Allen

Contact Scott at w.scott.allen@perkinswill.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/wscotta

CAAD to host panel discussion in conjunction with spring MSU Career Days

January 27th, 2015 Comments Off

The College of Architecture, Art, and Design will host a special career presentation panel discussion for students in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium (Giles Hall) following the MSU Career Fair on Feb. 4 at 4:30 p.m.

Panelists include:
• Ann Somers, AIA, Principal, CDFL Architects + Engineers, P.A.

• Mary Beth McDavid, Creative Director, DPM Fragrance

• Adam Moore, Montgomery Martin Contractors, LLC

• Ashley Hughes, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C, Certified Interior Designer MS & FL, Pryor & Morrow Architects & Engineers

A reception will follow at 5:30 p.m. for students and professionals in Giles Hall.

The Spring MSU Career Days will be held Feb. 3 (business and non-technical organizations) and Feb. 4 (engineering and technical organizations) from noon – 4 p.m. in the Humphrey Coliseum on MSU’s Starkville campus.

If you have any questions about MSU Career Days, please contact our representative with the Career Center, Ryan Colvin, rcolvin@career.msstate.edu or 662-325-3344.

TSD to host Jure Kotnik’s ‘Container Architecture Exhibition’

January 27th, 2015 Comments Off

CONTAINER ARCHITECTURE POSTER.indd

The School of Architecture’s Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society (TSD) will host Jure Kotnik’s “Container Architecture Exhibition” from Jan. 28 through Feb. 25.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Feb. 2 at 5:15 p.m.

Jure Kotnik’s widely acclaimed exhibit that explores the rising trend of shipping container architecture. The exhibit showcases the most high profile container projects from around the globe.

The exhibition features the work of Adam Kalkin (USA), AFF Architekten (Germany), DeMaria Design Associates (USA), HVDN Architecten (Netherlands), Hybrid (USA), Knock.Se (Sweden), Lot-Ek (USA), Luc Deleu (Belgium), MMW Architects (Norway), Nicholas Lacey & Partners (UK), Phooey Architects (Australia), Pierre Morency Architecten (Canada), Platoon + Graft (Germany), Shigeru Ban Architects (Japan), Spillmann-Echsle (Swiss), Spillmann-Felser (Swiss), Will Alsop Design Ltd. (UK) and Jure Kotnik (Slovenia).

Download the poster.

Gregory to present at CASLE Mini-Grants Workshop

January 20th, 2015 Comments Off

Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory, AIA, will present at the CASLE Mini-Grants Workshop on Thurs., Feb. 5, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in 1405 Presentation Room at the Mitchell Memorial Library.

The workshop will provide an overview of the service-learning mini-grant program offered by the Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence (CASLE) including the mini-grant application process and examples of funded service-learning projects.

Gregory received a service-learning grant in the past and will share about her project.

Service-Learning Advisory Committee members will also discuss the best ways to write proposals that will be funded.

For more information, visit servicelearning.msstate.edu

Housing revitalization project celebrated by MSU, community leaders

January 5th, 2015 Comments Off

 

New homeowners in Baptist Town celebrated the opening of their new residencies at a Friday [Dec. 19] ceremony in Greenwood, while community leaders congratulated them.

New homeowners in Baptist Town celebrated the opening of their new residencies at a Friday [Dec. 19] ceremony in Greenwood, while community leaders congratulated them.

By Leah Barbour | MSU

After 13 years of continuing collaborative efforts, led by Mississippi State University’s Carl Small Town Center, 10 families in a historically African-American neighborhood in the Mississippi Delta are realizing the dream of homeownership.

Baptist Town, famous for being a residence of blues legend Robert Johnson and Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman, is a culturally rich community in east Greenwood. However, because of challenges related to high unemployment and rising crime rates, similar to many Delta neighborhoods, quality of life in Baptist Town declined as the economy weakened.

Greenwood native Fred E. Carl Jr., a former MSU architecture major and major university benefactor who founded Viking Range Corp., funded a grant in 2001 for MSU Small Town Center leaders to develop a master plan for Baptist Town revitalization. The plan, completed in 2003 when Carl endowed the center as the Carl Small Town Center, identified the community’s key needs as affordable and functional housing, safer public spaces and improved infrastructure.

Following the formation of a new coalition among the center, Greenwood-Leflore-Carroll Economic Development Foundation, the Foundation for the Midsouth and other community organizations in 2009, an updated master plan was released in 2010.

This plan won the 2011 Outstanding Student Project award of the American Planning Association. In 2012, the center was selected as one of only four organizations in the country to host a national Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, Emily Roush Elliott. She, as an employee of MSU’s center and the local development foundation, was tasked with implementing the major components of the award-winning Baptist Town master plan.

On Friday [Dec. 19], one of her major responsibilities–bringing affordable housing to Baptist Town–was realized. Ten families have begun moving into brand new homes, and they are excited about their new roles as homebuyers, Elliott said. The community celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The neighborhood here has been a strong partner as we’ve provided education for these new homeowners,” she said. “None of these new homes are for rent or for lease; we just divide out what we invest in the project, and we sell it for that much.”

New homeowners in Baptist Town include Dorothy Russell, James Melvin Williams, Brenda Gray, David Lee Thomas, Mable Miller, Lora and Michael Gallion, Shakera Harris, Earlene Smith, Mattie Brown and Betty Montgomery.

The new homes come on the heels of some of Elliott’s other major accomplishments in Baptist Town. A children’s play park was renovated, and a pocket park with seating and lighting was created for local residents. Also, sidewalks, streetlights, signage and landscaping have improved the community’s appearance.

Elliott’s next major goal is the development of a community center. The space will become a place to foster youth education and community activities, she said.

“I feel like this is a project that just keeps giving,” she said. “The greatest moment hasn’t probably even happened yet. But installing these houses and watching people move in–it’s the biggest moment so far.”

More information about the Carl Small Town Center, the service arm of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, is available at http://carlsmalltowncenter.org/

Watch the video.

Architecture student recognized by MSU retired faculty group

December 18th, 2014 Comments Off

Patrick Brown presents his end-of-semester project on Dec. 2, 2014.

Patrick Brown presents his end-of-semester project on Dec. 2, 2014.

By Leah Barbour | MSU Public Affairs

Five upper-level students at Mississippi State are 2014 honorees of the university’s Association of Retired Faculty.

Juniors Patrick D. Brown of Hernando, Kylie A. Dennis of Memphis, Tennessee, and Peyton Williams of Pontotoc, along with seniors Joanna L. King of Bentonia and Ryan J. Weitzel of Gulfport, recently were recognized at the organization’s annual undergraduate award ceremony.

Brown is an architecture major; Dennis, an English major; King, agribusiness with a concentration in management; Williams, a biochemistry major with a concentration in pre-veterinary biochemistry; and Weitzel, industrial and systems engineering.

Dennis, Williams and Weitzel are MSU President’s List Scholars, while Brown is a Dean’s List Scholar. Dennis and Weitzel also are Shackouls Honors College members.

Founded in 1986, MSU’s Association of Retired Faculty presents awards that serve as tributes or memorials to campus colleagues and association members who made major contributions to student development over their careers at the 136-year-old land-grant institution.

Of this year’s group of honorees:

–Brown, the son of Barry Brown of Byhalia and Earline Wallace of Hernando, received the William L. Giles Award for Excellence in Architecture. He serves as design chair for the campus chapter of Alpha Rho Chi fraternity for majors in architecture and related fields, and holds the designation of Beta Class Member. A winner of several design awards, Brown currently works with MSU’s Joe Frank Sanderson Center to develop custom furnishings for the recreation facility.

–Dennis, the daughter of Barbara Dennis of Sarasota, Florida, and Charles Louis Dennis of Lake Charles, Louisiana, received the Peyton Ward Williams Jr. Distinguished Writing Award. Her research paper exploring Shakespeare’s portrayal and usage of language in “Hamlet” added new perspective to the extensive body of literature on the subject. Her work demonstrated the main character’s evolved understanding of the dynamic nature of language and its relationship with power.

–King, the daughter of Josh L. King and Tamra King, was selected for the Exemplary Service Award honoring Wallace Killcreas, professor emeritus of agricultural economics. In addition to serving two internships with Farm Credit Mid-America in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and another internship with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Washington, D.C., she was part of the winning team in student competition at the 2013 Southern Agricultural Economics Association conference. Next month, she begins graduate school at Texas Tech University.

–Weitzel, the son of Randall and Robin Weitzel, was honored with the Harry Charles F. Simrall Award for Engineering Excellence. He is president of campus chapters of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and Alpha Pi Mu industrial engineering honor society. Following a summer internship at the Argonne National Laboratory’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, he presently is working with FedEx representatives in the development of new GPS capabilities.

–Williams, the daughter of James and Janet Williams of Houlka, received the Charles E. Lindley Leadership Award. Accepted in 2012 into the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Early Entry Program, she is a member of Lambda Sigma national honor society. In addition to the Collegiate Cattlemen’s Association, she is a member–and current president–of the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Science Ambassadors.

The RFA awards are memorials for Giles, MSU’s 13th president; Lindley, dean of the then-College of Agriculture and Home Economics; Simrall, dean of the then-College of Engineering; and Williams, an English professor and editor the campus-based Mississippi Quarterly.

Killcreas, a Starkville resident, began teaching agricultural economics at MSU in 1978 and became a professor emeritus in 2003.

Read the story at WCBI.com.

Alumnus’s firm recognized in ‘Interior Design’ magazine’s Best of Year 2014

December 17th, 2014 Comments Off

Brian Roberson

Brian Roberson

Best of Year event (photos by Brian Roberson)

Best of Year event (photo by Brian Roberson)

(Via Beth Roberson)

On Thurs., Dec. 4,  bDot Architecture was honored at the 9th Annual Interior Design magazine Best of Year Awards ceremony in the IAC Building in New York City.

The Best of Year Awards is the preeminent design competition recognizing superior interior design products and projects from around the globe. Joining over 950 top designers and manufacturers in a standing room only venue, bDot won “Best of Year” in the Budget category for The Clubhouse. The Birmingham, Ala., based multidisciplinary design studio took home the distinctive bulb-shaped award, presented by Editor-in-chief Cindy Allen, in the budget category, which included projects from as far away as Guangzhou, China. Over 2,000 submissions were considered across dozens of categories and submitted from four continents.

Brian Roberson, owner of bDot and a 1995 graduate of the MSU School of Architecture, commented that “the experience of gathering with incredibly talented people was a wonderful blessing but even more, the opportunity to be inspired by the work of your peers and being moved by the achievements of great design.

When we designed The Clubhouse, we used it as an opportunity to think back to our childhood when our eyes were open to the mystery and verticality of the woods. Taking those feelings and memories, we reinterpreted them into an architectural experience using elements such as a rope ladder, a secret hatch, an observation deck and the horizontal play of shadows throughout the space.”

bDot is focused on crafting project solutions that are meaningful and encompass both a modern relevance and a timeless nature. From creative and cost-conscious architecture to modern furniture, lighting and art, bDot is dedicated to providing a unique and holistic approach to design and affordable solutions to meet the needs of their clients. The company’s website is located at www.bdota.com. They can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Photos of The Clubhouse (photos by Brian Roberson):

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