MSU School of Architecture curates coast exhibit

November 3rd, 2014 Comments Off on MSU School of Architecture curates coast exhibit

photo by David Lewis

photo by David Lewis

(Via David Lewis)

A continuation and expansion of the “Modern Mississippi” exhibit will be on display through the end of December at the Charnley-Norwood House in Ocean Springs.

The exhibit was curated and photographed by MSU School of Architecture students Landon Kennedy and David Lewis with the help of Assistant Professor Jacob Gines, faculty coordinator and photographer; student Mary Sanders, photographer; and student Casey Walker photographer.

“The Charnley-Norwood House was designed by Louis Sullivan,” said Lewis. “At the time, Frank Llyod Wright worked for Sullivan and is believed to have worked on the house. It was recently restored after being extremely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.”

The renovation/restoration project by Albert & Associates Architects P.A. recently received an Honor Award from the Mississippi AIA.

Architecture alumna Debra Brown featured in The Reflector

January 27th, 2014 Comments Off on Architecture alumna Debra Brown featured in The Reflector

True renaissance woman: Architecture alumna named first African- American female U.S. District Judge in Miss.

by David Lewis | The Reflector

With a unanimous vote of 90-0, the U.S. Senate appointed Mississippi State University alumna Debra Brown as the new U.S. District Judge presiding over north Mississippi. Brown is the first African-American female U.S. District Judge in Mississippi. Brown fills the position previously held by U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. who passed away in 2012.

brown_debraThe importance of her appointment lies not only in the racial boundaries that are torn down but also in her incredible work ethic. In an article by the Associated Press on, a “thrilled” and “honored” Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker said Brown has worked hard in all areas of her career so far.

“Ms. Brown is a proven trailblazer,” he said.
Wicker said Brown’s record proves her hard-working nature and paints her as a politician who cares about the public.

“(She has a) record of professional excellence, integrity and public service,” he said.

Wicker also said he is excited to have an architect as a judge.

“(Greenville is) in desperate need of a new state-of-the-art courthouse,” he said.

MSU President Mark Keenum told Leah Barbour in an MSU news release that many MSU alumni have had successful judicial careers. MSU alumnus Bill Waller Jr. currently resides as Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. Three of the nine justices who reside on the Mississippi Supreme Court are MSU graduates.

Though Brown works in politics, she did not study political science, pre-law or any subject typically associated with politics at MSU. Brown actually received her bachelor degree in architecture in 1987, and she made an impact in the department of architecture during her time at MSU.

She still serves on the School of Architecture Advisory Council. Michael Berk, director of the School of Architecture, said Brown focuses on students and keeping them first on the council.

“Debra Brown’s impact on the School of Architecture Advisory Council mostly centered on issues related to student scholarships and support,” he said. “She was, and still is, a strong advocate for students.”

Berk said though architecture is not a subject directly linked to politics, Brown’s success working with law and politics builds on the foundation of her architecture education.

“The pedagogy of architectural design education emphasizes and teaches organizational principles and hierarchical skills, enabling a student to rationally and logically analyze and solve complex problems — both socially and technically. It also balances this rationalism with intuition and compassion,” he said. “This type of renaissance knowledge (and unique balance of science and art) is of paramount importance in most fields and disciplines.”

Berk said with an education in architecture, the possibilities are endless. There are MSU architecture graduates in filmmaking, computer design with Apple, teaching, set design, graphic design, working with PBS and working with national major league baseball teams, just to name a few.

After Brown graduated from MSU, she began to work in the field of architecture and, ultimately, landed a job in Washington, D.C. There she worked on a myriad of projects involving commercial, residential and historical renovation work.

Brown then came back to Mississippi to pursue a law degree at the University of Mississippi and finished the degree in 1997. After graduation, much of her work included civil litigation and construction-related issues that tied back to her architectural education. Brown worked at several firms in Jackson as a partner at Phelps Dunbar and as a shareholder at Wise Carter Child & Caraway.

If Brown’s future in the Supreme Court follows the same trajectory as her professional life thus far, she will take Mississippi nowhere but up.

CAAD professors, student featured in Reflector article

October 15th, 2013 Comments Off on CAAD professors, student featured in Reflector article

Jacob Gines, assistant professor, shows students some of his work at the recent reception for the faculty exhibit in Giles Hall.

Jacob Gines shows students some of his work at the recent reception for the faculty exhibit in Giles Hall.

“Prolific Professors: MSU faculty produce projects behind the scenes, and they foster student development”

By Alie Dalee | The Reflector

One of the most understated relationships in a student’s daily life is the relation between student and professor — professors pour into students every day, positively alter their lives, feed them knowledge and shine light on their ideas. They have an unequivocal effect on students’ minds. Professors provide academic nourishment otherwise unavailable to students and color their minds with scholarship.

Professors know students’ thoughts and ideas. Professors read, edit and critique the work produced by the minds they so diligently cultivate. Yet, the work of professors is often unknown territory to students without time spent carefully combing faculty websites in search of professors’ research and accolades.

Professors continue to produce work outside of teaching to fulfill the research the university and professorship requires. However, some professors go beyond research requirements and continue to hone their craft while they teach.

Catherine Pierce, co-director of Mississippi State University’s creative writing program, is the author of two  volumes of poetry and is published in a plethora of literary reviews. She said via email she finds her writing gives her a sense of camaraderie with the students she teaches.

“I hope my students find it encouraging to know that I’m doing the same sort of work I’m asking them to do and that I’m facing the same kinds of challenges daily with regard to revising and generating new ideas,” Pierce said.

Brent Funderburk is the fine arts thesis coordinator for MSU’s Department of Art. His work hangs at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Miss. He said as an artist he uses an extensive amount of his time to create, pretend and delve into ideas.

“I just wanted to run away, to be alone and make things,” he said. “It was always a spiritual experience to be alone. I deeply long for that state — to be alone, to find things.”

Funderburk finds part of his identity in his utilization of art as a creative outlet. He said there is also an equal part of him that identifies with students and yearns to help them understand the creation of art.

He explained his underlying need to teach others art, paralleled with his introspective desire to create, leads him to be an introverted-extrovert and exhibit a need to converse with people who share the same ideas about art. He said it is this part of his person that led him to teach.

“You can’t be still and quiet and working all at the same time, so I was encouraged to teach. I like to perform, so that was a stage where you can have a conversation,” Funderburk said. “The studio classroom is a place where you can jam with your students. Their ideas, your ideas — everyone can play music together and orchestrate that classroom.”

MSU’s School of Architecture makes significant strides to close the gap between professor and student this month. Tau Sigma Delta architectural honor society presents “Exposing Faculty,” a gallery exhibit specifically geared to display the sketches, sculptures, models and other works produced by School of Architecture faculty.

Housed in the peninsula of windows that make up Giles Gallery, Jacob Gines, visiting assistant professor of architecture and faculty adviser to TSD, has models and sketches in the exhibit that are some of the first to catch the eye upon entry.

His sketchbooks display structures across Spain and America with minimalistic beauty in intricately illustrated pencil with watercolor overlay. His master’s thesis, “Hip-Hop in Architecture,” is on display and includes a book ranging from historical accounts of hip-hop to architecture models scaled after the beats of a Tupac Shakur song. Gines said the catalyst for part of his thesis is the similarities he sees between hip-hop music and the design of buildings.

“I wanted to analyze them (hip-hop songs) based on the rhythms, and beats and patterns that existed. Architecture really deals with those same principles, rhythm and proportion and scale,” Gines said. “It’s very clear in hip-hop because those beats are expressed so clearly.”

Gines said the “Exposing Faculty” gallery allows the architecture faculty an opportunity to display the creative work and models they produce outside the classroom.

“At the School of Architecture, we interact with our students so directly all the time. We are constantly critiquing their work,” Gines said. “I think when the students see the work that we’re doing, they probably take us a bit more seriously.”

David Lewis, fourth year architecture major and current president of TSD, is the student curator of the “Exposing Faculty” exhibit. To create the exhibit, he received instruction from the majority of professors featured in the exhibition. He said he gains invaluable inspiration from viewing his professors’ work.

“I think it’s been really beneficial to be able to see that not only do the professors do architecture works, but they do other works. They can pursue other creative outlets,” Lewis said. “Plus it also gives us a really grounded sense. It establishes the credibility of our professors. To see these pretty incredible things that they’ve done gives us not only faith in the things that they know, but in the opportunities we have out there for us.”

The “Exposing Faculty” exhibit is currently on display in the Giles Gallery on the third floor of Giles Hall until Oct. 15.

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