Katrina documentary features Gulf Coast Community Design Studio director

August 24th, 2015 Comments Off on Katrina documentary features Gulf Coast Community Design Studio director


The director of Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is part of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s new documentary about Hurricane Katrina, its impact on the region and the 10-year recovery process.

MPB interviewed David Perkes about the center’s work for its special, “Rising Above the Surge: The Post Katrina Coast.”

The documentary will air on Wednesday [Aug. 26] at 7 p.m., and again on Saturday [Aug. 29] at 7 p.m., as part of MPB’s special coverage of Hurricane Katrina 10 years after it made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is embedded in Biloxi, and provides planning and architectural design assistance to communities and nonprofit organizations following Hurricane Katrina. Since Katrina struck in August 2005, the design studio work has led to over 150 new houses and redevelopment plans for neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast.

For more information, please visit www.gccds.org or contact Perkes at 228-436-4661 or dperkes@gccds.msstate.edu.

CAAD research center provides fresh prospective at state conference

April 13th, 2015 Comments Off on CAAD research center provides fresh prospective at state conference

Johnson

Johnson

Kelsey Johnson, planner with MSU’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, was asked to present at the 2015 Mississippi Water Resources Conference in Jackson on April 7.

The Design Studio – one of two research centers in the College of Architecture, Art and Design – was able to bring a fresh perspective to the conference, which has a heavy science focus.

Johnson presented on the significant role of education and outreach during the development of a watershed implementation plan.  Since the end of 2013, the Design Studio has been facilitating the development of a watershed implementation plan for Rotten Bayou Watershed in Hancock and Harrison Counties.

The presentation was titled “Improving Water Quality through Watershed Planning, Design & Innovative Outreach Activities.”  Strategies presented included working with nontraditional partners such as a churches, libraries, golf courses and an educational puppet show; utilizing social media and raffles to make participation appealing and accessible; and leveraging funding from NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico B-WET Program to connect students at a local elementary school to the watershed planning work.

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.

GCCDS planner discusses Katrina recovery on MPB

August 29th, 2013 Comments Off on GCCDS planner discusses Katrina recovery on MPB

Hurricane Katrina damage in Gulfport, Mississippi. Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_katrina_damage_gulfport_mississippi.jpg

Hurricane Katrina damage in Gulfport, Mississippi. Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_katrina_damage_gulfport_mississippi.jpg

Today is the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The monster storm caused $90 billion of damage throughout Mississippi. Some 52,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged on the Gulf Coast on that single day in 2005. Eight years later, signs of recovery in Mississippi are apparent from repaired and rebuilt schools to museums and homes.

Cheryl Wintzel describes some of the services offered to the homeless here at Back Bay Mission in Biloxi.

Wintzel and her fiancé are homeless now, living in their car and visit the mission four times a week for showers, food, and to look for work on the computers here. This wasn’t how she lived before Hurricane Katrina upended the economy on the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Unemployment leaped to 22 percent the month after the storm. It’s now about 8 percent, and Wintzel is still struggling to find steady work.

“It’s just like I can’t get a toe-hold, all that’s kind of at a standstill, it’s gone downhill financially and here I am,” says Wintzel.

Jill Cartledge is  a caseworker at Back Bay Mission. She says disruptions in jobs on top of unexpected rebuilding and moving costs after Katrina has led to a cycle of debt for many families on the Gulf Coast.

“Some of my families have just never gotten out from under since Katrina, and then there was the BP oil spill and many stuggled from that.  So there have just be so many things that have happened to the people on the Gulf Coast, some are Gulf Coast only oriented and others are national like our economy,” says Cartledge.

More than $2 billion dollars has been spent to restore and rebuild housing in Mississippi since Katrina. Most local community leaders agree there is now plenty of housing on the coast, with vacancy rates in the double-digits. But, they say, much of this housing isn’t affordable to the people who need it. Waiting lists for subsidized housing number in the thousands. But Cheryl Wintzel says it’s still a tough situation.

“Unless you can get in Section 8, if you can get in Biloxi housing based on your income, whatever it is, if you have to go out and pay full price on rent or a house payment, if you don’t have the money, the income coming in to pay it, you’re not going to be able to stay in it, you’re going to be right back out there, back and forth, homeless and in and unfortunately that is what has happened to me and my fiance,” continues Wintzel.

According to an analysis by the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, almost half of renters and a third of home owners on the coast are cost burdened – that is, they’re paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing.  Planner Kelsey Johnson says the question isn’t whether there’s as much housing now but whether the housing there is fits the coast’s current needs.

“If you probably look at the numbers, it’s probably pretty close, our housing has come back and we definitely have enough, I would say enough housing stock the question is, ‘Is it in the right place?’ and ‘Are people able to access that housing?’,” says Johnson.

Johnson says a number of factors have affected affordability: it costs more to build elevated homes, and homeowners insurance is expensive. But while wind premiums seem to have stabilized, Gulf Coast communities  are now facing the specter of skyrocketing flood insurance costs.

Diane Sager and her mother Bo are speaking to federal and state leaders, including the head of the national flood insurance program, while standing under their Henderson Point home. The house perches more than 18 feet above sea level. The Sagers built the home in 2008 at an elevation that they say was higher than even required at the time.

But new flood maps implemented the following year lifted the elevation requirement even higher. They’ve been grandfathered in for flood insurance, but a new law says they will now lose that grandfathering status the next time the area is mapped.

“I’m going from $500 to almost $7000 in flood insurance that’s totally out the wall it’s unbelievable, either grandfather us in because I did everything right so as a citizen I’m being punished for having done everything right, doesn’t make sense,” says Sager.

Diane’s parents, Bo and Jim, both in their 80s, are on fixed incomes. Bo tells the gathered officials that she’s had flood insurance since the 1970s and can’t imagine losing it.

“We need some kind of resolution so that we can rest better, at the age we’ve reached and we don’t rest because we don’t know what’s going to happen with this hurricane season,” says Bo.  “I never worried about hurricanes before, I’m used to hurricanes and I know how to avoid them and what to do but what happens now if we lose this with no insurance, I don’t know what we’ll do.”

Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott says the soaring flood insurance rates, which are already hitting second homes, could devastate beach communities like his, ruining property values.

“Wind coverage was bad, we knew that and all the people that are in the insurance business all said ‘If you can just go 8, 10, 12 years, it will settle down,’ so we live with that whether it does or not, you throw this flood in there, you just killed it, it’s over with,” says McDermott.

There are a number of efforts in Congress now to delay implementation of parts of the bill for one year, and Mississippi 4th District Congressman Steven Palazzo says he thinks there’s an appetite among lawmakers for finding a long-term solution as well.

Research center director part of team receiving $100,000 research grant

July 25th, 2013 Comments Off on Research center director part of team receiving $100,000 research grant

(By Kenneth Billings | MSU)

David Perkes

David Perkes

A member of the Mississippi State architecture faculty is part of a four-person team receiving the American Institute of Architecture’s prestigious Latrobe Prize.

The $100,000 research grant this year is going to associate professor David Perkes, director of the university’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi; Bryan Bell, executive director of Design Corps; University of Illinois at Chicago professor Roberta Feldman; and Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University.

The honor recognizes their proposal, titled “Public Interest Practice in Architecture.” The team will “investigate the needs that can be addressed by public interest practices and the variety of ways that public interest practices are operating.”

Perkes has led the Harrison County studio since 2005, when it was established to provide architectural design and planning services, and leadership to Mississippi coastal communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Perkes said their research will focus on three questions: what are needs that may be addressed by public interest practices; how current public interest practices are operating; and what is necessary for public interest work to become a significant segment of architectural practice?

“Our research will benefit the public, in part, from the knowledge gained about the public’s needs and the effectiveness of architectural practice to address those needs from the surveys and interviews,” Perkes said. “Our objectives overall are intended to strengthen existing practices and to provide guidance for the development of a public interest component for a significant segment of architectural practice.”

The grant, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. (For more on the AIA, visit www.aia.org/.)

Read the guide,“Wisdom from the Field: Public Interest Architecture in Practice,” co-authored by Perkes.

Read the article by Archinect News.

Dean Jim West featured in Starkville Daily News

April 30th, 2013 Comments Off on Dean Jim West featured in Starkville Daily News

Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, gave a presentation on the college’s statewide impact at the Starkville Rotary Club on Monday, April 29 at the Starkville Country Club.

Click to read the article by Steven Nalley in the Starkville Daily News from April 30.

AIA MS 2012 Design Awards announced

July 12th, 2012 Comments Off on AIA MS 2012 Design Awards announced

The AIA Mississippi 2012 Convention was held in Destin, Florida, from July 6 through July 9, 2012.

The highest award a firm can receive is the Honor Award, followed by the Merit and Citation Awards. A seventh award, the Sambo Mockbee Membership Award, is an award voted upon by the AIA Membership and presented at the convention.

The School of Architecture was well represented. Congratulations to all the award winners.

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