School of Architecture director named 2014 University of Florida distinguished Architecture Alumnus

April 17th, 2014 Comments Off

Michael Berk with Green Mobile project - ArchitectureMichael A. Berk, AIA, has been selected by the University of Florida to receive the 2014 Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award.

Berk, director of the MSU School of Architecture and F.L. Crane Endowed Professor, is a 1981 graduate of the University of Florida.

Florida’s College of Design,
 Construction and Planning honors recipients in each
 of its five units – architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, building construction, and urban and regional planning – annually with this award.

The architecture awards are chosen by faculty
 for the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the School of Architecture, academia and the profession of architecture.

“To receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from an institution of the caliber and with the national reputation that the School of Architecture at the University of Florida caries is an award of the very highest level,” said Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. “This award is one given by your peers, architects and professors who have followed your work and achievements for many years.  These awards are given to individuals who have had a notable impact on the profession of architecture and in the case of Michael Berk have also left a recognizable and indelible imprint on countless students who have worked and studied under his guidance in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State.  I can think of no alumnus more deserving of this recognition.”

Berk was honored at an awards ceremony on March 
31 at the University of Florida, where he also participated in the school’s Masters Research Projects (MRP) final presentations jury review with fellow critics Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Berk is a registered architect with an extensive practice as a design partner in the West Palm Beach firm (AOA) prior to his return to the academy. Berk teaches and researches in the areas of Information Design and Factory-built Housing (GreenMobile®). He is considered by many to be an expert in the area of ecological design; recent lecture invitations include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Hearst Lecture Series Cal Poly, Rural Studio and the National Building Museum. Berk has been responsible for more than $7 million in funded research. He was also a pioneer in design studio pedagogies; his Digital Nomads (1992) program created the first student-owned laptop requirement (breaking the machine out of the traditional computer lab) and strategically placed it along-side power saws and drawing boards to complement traditional analog design processes.

Lunch, lecture concludes 2013-2014 Harrison Lecture Series

April 15th, 2014 Comments Off

Bob Harris 04112014 13

The School of Architecture Lecture Committee hosted a cookout reception for all School of Architecture students and faculty on Fri., April 1, in honor of Bob Harris.

The reception, held in the Giles Hall Courtyard, was coordinated and run by students from all four architecture student organizations including AIAS, Alpha Rho Chi, NOMAS and Tau Sigma Delta.

Immediately following the cookout, Harris presented the final Harrison Lecture of the 2013-2014 Harrison Lecture Series. (Harris’ lecture, originally scheduled for Jan. 31, was postponed due to a flight cancellation.)

Tau Sigma Delta presents ‘Transparent Reflections’ exhibit, reception

April 15th, 2014 Comments Off

“Transparent Reflections,” an exhibit sponsored by Tau Sigma Delta (TSD), features the photography of David C. Lewis, Ph.D.

Lewis is the current interim director of the Building Construction Science Program.

The exhibit will be on display in the Giles Gallery from April 15-22, and a reception will be held at 5 p.m. on April 16.

See the full TSD Gallery schedule.

School of Architecture holds annual NOMAS Symposium, Harrison Lecture

April 15th, 2014 Comments Off

Zena Howard, fourth from left (Photo by Casey Walker)

Zena Howard, fourth from left (Photo by Casey Walker)

The School of Architecture held the annual National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) Symposium on April 4.

The symposium included two panel discussion with various College of Architecture, Art and Design professors and students as well as featured guest Zena Howard. The topic of the discussions was “Design for the Body,” design in relationship to the body (based on the book, World of Perception, by Maurice Merleau-Ponty).

Following the panel discussions, Zena Howard presented a Harrison Lecture, “The Freelon Group – Cultural & Civic.” One of the largest African American-owned architecture firms in the country, The Freelon Group recently joined with Perkins + Will. The firm works on various project types, such as public and private institutions such as libraries, research science and laboratory projects and healthcare.

Howard discussed several projects, including:
• Anacostia Public Library in Washington, D.C.
• Tenley-Friendship Public Library in Washington, D.C.
• Durham County Human Services Complex in Durham, N.C.
• Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture in Charlotte, N.C.
• International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C.
• National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

School of Architecture announces Design Discovery camp dates

April 10th, 2014 Comments Off


Claire M. Sims of Hernando was among high school graduates attending last year’s Design Discovery Camp at Mississippi State. The daughter of Denise and Alan Sims, she now is a freshman architecture major at the university. Registration for the 2014 camp now is open. Photo by: Nikki McKenzie

Via MSU website:

STARKVILLE – For prospective students considering an academic major in architecture, Mississippi State is announcing the dates of its summer introductory program.

Taking place June 6-13, the 2014 Design Discovery Workshop Camp is offered by the university’s School of Architecture, part of College of Architecture, Art and Design.

The annual session 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.

The 45 camper slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The total cost of $595 includes a $100 non-refundable application processing fee.

Design Discovery coincides with MSU’s summer orientation sessions. Since incoming freshmen may pre-enroll for fall classes during orientation, prospective architecture majors are encouraged to attend both the camp and an orientation session.

With support of Johnson-McAdams P.A., a Greenwood architectural firm, a limited number of scholarships are available to either Leflore County residents or members of minorities under-represented in higher education. Scholarship application forms are available at

Scholarships also are available for students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties, thanks to the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund. Visit to learn more.

For more on Design Discovery or the scholarships, contact Phyllis Davis-Webber at 662-325-2202 or

School of Architecture to host lunch reception for Harrison Lecturer

April 9th, 2014 Comments Off

The School of Architecture Lecture Committee is hosting a free lunch reception for all School of Architecture students and faculty on Fri., April 1, starting at 11:30 a.m. in honor of Bob Harris, the final speaker in the 2013-2014 Harrison Lecture Series.(Harris’ lecture, originally scheduled for Jan. 31, was postponed due to a flight cancellation.)

The reception will be coordinated and run by students from all four architecture student organizations including AIAS, Alpha Rho Chi, NOMAS and Tau Sigma Delta.

The lunch reception will be held in the Giles Hall Courtyard, where students and faculty will have the opportunity to chat with Harris.

The lecture will be held immediately following in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium at 1 p.m.

Painting the town in New Houlka: School of Architecture featured on WTVA

April 4th, 2014 Comments Off

See this  story and more at

NEW HOULKA (WTVA) — MSU architectural professor Emily Roush Eliott and her student Katherine Ernst are on their way to making the square around the New Houlka City Hall just a little bit brighter.

“I’m really excited about it because we have worked really hard on this,” said Ernst.

She’s excited because she is putting into practice what she has learned in class at Mississippi State.

Her professor is not there to just watch, she’s working too.

They are practicing what’s called public interest architecture.

They’ve chosen New Houlka to create a bike path around the town that leads from the increasingly popular Tanglefoot

“The big need that we heard was that the community of New Houlka wants more people, more activity, more business downtown, ” said Eliott.” As a group of architecture students and professors, we’re not going to open a new restaurant. But what we can do is try to help attract people,” she continued.

And it appears they’ve come up with a way to do just that.

“Now we are at the very beginning phase of a bike path because we wanted to start with the Tanglefoot and then bring a path that runs all around the square,” said Ernst.

They presented their idea to city leaders who welcomed them with open arms.

“The yellow part going around the trail is for bikes,” explained New Houlka Mayor Jimmy Kelly. “And then the white is for walking people who are walking around the trail. And then every so often, there will be circles, little signs pointing out things in town like an ice cream parlor,” he concluded.

As you might imagine, officials here in New Houlka are thrilled with the project saying that it will only enhance what has been a good thing for the City and that is the Tanglefoot Trail.

“I’ve heard from the people of Houlka that its been so busy. I heard that last Saturday the deli that opened just next to the Trail sold out completely,” the MSU professor said, smiling.

“The Trail has been more of a draw than I though it would be when we first started talking about it,” said Kelly.

The “Paint the Square Project” is expected to be done by the end of April and is a project of the Create Foundation’s Create Class program.

It is also supported by the MSU College of Art, Architecture and Design as well as the Greenwood-Leflore Economic Development Foundation.

School of Architecture announces 2014 final Jury Review schedule

April 3rd, 2014 Comments Off

The Collaborative Studio's spring Mid-Term Review (Photo by Alexis Gregory)

The Collaborative Studio’s spring Mid-Term Review (Photo by Alexis Gregory)

Please call the main office at 662-325-2202 to confirm exact times and dates prior to attending.

All the following reviews will be in Giles Hall – Starkville:

First-Year Studio

Monday, April 28

Second-Year Studio

Friday, April 25

Third-Year Studio

Wednesday, April 30
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
“Collaborative Studio”
The Third-Year Collaborative studio is a partnership between the School of Architecture and the Building Construction Science Program. The students are combined into teams of three to four students with at least one student from each department in each team. The student teams are designing a new fire station in Caledonia for the Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Department. The students have been working with their faculty and a collection of volunteer firefighters, professional architects and professional constructors to develop the project. Read more about the Collaborative Studio this semester.

Fourth-Year Studio

Tuesday, April 29
8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Giles Gallery and Michael Fazio Jury Room)
The fourth-year studios will be presenting proposals for the Mississippi Maritime Museum to be located in Pascagoula. See a story about the project.

Fifth-Year Studio

Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
“Independent Projects”

School of Architecture assistant professor exhibits, leads design charette in Ohio

March 28th, 2014 Comments Off

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

(Photo by Julie Ames)

Tim Frank, RA, LEED AP, was recently invited to exhibit his work in Coshocton, Ohio. The exhibit, “Returning to First-Principles,” will be on display through April 26 at the Pomerene Center for the Arts. Click here to read more and see some of the work.

The MSU School of Architecture assistant professor was also asked to lead a two-day design charette for a park in the center of town. ArtPARK will be built at 325 Main Street and will serve as a place to display temporary public works of art, show movies and present performances, as well serve as an anchor for the revitalization of downtown Coshocton.

During the charette, three spatial schemes were developed

led by Anne Cornell – THE COMMUNITY STUDIO Artist, Artistic Director, Pomerene Center for the Arts
Geni Devens – Graphic Designer, Interior Decorator
Byron Brenneman – Sophomore at Otterbein University, downtown historian
Jon Cotterman – CHS Tech Prep Teacher, Musician, Craftsman
Connie Miller – Head Gardner Roscoe Village, Coshocton is Blooming
Leah Bashover-Nichols – Mechanical Engineer, Artist
Mike Stiers – Graphic Artist, Masotherapist

Click here to read more about the charette outcomes.

Click here to read the recent story published on the front page of the Coshocton Tribune.



Cotton District developer establishes workshop in classical architecture at Mississippi State

March 18th, 2014 Comments Off

Dan Camp, founder and developer of the nationally recognized Cotton District development in Starkville, recently made a gift to establish an endowed fund to support a workshop in classical architecture. The gift is part of MSU’s current Infinite Impact Campaign, a $600 million comprehensive capital campaign.

The Dan and Gemma Camp Workshop in Classical Architecture will be an annual, multi-day workshop held at the Mississippi State University School of Architecture. The initial gift will be used to establish the first workshop next academic year, and Camp has pledged gifts over the next five years to establish an endowment to support future workshops in perpetuity.

The workshop will engage MSU students, practicing architects in the southeast region, and the Starkville community in classical architecture and the impact classical architecture has on the built, social and economic environments of communities – all things Camp is very passionate about.

“Classical studies is an expertise that only a couple of schools in the USA currently teach,” said Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Professor and director of the School of Architecture, “And this annual workshop is a way to enhance MSU’s curriculum and broaden the options for our students.”

The workshop will be run by the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, a growing nonprofit organization with 15 chapters nationwide. The ICAA is dedicated to advancing the classical tradition in architecture, new urbanism and the arts through education, publication and advocacy.

“We are very excited by this opportunity to partner with MSU.  MSU joins a growing number of architecture schools that are enhancing the capabilities of their graduates by introducing them to the fundamentals of classical composition.  These lessons have the greatest impact on future careers when they are offered early,” said Mark Ferguson, chairman of the Board of the ICAA.

School of Architecture students that participate in the workshop will earn a certificate from the ICAA.

“Preservation issues along with an understanding of classical architecture are both significant elements in cities around the country, and particularly in towns around our state – certainly, concerns that most Mississippi architects will be addressing in their practice,” said Berk. “And this workshop will give MSU students an understanding  and a credential which will better position them as they move into the job market . . .  as well as help communities to make better connections with the past.”

The Dan and Gemma Camp Workshop in Classical Architecture will be the first partnership between the School of Architecture and the ICAA. Also, progress has been in the works for a couple of years to organize an official chapter in Mississippi, spearheaded by architect and 1987 graduate of the MSU School of Architecture, Tracy Ward.

“This joint academic venture with the ICAA and Dan Camp is an incredible opportunity for Mississippi State University,” said Berk, “And we look forward to our future partnership.”

Read the story on MSU’s website.

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