Gulf Coast Community Design Studio receives environmental stewardship award

July 31st, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio receives environmental stewardship award

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, a research center at Mississippi State University, was recently honored with a First Place 2015 Gulf Guardian award.  The awards ceremony was held today at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The awards, sponsored by a partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program, are to recognize environmental stewardship in the five Gulf Coast states.

“This is the 13th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Diane Altsman, chief of staff for the Gulf of Mexico Program. “The Gulf of Mexico Program partnership works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts.”

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio – one of two research centers in MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design – received the award in the Civic/Nonprofit category for their Bayou Auguste Restoration project. First place was awarded this year in six other categories to groups also taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. See the full list of 2015 winners.

“Mississippi State University is honored to be recognized for the Bayou August restoration project — one of many of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio’s efforts under David Perkes’ leadership to guard the resources of the Gulf Coast for present and future generations,” said Associate Dean for the College of Architecture, Art and Design Greg G. Hall, Ph.D.

The Bayou Auguste Restoration project implemented a community plan for part of East Biloxi, a historically underserved community devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio’s design team secured multiple grants for the project and led a partnership with the city of Biloxi, the Biloxi Housing Authority, the Biloxi Public School District and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.

Volunteers contributed over 2,800 hours of service to help the team remove debris and repair the bayou’s wetland habitat by constructing a neighborhood wetland park.

The local community and students were also engaged in the project through educational programs that focused on ways to improve the bayou’s important functions of restoring and improving the nursery habitat for fish and shrimp, essential to the local economy; reducing pollution and debris entering the ocean through the integrated bayou and stormwater system; and creating a marshland to contain floodwater from extreme storm events.

The first Gulf Guardian Award winners were recognized in 2000. Each year since, first–, second–, and third–place awards have been given in seven categories: Business, Civic/Non-Profit Organization, Partnerships, Youth/Education, Individual, Government and Bi-National.

Read the story on the Texas Environmental News site.

Gulf Coast Community Design Studio director speaks at AIA MS Convention

July 30th, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio director speaks at AIA MS Convention

Director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, David Perkes, recently spoke at the 2015 AIA Mississippi Convention, which was held July 24-26 in New Orleans, La.

Perkes’ presentation, “From Disaster to Resilience,” discussed lessons learned since Hurricane Katrina.

The session was well attended and well received.


Carl Small Town Center receives arts grant for Marks project

July 16th, 2015 Comments Off on Carl Small Town Center receives arts grant for Marks project

By Zach Plair | Mississippi State University

The Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State is receiving a $25,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant to develop a cultural master plan for a North Delta community.

To feature an interpretive trail and center for the city of Marks, the university-developed plan will highlight and explain civil-rights related sites in the Quitman County seat and beginning point of the historic 1968 Poor People’s Campaign “Mule Train.”

Organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference–whose first president was Martin Luther King Jr.–the campaign featured a mule-pulled wagon train that began in Marks and ended in Washington, D.C. In the nation’s capital, the slow-moving travelers eventually joined 3,000 others from throughout the nation assembled at “Resurrection City,” a massive tent camp set up on the Washington Mall.

The D.C. event was a protest against living conditions faced by poor in the U.S. King twice had visited Marks and held it up as a symbol of America’s downtrodden.

“The Mule Train was really the start of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968,” said associate professor John Poros, the MSU center’s director. “We are honored to be able to help the people of Marks make this piece of their history visible and present to visitors and community members through the NEA Our Town award.”

Now in its fifth year of funding Our Town projects, the independent federal agency this year is awarding 69 grants that total almost $5 million. The individual awards range from $25,000 to $200,000.

The grant program supports creative place-making projects designed to promote local community art and creativity. Since the program’s inception in 2011, NEA has awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling nearly $26 million.

“The Carl Small Town Center demonstrates the best in creative community development. This work will have a valuable impact on its community,” Jane Chu, NEA chairman, said.

“Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike,” she added.

A research and service arm of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and its School of Architecture, the Carl Small Town Center works to help improve the quality of life and create economic opportunity in small towns by improving their physical environments.

Fred E. Carl Jr., a major Mississippi State benefactor and the center’s namesake, is a Greenwood resident who founded and served as the first president and CEO of nationally recognized Viking Range Corp. A one-time architecture major at the university, he endowed a statewide community design outreach program in 1979 that was renamed in his honor.

See the story on

School of Architecture alumnus makes ‘Top 50 under 40′ list

June 29th, 2015 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus makes ‘Top 50 under 40′ list

(screenshot via

(screenshot via

Michael Boerner, a 2002 graduate of the School of Architecture and managing principal of Jackson architecture firm Wier Boerner Allin PLLC, was selected to the Mississippi Business Journal’s “Top 50 under 40″ list for 2015.

Click here to see the digital magazine.

Alumni’s firm wins D.C.-area AIA awards

June 26th, 2015 Comments Off on Alumni’s firm wins D.C.-area AIA awards

Foundry Architects, a firm started by MSU School of Architecture alumni Will Couch and Matthew Compton (2002), recently was honored with AIA design awards in the Washington, D.C., area:

Heritage Museum project lands EPA award

June 22nd, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Museum project lands EPA award

Photo by Megan Bean | Mississippi State

Photo by Megan Bean | Mississippi State


A rain garden project in Starkville has been awarded a regional award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mississippi State received the 2015 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the Neighborhood/Community Category for the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s rain garden program.

The five-year project was designed and constructed by MSU students, faculty and volunteers.

The project included a rain garden, public use pavilion, cistern and sand filter and education signage to explain the elements of the project.

Over 200 MSU students from various fields of study worked on the garden which now serves as a demonstration site for North Mississippi.

The Rain Catcher Award recognizes excellence for using natural or man-made systems to manage stormwater and reduce water impacts.

The work helps reduce the volume of stormwater discharges and removes pollutants present in runoff.

Additional information on Mississippi State University’s stormwater project can be found at:

Read the story at

Read the story by the Sun Herald.

Read the story on MSU’s website.


The Green Building Technology Demonstration Pavilion project was realized under the guidance School of Architecture assistant professor Hans C. Herrmann, AIA, LEED Green Associate, and assistant professor of landscape architecture W. Cory Gallo, ASLA, with special assistance by extension associate Brian Tempelton, ASLA.

It was featured by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) as a 2013 Year of Public Service Project and was awarded an American Society of Landscape Architects, Mississippi Chapter, Merit Award.

The project also received an ASLA Professional and Student Award of Excellence in the category of Student Collaboration. (Click here to see the full article)

Faculty Advisors included Brian Templeton, ASLA; Cory Gallo, ASLA; Wayne Wilkerson; Tim Schauwecker; Hans Hermann, AIA; Justin Taylor; and Suzanne Powney.

Students who worked on the project include: (architecture) Jared Barnett, Amy Bragg, Reed Bradford, Katherine Ernst, Jonathon Greer, Scott Polley, Nick Purvis, Salena Tew and John Thomas; (building construction science) Lake Jackson; and (art) Johnathan Nowell.

MSU School of Architecture to co-host 2015 International BTES Conference

June 11th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU School of Architecture to co-host 2015 International BTES Conference

This summer, the Mississippi State University School of Architecture will be co-hosting the 2015 International Building Technology Educators’ Society (BTES) Conference with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The conference theme is “Intersections and Adjacencies” and will be held June 24-27.

MSU School of Architecture Assistant Professor Jacob Gines is a co-chair for the conference along with Assistant Professor Erin Carraher and Professor Jose Galarza from the University of Utah.

MSU School of Architecture Associate Professor Hans C. Herrmann and Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn are also serving on the conference organizing committee.

Multiple MSU architecture faculty will make presentations, and two MSU architecture students, Ria Bennett and Cody Smith, will be receiving international BTES awards for their research paper, “The Leaky American Dream: A Study of Air Infiltration Rates of Residential Construction Over Forty Years.”

‘Audit Squad’ wins national award

June 8th, 2015 Comments Off on ‘Audit Squad’ wins national award


Three Mississippi State University Students were recently honored with the inaugural Building Technology Educators Society Student Award.

Senior architecture students Cody Smith and Aaron “Ria” Bennett and building construction science major William “Bill” Plott made up an independent study class taught by Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn.

The group, dubbed “The Audit Squad,” worked throughout the year with McGlohn studying the relationship between energy efficiency and the quality of construction.

In the fall, the Audit Squad traveled to Greenwood to test air infiltration rates of the new Katrina cottages in the Baptist Town neighborhood. They also paid a visit to the Auburn University’s Rural Studio to perform tests on some of their projects.

“The best way to understand how a building performs is to actually test it with tools,” said McGlohn, who explained that the lower the air infiltration rate, the better the envelope. “A high air infiltration rate signifies a leaky building.”

After analyzing their results, the squad began working on their own independent research project in which they tested the air infiltration rates of a variety of student rental properties built in Starkville over the last 40 years to see if age has anything to do with the rates.

The results of their findings make up their award-winning paper, “The Leaky American Dream: A Study of Air Infiltration Rates of Residential Construction Over Forty Years.”

Bennett and Smith have also been awarded the School of Architecture’s Jason Labutka Travel Scholarship, which will fund their trip to accept the group award and a $1,000 check at the 2015 BTES Conference in Utah at the end of June.


This summer, the research will continue in Greenwood.

Teaming up with the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s Enterprise Rose Fellow, Emily Roush Elliott, McGlohn and new Audit Squad members will test the air infiltration rates of a variety of low-income housing in the Greenwood area to compare the typical rental property with more modern low-incoming housing.

The data will be analyzed next fall to try to quantify the monetary and health burdens that can come from leaky, low-income housing.

The findings and suggestions for improvement will be shared in a brochure for distribution to nonprofit organizations that could benefit from the data.

“The overall main goal,” said McGlohn, “is to create a baseline metric of energy efficiency rates for low-income housing in the Mississippi Delta.”

Architecture student awarded ICAA fellowship for summer program

May 27th, 2015 Comments Off on Architecture student awarded ICAA fellowship for summer program

Scott Polley, entering fifth-year architecture student, has been awarded an Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) Fellowship for the institute’s summer program in New York City.

Polley was one of 18 students selected out of 50 applicants.

The ICAA Summer Studio in Classical Architecture is a four-week, immersive program introducing students to skills, knowledge and resources essential to the practice and appreciation of classical design.

Students build a foundation in classical Architectural Design and Composition, the Elements of the Classical Language, Proportion, the Literature of Classical Design, Drawing & Rendering, and Traditional Materials.

CAAD research center selected as Architects Foundation Regional Resilience Design Studio

May 26th, 2015 Comments Off on CAAD research center selected as Architects Foundation Regional Resilience Design Studio

(Via the National American Institute of Architects’ release)

The AIA Foundation, now called the Architects Foundation, recently announced two more Regional Resilience Design Studios as part of its ongoing National Resilience Initiative, which aims to create a network of Regional Resilience Design Studios across the country.

The two new studios are Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, part of the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Art and Design; and the University of Arkansas’ Community Design Center at the Fay Jones School of Architecture.

“These two new studios, based on the Gulf Coast and in tornado-prone Arkansas, are crucial to our creating a national network of resilience design experts who can help communities become resilient and prepare both for disasters and the effects of climate change,” said Sherry-Lea Bloodworth-Botop, Executive Director of the Architects Foundation.

Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, was created to respond to Hurricane Katrina and has evolved from disaster recovery to long-term efforts of resilience. The design studio has a full-time staff of planners, architects and landscape architects and works in collaboration with many municipal and community organizations on projects that address mitigation and adaption of households and communities facing hurricane risks, the economic challenges of living in expanded flood zones, and coastal environments threatened by increased development and sea level rise. The design studio’s work includes fortified and flood-proof building design, community engaged storm water and flood-resistant landscapes, low impact land-use in watershed planning, and regional information and cooperation.

“The challenge to transform our cities to be more resilient for extreme events should be seen as an opportunity to make our cities better places to live from day to day,” said David Perkes, Director, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. “The increasing public awareness of risk is an opportunity for all of us to make stronger and more livable cities.”

First announced at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, the NRI is a partnership that also includes the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative and others that seek to build a network of community-and university-based design studios dedicated to sharing best practices about how to help communities establish built environments that are more prepared for disasters and more resilient following shocks and stresses.

In 2014, the Foundation announced the first Regional Resilience Design Studio at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Center for Resilient Design in Newark, N.J. The program was kicked-off with an initial $250,000 social impact investment by Benjamin Moore & Co.

“Having the American Institute of Architects name the Gulf Coast Community Design  Studio as a nationally-recognized Regional Resilience Center is quite an honor for the School of Architecture,” said F.L. Crane Endowed Professor and Director Michael Berk. “It truly speaks of the amazing outreach and seminal research which the GCCDS has been conducting over the past decade in the wake of Katrina. This designation acknowledges their leadership as an international ‘think-tank’  in disaster-resilient matters.”

About the Architects Foundation
The American Institute of Architects Foundation, now called the Architects Foundation, advances excellence in design for the benefit of the public.  As a nonprofit philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects, the Architects Foundation is the consummate voice and advocate for architecture and design in America.  The Architects Foundation is dedicated to the belief that good design is good for all and plays an essential role in transforming lives and building a better world.

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