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 or

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

• Leon Foster, VP, The Lemoine Company, 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, or 662-325-3344.

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

January 27th, 2015 Comments Off


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

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

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

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 They can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Photos of The Clubhouse (photos by Brian Roberson):

Architecture student named winner of Sustainability Challenge

December 16th, 2014 Comments Off

(photo by Megan Bean / Mississippi State University)

(photo by Megan Bean / Mississippi State University)

By Allison Matthews | MSU Office of Public Affairs

STARKVILLE, Miss.–A freshman architecture student at Mississippi State impressed judges with her ingenuity and empathy for others during the university’s recent Sustainability Challenge.

Southwire Company LLC sponsored the competition to help find a way to utilize a foil laminate material that comes in the packaging of raw materials received by the manufacturer. With one facility in Starkville, Southwire is North America’s leading manufacturer of wire and cable used in the distribution and transmission of electricity.

The contest, part of the S3 Innovation Challenge, asked students to find innovative applications for the industrial scrap packaging material. Emily Turner of Starkville found not only a practical use of the foil laminate, but a use that would help shelter the homeless from harsh weather conditions such as rain or cold temperatures.

“The foil laminate from raw material packaging is scrap in need of recycling. It is very high quality, yet challenging to recycle because of the bound layers of aluminum and plastics,” said Amy Vickery, who works with environmental and sustainability management for Southwire. She said Turner’s idea shows great promise.

The Starkville High School graduate and daughter of Steve and Jenny Turner is a Luke and Ruth Davis Presidential Scholar. In her first semester of college, she is immersing herself in MSU’s architecture program, enjoying countless hours in the Giles Hall studio where she says students and faculty work constantly in pursuit of the best in designs for a vast variety of projects. The School of Architecture in the College of Art, Architecture and Design features the only architecture program in the state leading to licensure.

“The studio culture and the availability of our professors is a strength of our program,” she said.

Turner also is pursuing a minor in English and said she is interested in participating in additional co-curricular projects.

“There’s usually not a lot of time to do extra things, but I asked my professor to keep an eye out for competitions. I was looking for things that are community-design or service oriented,” Turner said.

Visiting assistant professor Erik Herman encouraged Turner to take part in the Sustainability Challenge, and she immediately began brainstorming applications for the foil laminate.

She handled the material to get ideas, and at one point she wrapped herself in a sheet of the foil laminate. “I realized it was warm, so I did an experiment during a cold snap and I sat outside for two hours with a thermometer. I was wrapped in the material and used Duct tape to close the gaps,” she said.

“That confirmed I could use the material for some kind of shelter,” Turner added.

Because of camping experiences, Turner knew that retaining body heat is important for those sleeping outside, and she said a simple mat can make a big difference. She designed a mat, and added pockets that are sized to hold materials for additional insulation, such as newspapers folded in half.

Turner’s final model is an expanding cylinder-shaped shelter that zips closed and is completely waterproof.

Vickery said Turner’s attention to detail made her presentation stand out.

“I am very impressed by the amount of detailed attention Emily put into the construction of the shelter items as well as her descriptive presentation,” Vickery said, who also explained that Southwire has a broad spectrum of sustainability goals which include “Growing Green” and “Giving Back” among other objectives.

“This project to reuse the scrap foil laminate packaging will contribute to two goals by using this high quality scrap to make shelters for people in need,” Vickery said.

Turner received a $500 award for her work and will continue working with MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business.

“My hope is to continue partnering with Southwire and working with the E-Center to see the product developed and actually put in use for those who need it,” Turner said.

She said the competition was a great experience and she enjoyed learning about product design.

“It’s just really intriguing to see how the skills we’re learning in the classroom, which usually are directed at creating spaces and buildings, can also be used to develop products to improve people’s lives,” Turner said.

View Emily’s presentation boards.

See the story at

Alumni enlist architecture students to help with solutions for state

December 12th, 2014 Comments Off


l to r: Patrick Sullivan, Keith Findley, Megan Vansant, Kevin Flores , Aaryn Phillips, Nenyatta Smith, Daria Pizzetta and Jim Findley (photo by Patrick Brown)

Jim Fennell and Keith Findley have come back to their alma mater for help with accomplishing a goal they have for the state. The two alumni hope to bring some of the ideas of functional symbiosis and reuse from their Colorado Ivywild project to the state of Mississippi.

Functional symbiosis is when companies partner together and share waste. The Ivywild project is a renovated school that houses a brewery, bakery, community garden and other components that all work together in a closed circuit. The excess water from the brewery waters the garden; spent grains from the brewery goes into making the bread at the bakery and so on.

According to Fennell, when businesses are able to take advantage of a functional symbiotic relationship, they have lower operating costs from the reuse of materials and can, therefore, be more successful.

“In turn,” he said, “that gets others in the community interested, and it starts to grow.”

“I think it can really do good things for the state,” added Findley

So, the two alumni approached Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Professor and director of the School of Architecture, last year about getting architecture students involved in helping spread the idea across the state.

“These young people are our best resources for solutions,” said Findley.

And the idea happened to fit perfectly with what Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory had already been planning for her fall fourth-year studio.

Gregory, inspired by an ACSA conference, wanted to dedicate her semester to getting students to think about recycling and reuse. So, with funding from the two alumni, the Ivywild Studio was born.

Gregory created a series of projects for the studio that, throughout the semester, taught recycling, reuse and functional and community symbiosis. Early projects helped students develop the conceptual idea leading to their final project inspired by the Ivywild project.

For the final project, titled “Starkville Symbiosis,” students were challenged to research and create a design for a similarly functioning hypothetical building in Starkville. The students were given a site at the corner of Jackson and Lampkin Streets and real-world clients, Ed Dechert and Cameron Fogle of Sweetgum Brewing and Troy DeRego of DeRego’s Bread.

The final designs included a variety of symbiotic ideas and were presented on Dec. 2 for a panel of jurors including two of the clients, Dechert and DeRego, as well as Fennell and Findley.

Additional jurors included Allison Anderson, FAIA, LEED-AP, and John Anderson, AIA, LEED-AP of unabridged Architecture; Daria Pizzetta, AIA, LEED-AP, of H3 Hardy Collaboration; Patrick Sullivan, president of the Mississippi Energy Institute; Jeremiah Dumas, MSU sustainability coordinator; Bob Wilson, executive director of the Mississippi Main Street Association; and Phil Hardwick, project manager for the Stennis Institute.

The jurors were excited to see the variety of creative solutions the students came up with and immediately saw the impact such projects could have on the state.

Allison Anderson said that the students, now in their fourth-year of study, are starting to understand that “architecture doesn’t end at the line of the building; it continues into the community.”

She went on to explain that architects need to think about what the needs are in the community and how it will grow in the future, and this project helped the students to start to do that.

Sullivan said he saw a wide range of opportunities in the students’ projects.

“The IvyWild project,” he said. “There’s just not anything like that in Mississippi. The goal should be for nothing to leave the site – air, water or steam emissions – except products that are being sold and, of course, people coming and going. Taking that kind of approach is just smart.”

“I hope to see one of these actually developed,” said Daria, who also serves on the school’s Advisory Council.

The jurors selected four top projects. First place and $1,000 went to Megan Vansant; Kevin Flores received second place and another $1,000. Honorable mention went to Aryn Phillips and Nenyatta Smith.

“We see this as a first step in an ongoing thing at the university,” said Findley.

Gregory said her students – now “Ivywild fans” – really enjoyed the project.

“Hopefully they’ll carry this throughout their careers,” she added.

Fourth-year architecture students in the Ivywild studio include (by hometown):
CORDOVA – Emma Morse, daughter of James M. Morse and Charlene Smith
CLINTON – Devin Carr, son of Neil and Sandra Carr
FOREST – Kevin Flores, son of Jose and Teresa Flores
GULFPORT – Nenyatta Smith, daughter of John and Dorothy Smith
HERNANDO – Patrick Brown, son of Chet Brown and Earline Wallace
HORN LAKE – Daniela Bustillos, daughter of Jaime and Maria Bustillos
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Megan Vansant, daughter of Donald R. and Rebecca W. Vansant
JACKSON – Lorianna Baker, daughter of Duke and Karen Baker
OLIVE BRANCH – Aryn Phillips, daughter of William and Luretha Phillips
PADUCAH, Ky. – Ryan Bridges, son of Michael Douglas and Delinda Kay Bridges
PICAYUNE – Cody Smith, and son of Ray and Christina Renderman
SNELLVILLE, Ga. – Ryan Mura, son of Ryan L. and Susan D. Mura

Read the story on MSU’s website.

Read the story on WCBI.

Fifth-year studio holds fall final reviews

December 11th, 2014 Comments Off


photo by Rusty McInnis


photo by Rusty McInnis


photo by Rusty McInnis


photo by Rusty McInnis


photo by Rusty McInnis

Final reviews for the semester for fifth-year architecture students were held at the Suart C. Irby Jr. Studios in Jackson on Dec.4 and Dec. 5.

Coordinator: Associate Professor Jassen Callender, Jackson Center director
“Fifth-year students were asked to re-conceive the future patterns of mid-size American cities, and Jackson in particular, in light of environmental and economic challenges. These thoughts have been made manifest at various scales, from master planning 14 blocks of downtown for the year 2100 to designing individual buildings within that plan.

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