Good turnout for Harrison Lecture, reception in Jackson

March 27th, 2013 Comments Off on Good turnout for Harrison Lecture, reception in Jackson

On Friday, March 22, David J. Lewis, architect and professor, delivered a lecture as part of the Harrison Lecture Series in Jackson.  Students and alumni turned out for the event, and a reception and open house was held afterward at the MSU School of Architecture’s fifth-year building.

Click below to watch video from the lecture:
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The final Harrison Lecture for the year will be Lisa Iwamoto on April 5 at 4 p.m. in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall. Iwamoto is principal at Iwamoto Scott Architecture and an associate professor at the University of Califorinia, Berkeley. The lecture will be in conjunction with the NOMAS symposium.

Architecture alumnus gives back to alma mater

December 4th, 2012 Comments Off on Architecture alumnus gives back to alma mater

Alumnus Ted Porter presented the award money to the School of Architecture on Nov. 30 in Starkville and also served as a guest juror for fourth-year student final reviews. (photo by Beth Wynn | MSU University Relations)

Ted Porter may be a long way from home, but that hasn’t stopped him from staying connected to his Mississippi roots.

Porter, principal at Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects in New York, recently won the Brick Industry Association (Southeast Region) Design Award for a project he created in his hometown of New Albany. The award is given each year to an architect who uses brick in a notable way.

Porter designed a house to fill a vacant lot in downtown New Albany, and he is now leasing out the home.

“The idea was to fill a missing tooth,” he said.

The Brick Industry Association Award came with a $2,000 scholarship that Porter could designate to an institution of his choice.

“Of course I chose the Mississippi State University School of Architecture,” he said, but his giving didn’t end there.

Porter said he was recently talking to Jim West, the dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, about how some students don’t have the means to be able to travel, so he decided to set up a scholarship for that purpose.

“I think it’s really important that everyone has the same opportunity for travel in the school,” he said. “It’s good to be able to see great works of architecture, and often that means traveling to far, fun places. Architecture can’t truly be represented in books and online.”

Porter named the travel scholarship after an art history professor he had while studying at Mississippi State, Paul Grootkerk.

“He opened a lot of interests for me that I’ve enjoyed pursing for the last 35 years or so.” Porter said. “I think it’s good to recognize professors who have an influence on you.”

Porter presented the award money to the School of Architecture on Nov. 30 in Starkville and also served as a guest juror for fourth-year student final reviews.

 Read the article by Leah Barbour on MSU’s website.

Read the article in the New Albany News-Exchange.

Fifth-year Architecture student receives AIA Scholarship

November 28th, 2012 Comments Off on Fifth-year Architecture student receives AIA Scholarship

Carolyn Lundemo, a fifth-year student in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State, has received a $2,000 scholarship from the Mobile Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in association with the AIA Component Scholarship Program.

Justin Lucas, the 2012 president of the Mobile Chapter of the AIA and a graduate from the Mississippi State School of Architecture, will present the award to Lundemo at the organization’s Christmas party.

“I am very excited for the opportunities that can potentially come from receiving this award,” Lundemo said, adding that she is especially excited to meet Lucas and the other AIA members at the party.

A graduate of Pearl River High School in New York, Lundemo has worked to support herself through school each year and said being a fifth-year student is especially challenging because she has met the cap for student loans.

“The extra funding will allow me to just concentrate on my work rather than my budget,” she said. “It’ll relieve a lot of stress.”

After graduation, Lundemo plans to continue her education through gaining experience at a firm.

“The plan is to put in as many hours as possible to enable myself to take the licensing exams furthering my goal of being a licensed architect.”

The fifth-year student also wants to use her talent to help others by volunteering for programs like Habitat for Humanity and working with less fortunate children to encourage them to express their creative ideas.

“I am ready for this next phase and cannot wait to get out and put my touch on the world through design.”

Touchstone honored as 2012 Alumni Fellow

November 13th, 2012 Comments Off on Touchstone honored as 2012 Alumni Fellow

Bradley Tochstone accepts the award for 2012 Alumni Fellow from Dean Jim West. (Photo by Russ Houston | MSU University Relations)

Bradley C. Touchstone, AIA, was recently chosen to represent the College of Architecture, Art and Design in the MSU Alumni Association’s class of 2012 Alumni Fellows.

Touchstone, a 1992 graduate from the School of Architecture, has over 15 years of bridge design experience and has operated his own firm for the past 10 years. The founder and principal of Touchstone Architecture and Consulting, P. A., he has dedicated his career to the planning, design and construction of transportation projects worldwide.

The MSU alumnus has participated in a leadership role on some of the nation’s largest transportation projects including the $4 billion Columbia River Crossing in Portland, Ore., the $5 billion Detroit River International Crossing between the U.S. and Canada and the $245 million Christopher Bond Bridge in Kansas City, Mo. He has also worked on signature international projects including the A-25 Completion Project in Montreal, Canada, and the recently completed Saadiyat Bridge in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

The 2012 Alumni Fellow has given hundreds of presentations and lectures on transportation-related subjects. He has taught at the Florida A&M School of Architecture and was a featured speaker at the International Bridge Conference.

His work has been published both nationally and internationally in publications such as Architectural Digest, Bridge Design and Engineering International, Roads and Bridges, Florida and Caribbean Architect and Engineering News Record.

Touchstone and the eight other 2012 Alumni Fellows will be honored on campus Nov. 15-17 in conjunction with the MSU vs. Arkansas football game.

Check out the story about the Alumni Fellows in Alumnus magazine on Page 42!

Friday Forum discusses the architecture of hip hop

November 12th, 2012 Comments Off on Friday Forum discusses the architecture of hip hop

Professor Jake Gines discusses the architecture of Hip Hop at Friday Forum on Nov. 9.

Jake Gines, professor in the School of Architecture, presented “The Architecture of Hip Hop” at the Nov. 9 Friday Forum.

Seeing how the culture of hip hop tied into architecture and design was Gines’ thesis work, which he said was met with a lot of adversity.

Gines said hip hop and many of its related forms of expression, such as rapping, break dancing and graffiti, is something a lot of people can relate to and gives many a venue to express themselves.

“You can’t help but get a sense that there’s this yearning to voice your opinion, and the only way it’s going to be heard is in an aggressive way,” he said.

Gines learned more about this aggressive sense of expression when he visited Watts in South Central Los Angeles for research. Watts, often known for the Watts Riots in 1965, is also home to the Watts Towers. The towers were built by Simon Rodia in the early 1900s out of found materials such as steel, concrete, bottles and doll figurines and served as inspiration for Gines’ project.

He chose a piece of land to the northwest of the towers for his project and got to work on research and site models. Research included demographics, gang crime statistics, gang turfs and crime activity.

The professor also chose to explore the message and rhythm of two songs – Tupac Shakur’s “Changes,” which discusses living conditions and what we need to do to change that, and “Why We Thugs” by Ice-Cube, which conveys a similar message in a more aggressive way.

Gines applied his research to design a pedestrian bridge that would go over the railroad tracks in Watts.

“In the end, I began to come up with a scheme that allowed the architecture to gently rest on its landscape and provide movement around and through the site,” he said.

Gines had a graffiti artist paint his project on boards for his thesis presentation “in order to present it in a way that seemed to respond to the culture,” he said.

The professor later used his findings to help students make connections between various forms of music and architecture.

Next Harrison Lecture to focus on façades

November 12th, 2012 Comments Off on Next Harrison Lecture to focus on façades

(Story by Leah Barbour | MSU University Relations)

STARKVILLE, Miss.–Whether it’s the curb appeal of a new home or the marketing value of an attractively designed storefront, building exteriors impact major decisions every day.

A specialist in building facades and the materials, design and construction needed to create a beautiful and inviting building exterior will speak during Mississippi State University’s next installment of the Harrison Lecture Series.

Marc Simmons, partner at design- and façade-consulting practice Front Inc., will offer a free presentation on Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium at Giles Hall.

The public, along with students, faculty and staff, will have a chance to learn from Simmons’ expertise at making buildings attractive from the outside in.

Simmons teaches for the Princeton University School of Architecture, and his specialties include custom curtainwall and hybrid cladding system design, along with structural glass consultation.

The Harrison Lecture Series is funded, in part, through a donation from Robert V. M. and Freda Wallace Harrison and by the Department of Art. MSU’s College of Art, Architecture and Design annually offers the series.

For more information about the lecture series, contact Alexis Gregory, assistant professor of architecture at MSU, at 662-325-2202.

Architecture professor featured in The Reflector

November 6th, 2012 Comments Off on Architecture professor featured in The Reflector

By DANIEL HART | The Reflector

Professor Hans Herrmann has a lot on his plate. He has enough identities that he may be sneaking into phone booths to switch from one to another like Clark Kent. He morphs from assistant professor of architecture to student gaining a Master’s degree in landscape architecture. Then, to the research requirement of his professing, on to residential architect to continuing collaborative work at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, his current design-build project with students. Does he sleep? “Not much,” he said with a smile.

That is most likely the norm for him. Herrmann said he has been pushing himself since college, where he took extreme class loads (think 22 hours) to finish his Bachelor of Science in Design on time, after transferring to Clemson University. Post-graduation, he worked for Ike Kligerman Barkley, an award-winning New York City firm, doing work he said was extremely beneficial but a bit outside a realm in which he could envision himself working.

“After three years of doing estates that people only lived in for a month of the year maybe and working for less than they pay for a piece of furniture, I thought, there’s got to be something better I can do with my time,” he said.

Herrmann said time at the firm shaped a lot of his thoughts on the practice of architecture and the role of an architect.

“I felt strongly that it’s not about how much money you spend on it but how smart the designer is. The world can’t afford for us to work that way; architects get paid to be smart about using what we have,” he said.

He cited a quote by famed architect Buckminster Fuller as an idea he has carried with him through his work and is also a driving force in his freshly-submitted application for the Rome Prize:

“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.”

This idea of reuse is a concept Herrmann integrates into his design-build projects or projects students both design and physically construct; they have come in the form of a bus shelter in Bogue Chitto, Miss., and a lantern and enclosed space made of reclaimed wood built for students of Giles Hall. Most recently, Herrmann’s sustainable work has appeared in a student-faculty collaborative project in Starkville: the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum Green Building Demonstration Pavilion, a pavilion with a live green roof which Herrmann said utilizes the idea of SuperUse at its most basic level.

“SuperUse tries to avoid using more energy to reuse as opposed to recycling, which would be adding more energy to an existing material by grinding it up or melting it into a new form,” he said. “It’s about using it in exactly the state that it’s in.”

Herrmann said this translated to the Heritage Museum design-build project through the use of a local structure in an innovative way, to become a focal point of the museum property.

“For me, immediately this should function as a kind of billboard or piece of signage. Building at a scale much larger than they (the museum) can likely afford led me to looking for something I can take down and reuse,” he said. “Driving past Stromboli’s for the past four years and looking at that canopy, I asked Tim, the owner, would he like to be rid of it.”

An agreement was made, and the project was begun through a Maymester course in May 2012 led by Herrmann and assistant professor of landscape architecture Cory Gallo, and is still under construction. Herrmann said the work happens with borrowed equipment over weekend sessions, but through the limitations the benefits of the project are numerous.

“The project demonstrates green building technologies while talking about how it can be done in a somewhat traditional way, reusing things,” he said. “And it lets us improve another part of the city, not just the site.”

The nature of the project, with its multiple functions, is characteristic of Herrmann’s work and ethos; whether it be reuse in design-build projects or saddling up an additional degree, as he said, he’s getting multiple functions out of things:

“We’re trying to kill two or three birds with one stone.”

Friday Forum explores the history of Starkville through architecture

November 2nd, 2012 Comments Off on Friday Forum explores the history of Starkville through architecture

Michelle Weaver Jones mentioned that evidence of the Choctaw Indians can be seen by the landscape along Hwy 25, which shows remnants of Indian mounds.

Michelle Weaver Jones showed buildings in Starkville and described what architecture style they were and what influenced the various design aspects.

Michelle Weaver Jones, who works in the preservation division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, presented this week’s Friday Forum lecture (Nov. 2).

Jones used architectural styles to walk students through the city’s 125-year history.

She showed examples from around Starkville of various architecture styles and said the city has been influenced the most by the university.

There are numerous buildings built especially for rental purposes, such as duplexes or garage apartments, and she said returning veterans in 1945 and MSU students mainly influenced this trend.

Jones showed photos of what used to be railroad depots and said they signify how important the railroad used to be to Starkville.

She also showed some current downtown buildings and mentioned their previous uses. The T.E. Lott & Co. building once housed the Coca Cola Bottling Company, and Reed’s Department Store was an early post office.

Jones said Starkville has grown a lot over the past 125 years and believes historic preservation says a lot about a community and its residents.  She mentioned several historical buildings that have been lost due to simply being torn down for a parking lot or due to bad maintenance.

“I think at this point, our community really has choices to make as far as our historic properties are concerned,” she said.

“Historic preservation is the ultimate green thing; it is recycling. It’s just the smarter thing in my mind to do.”

School of Architecture alumnus Lance Davis highlighted in publication

October 17th, 2012 Comments Off on School of Architecture alumnus Lance Davis highlighted in publication

Lance Davis, AIA, LEED, is highlighted in the upcoming book, The Rise of Living Architecture. 

Davis, a 1995 graduate of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture, is also participating in a book signing at the 10th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference: Cities Alive, being held in Chicago, Ill., from Oct. 17-20.

Davis was recognized in the book for his work in bringing planted roofs to Washington, D.C., and the explosion of planted roofs and living walls within the Federal Government.

The alumnus will also speak at the conference about the integrated design process and its use to increase the benefits of natural and man-made systems.

From the Green Roofs website:
The Rise of Living Architecture
celebrates the contribution of more than 50 leading experts to the development of the green roof and wall industry over the past decade. Leadership profiles are drawn from a wide range of business, academia, policy and design professionals. These extraordinary individuals share their greatest accomplishments and views on the future development of the industry. The Rise of Living Architecture is a beautiful table top book that was designed by award-winning Ian Rapsey and includes a Foreward on Restorative Design by celebrated academic Stephen Kellert of Yale University and an essay on the transformative power of living architecture by Steven W. Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. The outstanding photographic work of Brad Temkinis featured throughout this limited edition work.

Architecture professor named Fulbright Scholar Representative

October 17th, 2012 Comments Off on Architecture professor named Fulbright Scholar Representative

Jane Britt Greenwood is interviewed (with her interpreter, right) by the local Armenian television station in 2011.

Jane Britt Greenwood gives a lecture while in Armenia as a Fulbright Scholar.

Associate Professor Jane Britt Greenwood, AIA, first got involved with The Fulbright Scholar Program in 2010 when she was the state’s only representative to receive the honor that academic year.

Greenwood used her Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the Yerevan State University of Architecture and Construction [YSUAC] in Yerevan, Armenia, and do research on Armenian vernacular architecture. While there, she discovered the country’s need for curriculum development. She filed for an extension of her scholarship and remained in Armenia for an additional semester to help both YSUAC and Yerevan State Linguistics University after V Brusov with their curriculum development.

When she arrived back at Mississippi State, Greenwood had a new passion for telling others about The Fulbright Scholar Program.

“It was such a tremendous experience,” she said.

So, when she heard the call from the program for peer reviewers last April, she applied and is now one of three Peer Discipline Reviewers for The Fulbright Program for architecture.  Since she was notified in August, the School of Architecture professor has reviewed 11 applications.

Greenwood said her job as a reviewer is to look only at the scholarly content, such as the proposal details, the applicant’s background and the details of the research plan.  Each review takes her about an hour, and she gives written comments and feedback that is given back to applicants.  That way, if an applicant’s proposal is not accepted, he or she will have an idea of improvements that need to be made if submitted again.

Greenwood further explained that the peer review is just the first step in the yearlong process. The proposals next head to a regional review, and the last step is a review by the embassy in the country of the applicant’s proposed project.

Along with her involvement as a peer reviewer, Greenwood also serves as a co-representative for the university with Dr. Stephen Cottrell.

As MSU Fulbright Program Campus Representatives, the two work to promote the program to students and faculty.

Greenwood said faculty, administrators and professionals can apply for seven types of Fulbright Scholarships. One offering is a Senior Specialist project that is short-term, usually lasting two to six weeks.  The Core Fulbright, which is the program Greenwood participated in, is a longer opportunity that allows faculty to do research and/or teach for a year.

Students can also take advantage of The Fulbright Program.  There is an umbrella under the program that allows students to study abroad, and those with an undergraduate degree can travel to teach English or work on their own special project.

The co-representatives plan to hold a workshop soon to help students and faculty learn more about the application process, and they have a goal to increase the number of Fulbright Scholars at Mississippi State.

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