Gregory’s fourth-year architecture studio featured on WTVA news

November 30th, 2015 Comments Off on Gregory’s fourth-year architecture studio featured on WTVA news


Unique project offers many forms of learning

An unusual architecture project in Starkville may turn into a gift that lasts a lifetime and teaches in so many ways.

Fourth-year architecture students at Mississippi State are building raised gardens at the Boys and Girls Club in Starkville. The new beds — which feature gravel bottoms, cardboard linings and special material to keep out weeds and moles while allowing dainage, benches and other features — will be more efficient than existing smaller beds at the center on Lynn Lane.

The students designed the garden as well as a ramp that will allow a handicapped volunteer, who also is a Master Gardener, to be more involved. The ramp even will have access to an herb garden.

“To help them understand what it’s like to work with a real client, and also to see the impact of their design and construction in the community. So want them to be able to see that architecture doesn’t end with a building that has air conditioning and heating but that it is actually creating space and places that people can use,” Professor Alexis Gregory said of some of the goals she had when the class took up the project, which also counts as a service-learning project.

Gregory is familiar with the community service and non-profit side, previously having worked for non-profits in Washington D.C.

Architecture students aren’t the only ones involved.

Horticulture classes are planning fruits and vegetables for the gardens and will help teach the kids and their families next spring. Education students are working on lesson plans for teachers to link the garden to every day learning. Nutrition students are planning lessons as well for the students and their amilies.

“I’m really excited to see the kids come out and play with the benches, to start planting things and see them grow,” Gregory said of the anticipation of what’s ahead.

Kids grew tomatoes, pumpkins, radishes, lettuce and cabbage this fall and winter in their smaller boxes. But this takes learning to a new level.

“Some of our kids play and interact with the architecture students and they’ve never been exposed to hands-on building objects so to see them get excited gets me excited. I know our kids aren’t exposed to nutrition and gardening and they should be,”  BGC Unit Director Jeffery Johnson said of the experience for the kids.

One major goal is to get entire families and community groups involved so the experience carries on.

“We can work with the Boys and Girls Club to make this a longer lasting project so this becomes good lessons for the kids, hopefully to take home to their parents, and their community as well and really spread this throughout the area,” Gregory xplained.

The project also will include shade structures, rain barrels, vegetable cubicles inside the Boys and Girls Club so the kids can store their produce and other items. Those will be built next semester.

Lowe’s, Oktibbeha County, Bell Building Supply, the Oktibbeha County Coop and others have donated materials. The project also has a Go Fund Me account. Anyone wishing to donate materials can contact the Boys and Girls Club.

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