STARKVILLE, Miss.--For an environment to be functional, inviting, and aesthetically pleasing, a team of architects, constructors and interior designers develop a vision for the space.
Imagine the opportunity for university students to participate on such a team before they graduate: They could learn how to develop the skills their respective professions require while completing a project for a real-world client.
Approximately 70 Mississippi State University architecture, building construction science, and interior design majors recently had that chance, thanks to the university's partnership between the College of Art, Architecture and Design and Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors, a Birmingham-based construction firm. Students competed in the second annual Brasfield & Gorrie Student Design Competition.
The fourteen teams were challenged to develop a plan to renovate and redesign MSU's Aiken Village Family Housing complex, located on Collegeview Street. Using the design principles they've learned at MSU, the students had to work together to create a theoretical eco-village for future residents.
Alexis D. Gregory, architecture assistant professor, said the construction firm is contributing $5,000 each year through 2016 to support the student competition. The winning student team received $1,000, second place won $600 and third place took $400.
Listing interdisciplinary experience on a resume makes graduates of the MSU college more appealing to potential employers, according to Beth Miller, interior design director and associate professor.
"Employers are so impressed when students are able to work together with other disciplines at an undergraduate level," she said. "It aids them in making an easier transition when they leave school for work."
The winners of the competition -- Meg Jackson, interior design; John Taylor Schaffhauser, architecture; Mark Simpson, building construction science; and Haley Whiteman, architecture -- did not know each other prior to the theoretical design competition; but the four cited their ability to work well together as being the reason they won.
"Each one of our talents is on this presentation board," Jackson said. "We have become great friends throughout the process, and we're going to meet with each other from now on."
Schaffhauser said the competition was his favorite project he's completed thus far in his MSU career, and Whiteman said she saw first-hand how all three disciplines -- architecture, building construction science and interior design -- are necessary to creating the best space.
"We learned to listen to criticism and we worked well together," Simpson noted.
Brasfield & Gorrie preconstruction manager Robert Robison and virtual design and construction coordinator Russ Gibbs, along with MSU campus sustainability coordinator Jeremiah Dumas and MSU architect Tim Muzzi, chose the winners.
MSU students participating in the Brasfield & Gorrie Student Design Competition (by hometown) included first-place winners:
BILOXI -- Junior Haley Whiteman, daughter of Glen and Diana Whiteman.
CANTON -- Junior John Taylor Schaffhauser, son of John and Jennifer Schaffhauser.
GERMANTOWN, Tenn. -- Senior Margaret "Meg" Jackson, daughter of Kevin and Allison Jackson.
TUPELO -- Senior Mark Simpson, son of William and Judith Simpson.
Second-place winners were:
BILOXI -- Senior Amanda "Mandy" Scroubelos, daughter of Alan Watson and Ruth Montana.
CINCINATTI, Ohio -- Senior Kellie Wicktora, daughter of Mark and Laurie Wicktora.
GRETNA, Va. -- Junior McKenzie Moran, daughter of Kenny Moran and Terry Moran.
STARKVILLE -- Senior Anthony Penny. (No parent information available.)
MADISON -- Senior Shelby "Mason" Phillips, son of William and Beverly Phillips.
Third-place winners were:
CUBA, Ala. -- Senior Taylor Webb, daughter of Michael and Pamela Webb.
GULFPORT -- Junior Katherine Ernst, daughter of David and Berverly Ernst.
TUPELO -- Senior William "Will" Tonos, son of John and Jane Tonos.
WILSONVILLE, Ala. -- Senior Geoffrey "Bo" Walters, son of Geoff and Gina Walters.