Perkes part of team receiving $100K research grant

A member of the Mississippi State architecture faculty is part of a four-person team receiving the American Institute of Architecture's prestigious Latrobe Prize.

The $100,000 research grant this year is going to associate professor David Perkes, director of the university's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi; Bryan Bell, executive director of Design Corps; University of Illinois at Chicago professor Roberta Feldman; and Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University.

The honor recognizes their proposal, titled "Public Interest Practice in Architecture." The team will "investigate the needs that can be addressed by public interest practices and the variety of ways that public interest practices are operating."

Perkes has led the Harrison County studio since 2005, when it was established to provide architectural design and planning services, and leadership to Mississippi coastal communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Perkes said their research will focus on three questions: what are needs that may be addressed by public interest practices; how current public interest practices are operating; and what is necessary for public interest work to become a significant segment of architectural practice?

"Our research will benefit the public, in part, from the knowledge gained about the public's needs and the effectiveness of architectural practice to address those needs from the surveys and interviews," Perkes said. "Our objectives overall are intended to strengthen existing practices and to provide guidance for the development of a public interest component for a significant segment of architectural practice."

The grant, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. (For more on the AIA, visit

Kenny Billings | University Relations

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