MSU, county heritage museum receive another accolade

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Mississippi State University recently was recognized by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its role in implementing the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s green technology demonstration pavilion. Pictured at AIAMS 2015 Mississippi Celebrates Architecture program are (l-r) lead juror Aaron Gentry, principal at tvsdesign in Atlanta, Georgia; Jim West, dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and chair of the AIAMS Design Awards; Hans C. Herrmann, MSU associate professor of architecture; and AIAMS President Brett Couples. (Photo courtesy of, Miss.—Mississippi State is yet again being recognized for its role in implementing the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum’s green infrastructure and sustainable building technologies.

A Design Excellence Award from the American Institute of Architects’ Mississippi Chapter is one of only two being presented this year. It recognizes the five-year-long efforts of more than 200 university undergraduate and graduate students who designed and built the repository’s green technology demonstration pavilion, among other features.

Participating students were majors in landscape architecture, landscape contracting, architecture, art, art/graphic design and building construction science.

Including prominent architects and educators, the AIAMS judging panel was led by Aaron Gentry, principal at tvsdesign of Atlanta, Georgia, and an MSU architecture graduate.

Hans C. Herrmann, associate professor of architecture, accepted for the university at the recent annual Mississippi Celebrates Architecture program in Jackson.

Earlier this year, the Starkville project was recognized with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4’s Rain Catcher Award at the neighborhood/community level. In 2013, it was chosen for the American Society of Landscape Architecture’s Award of Excellence in Student Collaboration, the highest honor bestowed by the national professional association for landscape architects. Other honors have included the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 2015 Collaborative Practice Award, as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects/Mississippi Chapter’s 2013 Merit Award, 2012 community service honor, and 2011 and 2012 merit awards for community service.

The green technology demonstration pavilion at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum was recognized with an AIAMS Design Excellence Award. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Located near campus at the intersection of Fellowship and Russell streets, the museum features an American Disabilities Act-compliant entrance way, as well as a circular stair providing public access to the 600-square-foot green-roof pavilion. A 700-square-foot rain garden, 200-square-foot sand filter and more than 1,000 square-feet of new plantings also are part of the project.

Additionally, an adjacent 1,000-gallon rainwater cistern was built from recycled and repurposed materials.

The AIAMS Design Awards program seeks to elevate the quality of architecture by recognizing and honoring works of distinction by its members, as well as raise public awareness of architecture and design. For more, visit

The heritage museum is open to the public 1-4 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, as well as by appointment. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. For more, visit

Part of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, the School of Architecture offers the state’s only curriculum leading to a professional degree in architecture. For more, see and

Visit to discover more about landscape architecture at MSU.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at