Booneville junior at MSU receives $20,000 architecture travel award

Contact: Christie McNeal

Lara Lynn Waddell (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State junior is among the first four students at southeastern architecture schools to receive the newly endowed Aydelott Travel Award.

Lara Lynn Waddell, a graduate of Booneville High School and daughter of George and Julie Waddell from Marietta, has been awarded $20,000 to travel and research four unique buildings she believes possess qualities that rank them among the best in the world.

“I cannot think of a more deserving student,” said School of Architecture Director and F.L Crane Endowed Professor Michael Berk. “The intensity, discipline and rigor of Lara Lynn’s studio and coursework is unparalleled. Her submission proposal for the Aydelott fellowship had the maturity and gravity of a professional historian.” 

The $2.4 million endowment – established by the late Alfred Lewis Aydelott and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott – provides an award each year to four architecture students currently enrolled in the professional architecture degree programs at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Auburn University; Mississippi State University; and the University of Tennessee.

“The Aydelott Travel Award offers a student an opportunity that can and should change the trajectory of their architectural career,” said MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean Jim West. 

Waddell agrees and credits assistant professor of architecture Zulaikha Ayub for starting her on that path.

It was in Ayub’s studio where Waddell first discovered her interest in brick buildings.

“We studied proportions and how it relates to the human body,” she said, explaining what sparked that curiosity and led to helping her choose her top buildings for the Aydelott Award.

Waddell’s buildings include:

—The Church of Cristo Obrero designed by Eladio Dieste located in Atlantida, Uruguay;

—Casa Baldi by Paolo Portoghesi in Rome, Italy;

—Muuratsalo Experimental House by Alvar Aalto in Muuratsalo, Jyvaskyla, Finland; and

—National Arts Schools Cuba by Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti in Havana, Cuba.

Waddell is traveling to each of these locales this summer to study the buildings firsthand and conduct interviews for her research.

“This award enables students to research, visit, study and comprehend four visionary pieces of architecture in a way never available to them before. I look forward to observing a true transformation in the recipients of this award,” West said.

Waddell will return to MSU in the fall to work with her faculty adviser, Professor Emeritus Michael Fazio, to compile her research and observations into a report to be judged against her fellow Aydelott Travel Award recipients. One student will receive the Aydelott Prize and an additional $5,000.

“Dr. Fazio already has been such a great help through this process because he has so much knowledge in the architectural field. I have gained a new friend and lifelong mentor and look forward to the opportunities this experience is going to bring,” Waddell said.

For more information about the Aydelott Travel Award at Mississippi State, visit

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