Contact: Christie McNeal
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Since the start of Mississippi State’s fall semester, approximately 100 architecture, building construction science, graphic design and interior design seniors have been working in teams on proposals for a redesign of the university’s Hand Chemical Lab auditorium.
These MSU students have been vying for top honors and a cash prize in the Brasfield & Gorrie Student Design Competition, begun in 2011 with a sponsorship from one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms based in Birmingham, Alabama.
Shawn Mancill, regional virtual design and construction manager with Brasfield & Gorrie, has been involved with the competition for a number of years.
“Sponsoring this competition is a way to pour back into Mississippi State,” he said of the company with offices also in Jackson.
The sponsorship, according to Mancill, allows Brasfield & Gorrie to network with and evaluate potential candidates to hire in a real-world environment. However, a main goal is to encourage teamwork and collaborative work in education, something that’s highly beneficial for the industry.
“Students join a team that’s made up of four different disciplines, and many of them may have never met,” he said. “That’s what they’ll find outside of school, and this competition helps them prepare for that.”
For the project this year, MSU teams were tasked with redesigning the existing Hand Chemical Lab auditorium to accommodate 300 seats and propose an addition to house new faculty offices, classrooms and a conference room. Students also were required to consider the Americans with Disabilities Act and egress requirements, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, and the Well Building system for monitoring features that impact human health in their projects.
MSU’s Department of Chemistry—the client for the project—was represented by Professor David Wipf and Department Head Dennis Smith at the teams’ final presentations on last week.
“We are delighted our building was chosen for this cross-college collaboration,” said Smith. “These are fantastic designs.”
Brasfield & Gorrie Regional Quality Control Manager Robert Robison, who also serves on the MSU Building Construction Science Program’s Industry Advisory Board, said what impressed him was how quickly the 10 teams put the project together this year.
“When we gather a team to begin work on a project, it takes them months to do what these student teams are doing in a couple of weeks,” he said. “We like the way that they collaborated and came together for a thorough final project and professional presentation.”
Another goal of the competition is to help students overcome preconceived ideas of the roles traditionally assumed by the various disciplines in the college.
McKenzi L. Crockett, an interior design student and member of this year’s winning team, believes that goal was accomplished.
“We just really learned a lot about the other majors and how to work together,” she said.
Teammate Terrance Blackmon, an architecture student, agreed and said the competition experience and learning how to better collaborate with each other will give his classmates a leg up in their future careers.
“Alumni often comment that they appreciate the value of the experience even more once they begin their careers,” added Associate Professor of Building Construction Science Michele Herrmann.
Along with Herrmann, MSU faculty overseeing the competition included Associate Professor of Architecture Alexis Gregory, Assistant Professor of Architecture Christopher Hunter, Associate Professor of Interior Design Lyndsey Miller, and Associate Professor of Art Suzanne Powney.
Honorees include, by hometown:
FIRST PLACE, Team 7:
BRANDON—Carter S. Cumberland, building construction science; McKenzi L. Crockett, interior design
CLINTON—Collins A. Davis, graphic design
GERMANTOWN, Tennessee—Shawn “Mic” Wilkins, architecture
KENNER, Louisiana—Alexis V. Bonura, interior design
ORANGE BEACH, Alabama—Emma C. Salter, interior design
PINSON, Alabama—Terrance A. Blackmon, architecture
MERIDIAN—Brandon “Reid” Perry, architecture
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama—Rashad Hassan, architecture
SECOND PLACE, Team 5:
BRANDON—Cameron C. Holloway, graphic design
CEDAR BLUFF—Emerson R. Shinn, building construction science
DAPHNE, Alabama—Abigail C. Stewart, architecture
FLORENCE—Cody B. J. Courtney, building construction science
JACKSON—Evelyn “Grace” Carroll, interior design
RIENZI—Megan P. Robinson, interior design
RIPLEY—Joseph “Conner” Griffin, architecture
TUPELO—Jake W. Lindley, architecture
THIRD PLACE, Team 10
BESSEMER, Alabama—Isabella V. Jones, interior design
BYHALIA—Jeffrey “Hunter” Janes, architecture
ELLISVILLE—Cassie S. Winship, graphic design
FLORA—Spurgeon A. Sanders, architecture
PICAYUNE—Savannah E. Wilson, architecture
RIPLEY— Charlie J. “CJ” Childers, architecture
SALTILLO—Hannah E. Waters, interior design
SIMPSONVILLE, South Carolina—Jonathan P. Jajack, building construction science
TUPELO—Katlin “Katie” J. Reeves, interior design
Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and its academic programs at www.caad.msstate.edu and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.