Sixteen teams of Mississippi State University (MSU) architecture and building construction science students have spent recent weeks learning to work together as design professionals for their spring collaborative studio project, and their work is to the benefit of the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity.
A partnership between the School of Architecture and the Building Construction Science program at MSU's College of Architecture, Art and Design, the joint project is sponsored by a PCI Foundation Studio grant to teach students the necessity of multidisciplinary cooperation in designing building projects.
The foundation is a national program that has made education grants to 20 schools since 2001. It recognizes that each university has its own unique focus and approach to teaching precast concrete design, fabrication, or construction, according to the Illinois-based organization.
Teams of five students at MSU — each with three architecture and two building construction science students — have designed housing plans for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, which builds affordable housing for low-income families. Their designs may see implementation on an existing local site owned by the organization.
The MSU students also have submitted their projects to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture 2022 Habitat Design Competition, which required them to create a climate-positive design with precast concrete as the primary building material.
Teams recently presented their designs to judges from both the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity and the PCI Foundation.
Students Learned to Work in ‘Real World' Situations
Alexis Gregory, an associate professor in MSU's School of Architecture, served as the studio coordinator. She said for many of the students, the group project was their first opportunity to collaborate with those from other disciplines, as well as design with a budget and client in mind.
Gregory added that the young people learned a lot about how to design in a "real world" context and to understand other perspectives while working together.
"Architecture and construction students are very different in how they approach things," she explained. "The benefit of the studio is to have them start to learn what those differences are and how to overcome them in order to have a successful project together."
Kobe Clouthier, a junior architecture student from Garden City, Idaho, whose team received accolades for its work, said the project helped his group better understand how building projects are created in professional spaces.
"We haven't had to work in this environment before," he said. "We've always been really free with budget, and so having the budget and the materials be very specific was very real-world and helpful in that sense."
Two student teams were recognized for their outstanding work, with each individual student receiving a $100 cash award.
Winners from the architecture major include Clouthier, Elaine Otts, of Beaverton, Ala., and Michael Chew, from Birmingham, Ala. The homegrown Mississippi winners were Du'Juan Brown, of Collinsville; Mary Stafford Shurden, from Drew; and Jacob Bryson, of Jackson.
The building construction science winners were Colby Stalcup of Acworth, Ga.; and to three students from Mississippi: Chapman Cooper, of Columbus, Elizabeth Gallagher, from Greenwood, and Tanner Madison, of Hernando.
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