Earlier this week, we explored the relationship between architecture and construction science disciplines through the lens of a Building Scientist position at Payette. While the two fields are commonly intertwined within professional practice settings, they are also being implemented in a collaborative design studio taught at Mississippi State University (MSU). Students from the school's architecture and building construction science departments worked together in a unique studio called the PCI Foundation Studio.
After receiving a special grant from the PCI Foundation in 2020 to incorporate "precast concrete into the classroom," MSU Architecture's Associate Professor Alexis Gregory allocated the $100,000 grant to be utilized within architecture courses at the school. This funding was used to develop the Spring 2021 PCI Foundation Studio.
Under Gregory's direction, sixteen teams of students from both departments worked together to develop a collaborative design-build project benefitting a very deserving client, the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity.
MSU's Architecture program is comprised of four specific areas of study: design, history/theory, technology, and professional practice, while their Building Construction Science program focuses on construction-specific courses that include "construction systems, building technology, structures, materials and methods of construction, estimating, scheduling, health and safety, and construction law" among others. Gregory explains: "Architecture and construction students are very different in how they approach things. 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."
In teams of five, students worked together to develop affordable housing schemes. "We haven’t had to work in this environment before," shared Kobe Clouthier, a junior in the B.Arch program. "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."
The final speculative projects were also submitted to the ACSA's 2022 Habitat Design Competition, which asked students to develop a "climate-positive design with precast concrete as the primary building material." In the end, two teams were recognized and awarded a small cash prize of $100 each.
Stay tuned for Archinect's continued coverage of student work and interesting studio projects .
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