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Contact: Madison Welzbacher

A collaborative, winning team of architecture and building science students, left to right, Colby Stalcup, Du’Juan Brown, Tanner Madison, Michael Chew and Mary Stafford Shurden present their studio design project to a panel of judges. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi—Sixteen teams of Mississippi State architecture and building science students have spent the past few weeks learning to work together as design professionals for their spring collaborative studio project, and their work benefits the Starkville region’s habitat for humanity.

A partnership between the School of Architecture and the Building Science program of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design, the joint project is sponsored by the PCI Foundation Studio Grant to teach students the need of multidisciplinary cooperation in the design of construction projects.

Five-person teams, each made up of three architecture students and two building science students, designed housing plans for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which builds affordable housing for families in low income. Student designs can be implemented on an existing local site owned by the organization.

The students also submitted their projects to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 2022 Habitat Design Competition, which required them to create a climate-friendly design with precast concrete as the primary building material. The teams recently pitched their designs to judges from Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity and the PCI Foundation.

Michael Chew, a senior architecture student from Birmingham, Alabama, stands in front of his team's board to present their housing design.
Michael Chew, a senior architecture student from Birmingham, Alabama, stands in front of his team’s board to present their housing design. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Alexis Gregory, associate professor in the School of Architecture, was the studio coordinator. She said that for many students, the group project was their first opportunity to collaborate with those from other disciplines, as well as design with a budget and a client in mind. She said they learned a lot about how to design in a “real world” context and understand other perspectives while working together.

“Architecture and construction students take a very different approach to things,” Gregory said. “The benefit of the studio is allowing them to start learning 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 was awarded for their work, said the project helped his group better understand how building projects are created in professional spaces.

“We had never had to work in this environment before,” Clouthier said. “We’ve always been very loose with the budget, and so having the very specific budget and materials was very real and helpful in that sense.”

A winning house design model.
A winning house design model. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Two teams of students were recognized for their outstanding work, with each student receiving a $100 scholarship.

Architecture major winners include Elaine Otts of Beaverton, Alabama; Michael Chew of Birmingham, Alabama; Du’Juan Brown of Collinsville; Mary Stafford Shurden of Drew; Kobe Clouthier of Garden City, Idaho; and Jackson’s Jacob Bryson.

Building construction science major winners include Colby Stalcup of Acworth, Georgia; Chapman Cooper of Columbus; Elizabeth Gallagher of Greenwood; and Tanner Madison of Hernando.

Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design at

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