Saturday, January 13, 2007

my thoughts that have been building up and things i have been needing to put in this blog

I have been here on the Mississippi Gulf coast for two months now, and i wanted to get a few thoughts out. I will posting more about this in the future.

Everyone has been asking about my job, and due to the complex nature of the area, it has been hard to describe how what i do. So i am going to try to explain with full force what i do, and the organization i work with.

I work for the Mississippi State University's College of Architecture, Art and Design. I work in the School of Architecture, and within that, a program called the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.
The GCCDS is embedded within the East Biloxi Coordination Rebuilding and Relief Agency. (also known as the Coordination Center or just the Center) The Center is directed by Bill Stalworth, a Biloxi City Council Member. The Coordination Center has about 4 case managers who assess community members' housing conditions and economic conditions. They help people find money to rebuild their houses, and match them up with a volunteer group who will build their house.
We go to the homes, and assess the condition of the home if it is still there, and measure it, bring it back to the office, and draw it up as is. Since most of these houses are gutted, and mold treated, and all that is existing in the interior of the house are the studs, we have the opportunity of changing the layout of the houses.
So, once we have the interior of the house drawn as is, we look at the plans, and talk with the clients, and see if we can make it any better, we make the changes, and then we send the drawings off to the volunteer group, and the rebuilding begins.

In addition to the homes. we also do community projects. One that i have been working on is the Demonstration Housing Systems Project. It is a small arrangement of buildings or partial buildings, much like pieces of sushi, that show the different building systems available. It was even mentioned in the NY Times last week. here is a link:

We are also getting a group of students next week, to do a studio down here. We have one student from Auburn, one from Boston, a few from Mississippi State University, and a bunch from Minneapolis. They will be taught by David Perekes, the director of the GCCDS and Michael Grote of Architecture for Humanity.

So here are a lot of the groups that work with the Coordination Center:
Architecture for Humanity
Semaritans Purse
Beaverton Four Square
Hands On Gulf Coast
Urban Life Missions
Presbeterian Relief
Appolistolic Christian Relief
Habitat Virginia
Hope Force
Red Cross
and i think there are more, but these are the ones that were at the meeting last week.

so that is what i do, i will write more about my experiences at work in posts to come, for now i need to go work my dog

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