Background Image Alternative Text: students wearing construction PPE and masks work on a modular building
Background Image Alternative Text: students wearing construction PPE and masks work on a modular building with blue crane

After being put on hold for COVID-19, student modular building project moves forward with Collaborative Studio

Building construction science students began the early design and construction process on the buildings during their first year of study in the program last academic year, but the pandemic prevented them from completing the build in the spring.

students wearing construction PPE and masks work on a modular building with blue crane
Photo via Charles Beckham

By Lauren Skelton | Mississippi State University student

Mississippi State building construction science and architecture students have been working to finish construction on two modular buildings as part of a project for the Fall Collaborative Studio.

Building construction science students began the early design and construction process on the buildings during their first year of study in the program last academic year, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from completing the build in the spring.

lots of architecture and building construction science students wearing construction PPE and masks work on parts of their modular building in the outside space behind Howell Hall
Photo via Noah Booth

The Collaborative Studio – which includes this same group of building construction science students, now in their second year of study, as well as second-year architecture students – took on the project, working to complete the buildings’ exterior finishes.

School of Architecture Assistant Professor Christopher Hunter, Ph.D., said the Collaborative Studio, brings students in the two disciplines and gives them experience working together for an entire semester, something that will give them a leg up them in their future careers.

“As what occurs in the professional world where architects and contractors work together during the construction phase of a building, faculty here in both programs want to give the students an opportunity to learn how to work together, understand the issues each discipline must deal with during the design and construction phases of real-world projects, and to also understand the importance of communication and coordination of all aspects of a building project,” Hunter said.

five students wearing construction PPE and masks inspect the outside of a modular building they are constructing
Photo via Noah Booth

Briar Jones, an instructor in the Building Construction Science Program, said that communication is an important aspect of this project and helps with one of the studio’s goals of teaching students how to work through the challenges of communication between the two disciplines while working on an actual design/build project.

“I think that getting exposed to that as a part of the education process is really beneficial,” Jones said. “And for architects, they’re constantly going to be working with teams of others, whether it’s teams of consultants or the owner’s team, so the chance to learn to work in a group setting and communicate is really a vital skill in the profession. I think for the building construction science students, it helps them gain a greater appreciation for what it takes to design something beautiful.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the project looks different to students and professors.

“We’re trying to limit the contact, obviously,” Jones said. “So critiques are conducted via WebEx, typically, but we are still able to collaborate with the architects.”

Hunter said the students and faculty involved are following university guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“University requirements were in place regarding face coverings,” he said. “Though the students from both architecture and BCS were working together, all work took place outside.”