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MOD Noir



Welcome to the Mississippi State University School of Architecture sponsored ‘Mississippi Modern’ exhibition and web site.  This exhibit was produced (under the guidance of Prof. Jacob Gines) by four exceptionally talented (TSD Honor Society) students: Landon Kennedy; David Lewis; Mary Sanders; and Casey Walker.  The work was first exhibited in the Giles Hall Gallery on the MSU campus in the spring of 2014; from there it has travelled to Greenwood, Jackson and the (Sullivan-Wright) Charnley–Norwood house (Ocean Springs, MS).


We are honored that the Mississippi Heritage Trust is also supportive of this project.


This project was conceived and initiated by the students; it was an honor for my office to be able to provide seed funding to get it launched. I am hopeful that the exhibition will continue to make the rounds in the state . . . with future aspirations of a national exhibition down the road.


This state has a remarkable collection of Modern Architecture; this exhibit brings that work to the forefront. It also recognizes that many of these works are in disrepair and in peril of demolition.  We are thankful to these students for illuminating our recent past — and reminding us of the near future.


Enjoy —

Michael A. Berk    AIA   |   F.L. Crane Professor

Director — School of Architecture

Mississippi State University


The Project


Modernism is the architectural style that desired to express the technologies of the Industrial Revolution through newly-available building materials such as concrete, steel, and glass. These materials aided the creation of dynamic spaces that appropriated the conceptual idea of form , function, and light. Void of the traditional ornamentation, modernist architects looked to bring simplicity and clarity to their buildings by eliminating unnecessary details. The implementation of steel as a building material gave new characteristics to the interior and exterior spaces of the modern building, while concrete allowed the building to express materialistic honesty through its formal and structural capabilities.


In this student-led photographic essay, several buildings were selected, then photographed, based on their observed architecture qualities that agree with the modern architectural movement occurring after World War I. The photographs exhibited were taken by fourth and fifth year architecture students at Mississippi State University.  This photographic exploration searches to find useful examples of modern architecture within the state.


With this exhibit we hope to highlight these selected buildings to a new audience.  Unfortunately, some of these buildings are at risk of being demolished.  We hope this exhibit will educate Mississippians on the historical importance of these buildings.  The gallery is not a complete list of all modern buildings in Mississippi and will continue to grow as more are added.


The Process


Photographs were taken using one DSLR camera and one smartphone. The DSLR camera took the carefully crafted photos of the building in elevation or in detail while the smartphone camera shots focused on general spacial and compositional arrangements of buildings and the site. The smartphone was selected because of its ease of availability while simultaneously recognizing it as today’s “modern disposable camera”. With that relationship established, photographers using the smartphone took 27 photographs, representing the typical amount of exposures on a single roll of file, which resulted in a more comprehensive study of the building and space around it.


The Photographers



The Buildings


Child House

Jax-Lite House

Wilson House

Bailey Magnet High School

Renner Hall and A. A. Branch Hall

Saint Richard’s Catholic Church

Gertrude C. Ford Complex

Naval Reserve Building

Greyhound Bus Station

Kolb’s Cleaners

Jackson Police Department

Columbia High School

John A. People’s Building

Christ Community Church

Carrier Chapel

Crestwood School

Vise Clinic

Meridian Police Department

Durant School

Trustmark Bank Building

Jackson Municipal Library

Falk House

L. Zenobia Coleman Library