Chapter 68: The Newbies Guide to the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio
In going back through my blog, I thought that this would be a good time to give a post-present introduction to all of my studio mates and write a bit about them so that you can get a better handle on who they are and what they do.
First of all, the GCCDS comprises of two main parts, one of which is the educational component, the other of which is the practice component both of which will be operating (shortly!) out of a former parish in East Biloxi in coordination with the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center (EBCRC) which handles mostly case work. I'll give a quick introduction of both branches and the great people I interacted with all semester.
Education Component- The studio comprised of students from four different colleges: The University of Minnesota (7), Mississippi State (3), Boston Architectural Center (1), and Auburn University (1). In no particular order, they are...
U of MN (7 students from the second year of the Masters of Architecture Program):
This guy has one of the best souls I've ever met. I really enjoyed all his enthusiasm, and I'm sure if you look through the archives, you'll be treated to one of his magnificent performances he has graced us with this semester. Always good for a lift of your spirit, this singing minstrel saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
Despite the fact that he does not indeed "ride dirty" this guy was my rollin' around town homeslice. His computer skills and laid back attitude was invaluable in completing many of our "drawn by midnight, plotted by breakfast, built by dinner" parts of the projects.
Chief of the tribe, this master of cool brings a great background of constructing hot details and general know-how to the table and has really helped the Nixon House move right along. Omar was also one of the most dapper dudes I know at the Sundance of the South Film Festival brushing with the ever popular "bud water".
The country legend known as Petey Boy Pelt is the great grounding member of this group, holding stuff down when it starts floating away. Whether it is his fly thrift store threads, or his now legendary facial hair, he is a force to be reckoned with, I reckon!
This firecracker has been kicking ass and breaking hearts since the day she got to Biloxi. Shana is hella fun to hang out with and a real tough worker on site which makes her fantastic for Biloxi. I hadn't really hung out with her at all before we came down, but I've had a great time getting to know her this semester. Some call her trouble, I call her "jackpot".
Our go to budget and poetry gal, Della mixes her Wisconsin roots with her newfound Mississippi 'tude to rock the Nixon House to the ground. Our personalities tend to mix it up every once in a while, but I never mind a good difference of opinions with someone so groovy.
My next-door neighbor and heir to the porch throne, Sam has been one of my closest friends in the gulf and looks to do thesis work down there in the fall following the transition from FEMA trailer to other transitional and permanent housing solutions. He is one of the lead dogs over at the Nixon House and does it for the glory of love.
Mississippi State (3 students from the fourth year of the Bachelors of Architecture Program):
This free-wheelin' cowboy from Natchez, MS is my dart amigo and grade-A crawfish eater. Famous for introducing me to the song "Sittin' at the Bar" by Rehab which has become our riding home after a night of R & R sing-along.
This little spoon has recently gotten the courage to ask for his girlfriend's hand in marriage and she couldn't be a luckier woman. Chandler's a real stand-up guy who won't put up with any GD's and is pretty fair at Frisbee to boot.
The papa bear of the State group, Scott holds it down and has the phattest moves on the dance floor. I've got a lot of respect for his ability to have both a family life back home and kick so much ass over at the Red House all semester. Class Act.
Boston Architectural Center (1 student from the second track):
At first, he seems like a shy guy that keeps quiet most of the time, but Brandon opened up a lot during the semester and I really got to know a great guy. He's a man's man (oh, I said it) with a great attitude and as they say on draft day, TUP: tremendous upside potential.
Auburn University (1 student from the fourth year of the Bachelors of Architecture Program):
All I can say is funky kitty hats. Nadene rocked my socks all semester long. Our rides to East Biloxi listening to Tom Waits are some of my favorites from my trip and her love for the Shed makes me happy.
The Practicing GCCDS:
(pictured l to r: Jason, David, Christine, picture courtesy of Jessie)
The Grand Poobah of the GCCDS and Adjuct Professor from MS State who co-teaches the design studio with Mike Grote. David is an even-keel guy with a great love for the City of Biloxi and the rebuilding effort.
Little is known about this rock and roll recluse except for the fact that he has the best mustache in all of Harrison County. Jason is a lead designer at the GCCDS and an all around nice guy.
The Women of Architecture:
The unofficial matriarch of the Women of Architecture, Christine resides to the west in Biloxi's neighbor city Gulfport but ain't afraid to come over and mix it up with us every once in a while at Just Us or over with Jessie at Sweet's. Hailing from the upper east coast, she lends a touch of class to the joint.
Our resident sweetheart in more ways than one, this fetching lass formerly from Auburn, Alabama is a printmaking, dress sporting, and dog loving dynamo. Her dog Dolores is one of my favorite poochies aside from Helicopter and Black Puppy in the State of Mississippi. She also maintains one of the best all-purpose sites on the web. Check out her shirts!
Officially "not a hater" Jodi was one of the original Minnesota peeps to come down with me last spring break. She ended up moving down to the 'sip and has been rocking Hands On and the GCCDS ever since.
Although I've only had the pleasure of hanging out with Kristen a handful of times, she has been a real peach every time. Hopefully moving back down I'll get more of a chance to see what makes this Pennsylvania girl tick.
Hailing from D.C. this captain of the Hands On Swim team will freestyle her way into your heart. Her sweet demeanor and committed attitude has her making a huge difference already at the GCCDS as AFH's right-hand woman. What more can I say? Jennifer is the full meal deal.
The Sultaness of Sass is another Minnesota girl who actually has a first degree connection to yours truly having been my TA when I was finishing up my undergraduate degree at the U. Sarah has been a great friend to me when I've been down in the Gulf. She's a great listener and a helluva darts player.