Mississippi State University, Old Main Academic Center

Starkville, Mississippi

Design team: Belinda Stewart Architects, PA – Belinda Stewart, Stephanie Stewart, Craig Bjorgum, Holly Hawkins (Architect of Record, Interior Architecture, Furniture and Equipment Design); Engineering Resource Group (Mechanical Engineer); Tim Haahs & Associates (Structural and Parking Consultant); The Power Source (Electrical Engineer); The Pickering Firm (Civil Engineer); ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,790COST PER SQ FT$198.00FEATURED IN2018 Architectural Portfolio and Woolworth (Acoustics); Debra Daws (Landscape Architect)

Mississippi State University commissioned Belinda Stewart Architects, PA to create a multipurpose classroom building with parking deck as an inviting and student-oriented facility. The new Old Main Academic Center complements the traditional architectural campus environment while incorporating educational concepts such as multiple teaching styles, interior and exterior breakout learning space, and group study rooms.
Design flexibility was important for current and future learning support, so the team incorporated divisible classroom spaces that meet sound and technology needs for multiple functions. The facility also includes space for students to access the university library system and the arts with a library commons, a curated gallery and a grand piano.
The site’s 40-foot grade change from the historic core of campus to the new outer ring of residence halls and student support facilities was a problem turned into a building solution. The building was rotated off the traditional axis, and its form supported the design of multiple walking paths through the steep grade translation and also provided multiple grade-level parking deck entries to maximize parking spaces.