Montana State University

MSU School of Architecture featured in Architectural Record

January 7, 2011 -- By MSU News Service

Hyalite Pavilion, a structure that students from the MSU School of Architecture designed and then built with help from the community on the Hyalite Reservoir in the Gallatin National Forest south of Bozeman, was cited by Architectural Record in its article naming MSU to its list of architecture school with top design-build programs. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
The Montana State University School of Architecture's design-build program was featured in the recent issue of the magazine Architectural Record.

MSU was one of just five university architecture programs featured in a section devoted to programs that teach students to design and then build a project.

The magazine, which is the largest and one of the most prestigious devoted to architecture, cited three MSU projects: the Khumbu Climbing School, a sustainable building in Phortse, Nepal where Sherpas learn safe climbing skills; the renovation of an igherm (or grain storage building) in Zawiya Ahansal, Morocco; and the Hyalite Pavilion, a structure on the Hyalite Reservoir in the Gallatin National Forest, south of Bozeman. That project won a 2010 AIA Montana Honor Award.

"Montana State University's School of Architecture students, though not yet with a formal design-build program, have been involved in hands-on projects locally, statewide, and internationally for the past eight to 10 years, as part of the university's outreach mission," the article noted. Other universities featured in the magazine included Texas Tech University, University of Virginia, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Arkansas. The article can be found on the Web at:

Fatih Rifki, MSU School of Architecture professor, said the designation is a boost to the school's reputation. While it doesn't have a stand-alone design-build option as do a number of other universities, the school has a long tradition of community focused design-build projects in which students design, and then help build, structures for local and regional entities such as governments and non-profits organizations.

In addition to the projects mentioned in the article, Rifki said the school has helped build an addition to a local women's shelter and another to the Gallatin Food Bank, among others. The school is also working to begin a project in Kenya.

"Design-build typically kills two birds with one stone," Rifki said. "Students get real-life experience in seeing their design work realized, and the community gets the advantage of attaining an architectural work.

"It's very important for a land-grant school to be doing relevant work that benefits the community," he added.

Bruce Wrightsman, the MSU architecture professor who directed the design-build of the Hyalite Pavilion, a 1,000 sq. ft. shelter along the banks of Hyalite Reservoir, said that he sent a contact he knew at the magazine information about the project. She had been considering doing an article on design-building projects at various institutions, so was interested in learning more.

"(The article) means a lot since Architectural Record is the leading or largest architectural magazine in country, if not the world," Wrightsman said. He said while he believes the architectural community knows about the MSU School of Architecture, this will help them know about MSU's design-build tradition.
"We may not have a formalized program, but we have a long history of pretty good projects."

He said he has been hearing from MSU graduates and students who are "ecstatic" to see their school included in the magazine.

"It's a great publicity, but we're not going to stop there," Wrightsman said. "We are going to find other opportunities to present at a national level."

Fatih Rifki (406) 994-4290,