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Duvall Decker Architects

Duvall Decker Architects

Jackson, MS

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The main campus entrance is at the south elevation. It faces the city center and aligns with the city grid while the new ramp and amphitheater negotiate the space between the new building and mansion which is rotated and to the left.
The main campus entrance is at the south elevation. It faces the city center and aligns with the city grid while the new ramp and amphitheater negotiate the space between the new building and mansion which is rotated and to the left.
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Coahoma County HIgher Education Center

The county, community college and university jointly created a higher education center in Mississippi’s Delta.  The phased renovation/addition provides classroom, conference and administrative spaces.

The existing campus at the edge of town consisted of two disparate buildings around an imposing historical mansion, formerly home to the daughter of the city’s founder.  The mansion, dominated the highest point of the bluff that drops into the delta and turned away from the city grid.  

The recently renovated mansion, like so many southern artifacts, is both revered and hated for its place in local cultural history.  The charge of the project was to make a progressive, not a nostalgic, intervention around the mansion to create a cohesive and engaging campus.  

The envelope of the existing gymnasium has been renovated to prepare for phase two interior renovations.  A new classroom building replaces an existing substandard structure and is aligned with the city grid to link the campus with the community.  The renovated and new buildings are knitted together with bridges and outdoor walkways that celebrate the bluff and create a center courtyard.

An amphitheater is formed along the bluff and in between existing and new buildings.  It mirrors an outdoor stage at the Blues Museum at the other end of a main city street and creates a performance and gathering space for the campus and for the city’s special festivals and events.

In an economically challenged region that can claim many “last place distinctions”, community leaders hope to highlight its “firsts” and “bests”.  The renovated campus promotes diversity and education and celebrates the region’s landscape, its blues heritage and its full and complex history.

 
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Status: Built
Location: Clarksdale, MS, US
Firm Role: Architect

 
Southwest view. In a landscape with very little change it elevation, the bluff is given prominence.
Southwest view. In a landscape with very little change it elevation, the bluff is given prominence.
A view from the south shows the relationship between the existing mansion and the new classroom building.
A view from the south shows the relationship between the existing mansion and the new classroom building.
The elevator tower offers a focal point and complication at the intersection of walkways and hallways that link the renovated and new buildings.
The elevator tower offers a focal point and complication at the intersection of walkways and hallways that link the renovated and new buildings.
The shape of the elevator tower fuses the intersecting grids of the city and the rotated mansion, and changes shape upon perspective.
The shape of the elevator tower fuses the intersecting grids of the city and the rotated mansion, and changes shape upon perspective.