The founding director of Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio has been honored at the White House. David J. Perkes of Biloxi is a new selection for President Barack Obama’s Champions of Change initiative. An associate professor of architecture, he led in opening the Harrison County-based studio, an arm of the university’s School of Architecture, in the devastating aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
Over the years, the design studio has provided planning and design for numerous affordable and sustainable housing initiatives. Perkes and his staff also have worked to help strengthen the local economy, create jobs and help the Gulf Coast area recover from last summer’s massive oil rig spill.
Recently, Perkes was part of a four-member team receiving the American Institute of Architecture’s prestigious Latrobe Prize. The $100,000 research grant supports their proposal titled “Public Interest Practice in Architecture.”