Skip to main content?

Gulf Coast Community Design Studio

A professional service and outreach program of Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art + Design, GCCDS was established in Biloxi, Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to provide design services to devastated communities throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Since its inception, the Studio has been led by David Perkes, a professor from Mississippi State.

Early in its history, GCCDS focused on providing permanent rebuilding and retrofits for residents of Biloxi. Immediately after the hurricane, Perkes realized the importance of getting homeowners involved in the redesign of their house. This differed from other agencies who were only offering two or three design options.

As the arc of recovery continues, the work of the Studio evolves. Its portfolio now includes projects focused on long-term sustainability and community prosperity. GCCDS has emerged as a national leader in best practices for its community-driven approach.  Through direct and continuous contact with the community over the long term, the Studio has functioned not only as a place to receive design assistance, but also as a genuine community hub. The Studio still hosts weekly community gatherings with a variety of experts, so the community can gather, chat and learn.

Overall, the Studio has completed 60 projects, including 230 new house projects, research initiatives, planning projects and environmental restoration.

The studio initially gained traction with its Rebuilding East Biloxi program.  Financed by HUD, it provided community planning and house rebuilding design services in collaboration with Hope Community Development.  The program designed and built around 70 new houses and rehabilitated over 200 houses in East Biloxi between 2006 and 2008.

On the environmental side, with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and others, the Studio executed a restoration of Bayou Auguste, working to restore a tidal marsh habitat as part of an East Biloxi environmental education program from 2010 to 2015.

The Studio has also branched out into formal education. From 2011 to 2013, the Studio developed a program to teach environmental design at Biloxi Junior High.