START : Water Valley

We’re starting in the Mississippi town that has garnered international media attention
for its history of rolling up its sleeves & wielding crowbars. Water Valley inspired our program,
START where you are with what you have

(Photo compliments of Rory Doyle)

The New York Times article wasn’t the start – but it sure caused momentum.

“They Made Main Street Their Own – How Four Women Rivived a Derelict Mississippi Town”
The title of the March 7, 2012 feature story in the New York Times captured the imagination of people all over the world, bringing with it a rolling collection of editorial coverage from countless other national and international publications. Folks started visiting. Alexe sold more lunches at the B.T.C. Grocery, the beer and crawfish business boomed and this Mississippi Main Street town became a shining example often cited by the National Main Street. Water Valley Main Street director, Mickey Howley, has travelled the nation talking about it, all the way to the White House Convening on Rural Placemaking.   
Read the Times article here.

Our Architect

Tom Howorth, FAIA, is our START : Water Valley lead. In 1986, Tom formed the partnership of Mockbee • Coker • Howorth Architects, a firm that won numerous awards and was included in the Domino’s Top 30 list of the world’s best architects. In 1990, he formed Howorth & Associates Architects and is currently practicing in Oxford, Mississippi.

The Process

Want to make a difference in your community? Join us as AIA|MS pairs Tom Howorth, FAIA, with Water Valley Main Street to take on a one-day build challenge. Tom will be provided with a list of resources including the build site, a list of donated materials, a list of volunteers with a variety of skills and an opportunity to hear from members of the community about a project they would enjoy. Download the flyer here.

Design Charrette

Saturday, February 24, 2018 1-5pm
Yalobusha Brewing Co.
102 N Main Street | Water Valley
Guests participated in an exercise that evaluated potential sites in downtown Water Valley. We thought through civic needs of the community and explored creative solutions that could be achieved using the resources available. 

Design Reveal Happy Hour

Saturday, April 21, 2018  6-8pm
Bozart’s Gallery
Tom shared thoughts about the projects from the charrette and guests began conversations about ways to make each happen. He has since composed drawings and Mickey shared them with Water Valley elected officials to discuss implementation.

Community Work Day

Date To Be Announced.
With a more defined project in mind we are now seeking resources from AIA Partners to make it happen. As we recieve approval from the property owners and secure resources, we will set the date for the community to gather to bring it to life.

Stay tuned!

The Design Charrette

Mother Nature delivered a stunningly warm February afternoon that offered the perfect backdrop for our team of local citizens to review potential projects and narrow the field to one design direction. Tom headed back to his office to sort through the information and return with a path forward.