Office Update

March 21, 2017

CDFL is pleased to announce that we have been selected to provide engineering and architectural services to Mississippi State University as they upgrade the sound system at Davis Wade Stadium. Together with WJHW, a world-renowned audio/visual designer, we look forward to providing Mississippi State with the latest in sound system design. Our team will use state-of-the-art 3D visualization and testing software, ensuring optimal sound distribution and enhancing the overall fan experience. Hail State!

We are also excited to share that there are some fresh faces here at 3100 State Street! Architect Rob Ashley, AIA, and mechanical designer Keith Bradshaw have recently joined the CDFL team. We’re thrilled to have added their talents to our architectural and engineering practices.

And finally, congratulations to Affinity Health Group! Earlier this month, the Monroe, Louisiana-based healthcare provider celebrated the ribbon-cutting at their new medical office building.

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Meet the Team: Rob Ashley

March 16, 2017


Each week we’ll be introducing one of our new CDFL employees, or as we like to think of ourselves, the “us” in the Power of Plus. This week we are proud to introduce architect Rob Ashley.

How long have you been in the profession?
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been doing this for 29 years. I graduated from Mississippi State in 1988, and received my Mississippi license in 1996. Since graduation, I have worked on over 200 projects.

What do you do at CDFL?
I am a Project Architect. In that role, I take projects from concept all the way through construction.

What would surprise us most about your job?
I think most people would be surprised at how much fun our profession is. Every day brings a new challenge, and every day brings a new creative solution.

What do you spend the most time doing outside of work?
I am an avid reader, and usually spend a couple hours each evening winding down with a book (or two). I have also spent a great deal of time over the last few years reaching our family ancestry – it’s amazing what you can find on line. And as everyone knows, if it’s on the internet, it has to be true…

What is the last movie you saw?
We took the kids – and ourselves – to go see Rogue One. Great fun.

How long have you worked for CDFL?
I recently returned to the firm, but have been with CDFL a total of four years.

What new thing is happening in your field?
Computer modeling is not especially new, however the evolution and capabilities of the new software has changed our profession. Our challenge is to mold the computers to our needs, not the other way around.

What’s your favorite TV show?
Having read the entire series four times (so far), I think I am obligated to say Game of Thrones. I have also been enjoying the BBC series, The Vikings.


MCEF Skills Competition Q+A

March 9, 2017

The Power of Plus_new

Intern architect Kwayera Franklin recently participated in his third Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF) Skills Competition as an industry volunteer. Enjoy this look into Kwayera’s experience and this incredible annual event.

How did you get involved with MCEF and the Skills Competition?
In 2014, Jackie Smithers and I were asked to prepare drawings for the team build and carpentry competitions. We were also asked to help with the 2015 Competition. Since that first year, CDFL has been asked to participate whenever there is a need.

What kind of role do you play in the Skills Competition?
I haven’t worked with any of the participants. My role has been in the creation of the drawings they build from – I’m more of a behind-the-scenes support person.

What types of drawings have you provided?
For the 2014 competition, Jackie and I designed two small buildings: a doghouse for the carpentry competition, and a storage shed for the teamwork competition. In 2015, we designed an additional structure: a wildlife observation booth that used some of the same details from our previous designs. The observation booth was used in place of the storage shed for the 2015 competition.

In this year’s competition, the storage shed design will be reused and modified to become a ticket booth!

What is the process for providing drawings? Is it up to the designer or does MCEF provide strict parameters?
We met with the MCEF project managers and they gave us some basic parameters, which were based upon testing the students’ abilities to (1) read a set of construction drawings, (2) identify tools and process needed to produce the finished product, and (3) perform the tasks in a safe and timely manner. We produced a materials takeoff, along with construction drawings, that included floor plans, sections, elevations, details, plumbing and electrical drawings. The participants received the drawings prior to the competition, giving them ample opportunity to prepare.

Tell us more about the competition and how it all comes together.
It’s really interesting to see how this event comes together year after year. There are several hundred people in the Trade Mart during the competitions – students and instructors alike – all performing their individual tasks. It reminds me of a gigantic construction site. From welders to electricians, every basic trade you might find on a job site is represented. It’s a lot to take in.

What about the competition’s events? How are the students organized?
Some are individual competitions, others are team-based.

Do the students select the competition they wish to participate in or are they randomly placed into team/individual events?
High school students, community college students, and adult apprenticeship participants are placed into competitions based on what they are studying that semester. The students are enrolled in programs administered by MCEF and are from all over the state. Winners are chosen to go to the national skills competition held later in the year.

This sounds like such a great opportunity for the participants. What is your favorite part of all this?
One of the best parts, in my opinion, is the community aspect of it all. The items that are judged suitable for use are auctioned, sold, or donated so these students get a chance to have their creations become useful to someone else. MCEF also provides an opportunity for these students that many people will never get to realize, and it’s all for the advancement of the construction industry and workforce development.

Another piece of this that I really appreciate is the construction industry getting behind MCEF in their efforts; most, if not all, materials and equipment used in the competition are donated by builders and other industry-related companies. It’s pretty amazing to see people come together for the good of everyone. This is just another example of the excellence of the human spirit.

I love that the items created are distributed in some way! What kinds of goods are donated or sold?
All kinds of items are sold! Goods ranging from barbecue grills and metal sculptures produced during the welding competition to cabinets made during the carpentry competition. Big and small, they sell it all! Selling or donating the items is one way to clean up the Trade Mart after the competition. I can’t imagine one crew having to haul away and dispose of all those materials off by themselves!


Now Hiring: Intern Architect

January 19, 2017

CDFL is hiring, and we’re in search of an architectural intern to join our team!

The role of Intern Architect at CDFL provides an opportunity to establish a solid foundation for your architectural career. From day one, you will be paired with a Project Architect and have exposure to all aspects of the built environment.

An Intern Architect at CDFL will support the Project Architect in creation, development and implementation throughout all phases of a project.

0-5 years of architectural design experience, preferred experience working in an architectural office

Self-starter who is capable of working independently with strong time management and organization skills

Bachelor of Architecture from a NAAB accredited program required. Advanced degree in architecture considered

Proficiency in design software including Revit, Autocad, Sketch-Up and Adobe Suite

Proficiency in administrative software including Microsoft Office Suite

Desire to become professionally licensed

Experience in developing construction documents and design details for those with previous experience

Strong analytical and problem solving skills

Strong communication skills

Ability to ask questions and to seek answers independently

A team player who is willing to go above and beyond

If this opportunity interests you, please submit a resume and portfolio to [email protected]


CDFL Holiday Extravaganza 2016: Part III

December 15, 2016

The CDFL Christmas Wishlist Vol 2

Here’s Volume III of our 2016 team wish list and gift guide, and the final installment in the Annual CDFL Holiday Extravaganza. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse into some of our team’s yuletide festivities and laughed along with us at the gift guide commentary. Thanks for reading. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, y’all!

In case you missed it check out Part I, our holiday trivia post, and Part II for even more gift giving ideas!


CDFL Holiday Extravaganza 2016: Part II

December 14, 2016

The CDFL Christmas Wishlist Vol 2Do you need some ideas for last minute purchases? Or are you just curious about the items on the CDFeLves’ holiday wish lists? Either way, there’s no need to fret. We’ve gathered some of our team’s most coveted (…and sometimes frivolous) wish list items, and they’re right here for you to peruse. Here’s hoping we’re all on the nice list, and some of these things make their way down our chimney(s).

Check out Part I, our holiday trivia post, and stay tuned for Part III — even more gift giving ideas!


CDFL Holiday Extravaganza 2016: Part I

December 13, 2016

The CDFL Holiday QA 2015


Project Update: The Mississippi Museums

December 8, 2016

CDFL recently had the privilege of touring the two Mississippi Museums here in Jackson with Project Manager and CDFL architect Chris Myers. The 350,000 square foot building will house both the Mississippi State History Museum and the country’s first ever state sponsored Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. It is slated to open in December 2017.

For more on the Mississippi Museums [+]

img_8637Thrash Construction Superintendent Richard Horton looks on as CDFL’s Chris Myers describes the Hall of History.

img_8642The Hall of History shows the connection from the more traditional history museum to the contemporary Civil Rights building. The display window of the museum store can be seen at the end.

img_8643The plaza created by the Museums consists of a grass and paver system installed over tapered foam panels. This protects the visitor parking garage below ground.

img_8647A concrete stairway provides a somewhat dramatic pedestrian access point from the public parking garage to the front entrance of the building.

img_8648The view from the Hall of History looking across the main lobby to the entrance of the Civil Rights exhibit. The entry to the museum store to the left can be open and shut using a movable glass partition system. The integrated tile ceiling allows for the orderly arrangement of lighting, HVAC, and sprinkler systems.

img_8651 A view from the balcony into the history exhibit space below. A curved stair allows visitors a dramatic view of the exhibit space from above.

img_8653Large windows allow for substantial natural light into the Hall of History.

img_8655A view from the balcony on Level 2 down into the 2-story main entrance lobby. Sixteen linear pendant lights will hang over the welcome desk from the suspended square cloud. Glass balcony rails will provide minimal obstructions of the space.

img_8661The central gallery of the Civil Rights exhibit will be home to This Little Light of Mine, an interactive fabric sculpture that will adapt its light and audio activity based on the number of visitors in the space. At night, the sculpture can be seen from outside through the large windows around the space. The soffit around the space will be covered with the names of Mississippians who gave their lives in the fight for civil rights.


Happy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

happy thanksgiving

Today, and all days, our team feels incredibly grateful. We are grateful for our clients, both old and new, that we have the privilege of working with every day, and the projects we are able to see come to fruition. We are also grateful for our driven, capable, and intelligent group of architects, engineers, designers, and administrative staff members.

From our family to yours, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Design Inspiration: Ethan Warren

November 17, 2016


What is the meaning of design? It may be easy to google the definition of design but you’re not getting the whole truth of the definition. Design is defined as “to create, fashion, execute or construct according to plan”. While this is true, the question that must be asked is what has to be done before you execute or create according to the plan? Short answer: a lot of research and thought.

So, what inspires me as a designer? Lots of things can inspire me to create things, but there are a few things that really stand out and drive the things I design.


When I first got into architecture school I thought a good design was all about how the building looked. The more I studied and the more trips I took to see great architecture, I realized it’s not as much about what the design looks like, as much as how it’s being viewed. Within this digital age, everyone can be a professional photographer just by using their phone. We all try to get that perfect picture every time we reach for our camera. But, of course, the architecture needs to look great; if not then the vistas will have been studied for nothing.

What a building looks like is something that will never be overlooked as a designer, but how the building is looked at should never be either.

captureIconic view of the Fallingwater home by Frank Lloyd Wright.

image004This kind of vista is a rare one, but who wouldn’t love to have this view every time they came home?


I enjoy learning about new materials, using new materials in my designs, and drawing the details on how different materials interact with each other. It’s also exciting to learn new ways that materials can be used. Some materials, like concrete, have endless ways that it can be used.

In Tadao Ando’s Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX there was a certain process used during construction that allowed the concrete to look and feel like it does. The concrete has a glass-like smoothness to it and careful steps during construction were taken to achieve this look.



Right across the street from the Modern Art Museum is the Kimbell Art Museum, which also has a unique way of using concrete. It is primarily a concrete structure with a series of barrel vaults providing the roof and ceiling of the building.


Light is not a unique quality for my design inspiration because it is a common inspiration for most designers, and it should be. Light can be a powerful tool within architecture. It can highlight the architecture, bring life to a space or blur the boundary of inside and outside.

“We have no longer an outside and an inside as two separate things. Now the outside may come inside and the inside may and does go outside. They are of each other. Form and function thus become one in design and execution if the nature of materials and method and purpose are all in unison.” Frank Lloyd Wright

image012The Federal Building in Seattle does exactly what Wright’s quote says. It brings the outside in, and it blurs the line between interior and exterior.

Throughout my years in school there was one architect that I looked to for inspiration, Frank Lloyd Wright. When I look at his architecture I see meaningful design, simple and beautiful works of art. He thought about every space that he created and how the user interacted within that space. Absolutely nothing was pushed to the side to be dealt with on a later day.


ABC Mississippi + AIA Mississippi BBQ Competition

November 10, 2016

The Power of Plus_new

In October, CDFL Cookers participated in ABC Mississippi and AIA Mississippi’s first annual BBQ competition. With proceeds benefiting the Warrior Bonfire Program, the event played host to over 150 attendees and 36 teams competing in BBQ pork, ribs, chicken, and appetizer categories. Our team prepared several dishes, including Gene’s special honey/bourbon injected smoked Boston butt; Ben’s smoked chicken with a spicy BBQ rub; Newell’s St. Louis-style ribs (dry rubbed, smoked, and then brushed with a brown sugar and apple cider vinegar glaze); and Ann’s shrimp/mango/avocado skewers.

Our team grilled and feasted on sausage, cheese, and boudin and enjoyed the opportunity to swap dishes with the competition’s many other talented teams.

CDFL’s unofficial mascot, Chipper, had a great day and left a very full, happy, and tired dog. He was also a crowd favorite and represented CDFL very well.  We are incredibly proud to be a part of this inaugural event, and even more proud to share that we were able to raise $10,000.



CDFL Sports + Survey Rankings

November 3, 2016

A recent survey conducted by saw three CDFL Sports facilities named as some of the top college baseball venues in the country. Voted on by 110 coaches and 62 sports information directors, The University of Mississippi’s Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field, Auburn University’s Samford Stadium – Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park, and Baylor University’s Baylor Ballpark were all recognized in multiple categories. Congratulations to these outstanding universities, their teams, and their fans!CDFL Sports Best of Infographic


Project Update: UMMC School of Medicine

October 20, 2016

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s new School of Medicine is making major strides in preparation for its Spring 2017 opening. Thus far, most of the effort had been focused on getting the exterior of the building completed and dried-in. Recently, however, the focus has shifted to the interior of the building. We recently began installing interior finishes, beginning with more durable elements such as limestone and terrazzo.

Stay tuned for more project updates as we speed toward 2017!


school of medicineMuch of the exterior is now enclosed and the final finishes are being installed. Additionally, the ground is being prepared to start the hardscape and landscaping process.


IMG_7976The five-story atrium space is currently full of scaffolding and limestone panels that will eventually appear on interior spaces throughout the building.


IMG_7978Pallets of terrazzo mix line the public corridors as the spaces are prepared to receive the new flooring. The terrazzo goes down in a thick slurry and is ground to be polished and smooth.


school of medicineIn the two large auditorium spaces, the sculptural, acoustically-designed ceiling structure is being installed. The crews work off of a level platform since the floor steps down to the front of the room.  These spaces will hold 200 students each when completed!


What We’re Reading on the Web

September 29, 2016

What We're Reading

As usual, we’ve read the Internet cover-to-cover and rounded up some of the most interesting reads out there for your perusal. Enjoy!

From Architectural Digest, a look at the recently-approved Frank Gehry development coming to LA’s Sunset Strip.

Fascinating take on the history of brutalist architecture, and its recent resurgence.

10 of the world’s most stunning modern religious buildings.

And, while we’re looking at some beautiful photographs, FastCoDesign has a preview of the New York Center for Architecture’s Reading Room exhibit. The exhibit, which runs through early January, features photographs of all 211 of New York City’s public library branches.


Project Update: Children’s Hospital of Mississippi

September 14, 2016

Project Update

Together with leaders from Children’s Hospital of Mississippi, representatives from CDFL, HDR, Blue Cottage, and Smith Hager Bajo assembled in Dallas for a two-day design charrette. The goal of this meeting was to establish the stacking and space plan that will become the basis for the new pediatric facilities on UMMC’s campus. The new facilities will expand the existing footprint by more than 360,000 square feet, and provide Mississippians with significantly increased access to specialty pediatric care. The expansion will, in addition to unifying Children’s of Mississippi’s brand, enhance the hospital’s mission by establishing centers of excellence in the inpatient critical care space, surgical platform, and imaging center. Additionally, the expansion will establish a standalone Ambulatory Destination Center (ADC) for the specialty clinics. A new multilevel parking garage and central plant is planned for the southeast end of campus to support these news facilities and their patrons. New elevated walkway bridge connectors and vertical circulation will link the entire southern end of campus, enhancing the patient experience and improving operational logistics. The design and support team will gather with key representatives from Children’s Hospital of Mississippi again at the end of the month to expand the planning and operational models that will be implemented in these new facilities.

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