We had a little fun at MSU’s expense in yesterday’s “MSU’s Love Affair With Building Plaques,” but the truth is, MSU has many many great buildings on its campus. In fact, I’m going out on the limb here to assert that MSU’s collection outclasses the Ole Miss campus, which in the 1960s just went boring and nowadays seems to think that good architecture is achieved by adding larger and more plastic columns. (Ole Miss fans, please wait until the end to throw things at me.) At Mississippi State, maybe because of their engineering and architecture programs, they have a number of good quality Modernist buildings from the 1950s through the 1970s. They even have the spaceship-like Hunter Center.
But my favorite post-World War II interior on campus is probably the Chapel of Memories. Finished in 1966, the Chapel of Memories is a neo-Gothic small church in the middle of campus. It was built from bricks salvaged from the much-loved Old Main, the longtime men’s dormitory whose core was built in 1879 and which burned in a great conflagration in 1959. The Jackson firm Dean & Pursell designed the chapel, complete with a cloister and fountain to the side. Step inside and you find a beautiful combination of Gothic seeming-oldness with a modern twist. The only ornament is the simple wooden screen between the entry and chapel and the exposed brick and wood structure, but the scattered crumbs of colored glass inserted into the brick walls give the chapel a pleasant diffuse glow at most times of the day.