Mississippi Architect, March 1965: Whitten Jr. High School

The last issue of the first run of Mississippi Architect, published monthly from February 1963 through March 1965, highlighted Whitten Junior High School in Jackson, a building constructed in 1960 as a close twin of Chastain Middle School in northeast Jackson. There is no warning that this will be the last issue. As Noel Workman commented yesterday, the magazine took a hiatus and re-emerged with a new format in Winter 1970 with Joe Weilenman as its editor.

In both its short first run and longer second run, Mississippi Architect gives us a window onto an exciting time in Mississippi architecture, when native-born Mississippi architects, having returned from war and training at places like Auburn and Georgia Tech and even Harvard, were designing cutting-edge buildings for a state whose population was becoming urbanized and modern. In the second run, if we ever get around to re-printing it, you’ll be able to follow the establishment of the School of Architecture at MSU, and watch the careers of the some of its early graduates.

If you’d like to catch up on previous issues of Mississippi Architect that you may have missed, you can easily access a linked index on the “MSArcht” tab on the header above.


Whitten Junior High School
R.W. Naef & Associates

Whitten JHSJunior High School

In designing this school an attempt was made to subdivide the major elements such as classrooms, gymnasium, auditorium, library and administration, and to unify them with corridors located to provide easiest traffic flow.

Classroom shapes, oriented with north and south exposure, are wider than deep to provide for the greatest number of students to be seated nearer the teacher, while at the same time minimizing corridor length and exterior wall area.

The auditorium, seating 900, was designed for school and public use and includes versatile and complete stage lighting control. Allied spaces adjacent include band, choral and art rooms. A shop is nearby for stage craft if required.

In a quiet and central location the library has facilities for study or conference for small groups and an adjacent general purpose room for larger groups or audio visual instruction.

The location of the auditorium and gymnasium is such that either may be used independently by the public, the remainder of the school being locked off by corridor gates.

Whitten JHS


This article is reprinted from the March 1965 issue of the Mississippi Architect, with permission from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. For other articles in this ongoing series, including the pdf version of each full issue, click on the MSArcht tab at the top of this page.

Categories: Jackson, Modernism, Schools


7 replies

  1. Thank you for posting these articles from this historic publication! I’m looking forward to reading about MSU School of Architecture’s beginning.


  2. Very interesting article! This is also the design used for Chastain Junior High School (now Chastain Middle School).


  3. While the plan strategy is interesting. The photo reveals a masterful organization of volumes on the site.


  4. I went to Whitten Junior High School from September, 1983 to June, 1986. =)


  5. Is it just me who can’t access the previous issue with the River Hills article?


  6. No, thank you for all the hard work!


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