"Everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul."—Samuel Mockbee
Based on this simple premise, in 1992 Samuel Mockbee launched the Rural Studio to create homes and community buildings for the poor while offering hands-on architecture training for coming generations. Choosing impoverished Hale County, Alabama, for his bold experiment, Mockbee and his Auburn University students peppered this left-behind corner of the rural South with striking buildings of exceptional design. Most use recycled and curious materials: hay bales, surplus tires, leftover carpet tiles, even discarded 1980 Chevy Caprice windshields. The publication of Rural Studio brought this innovative work to the public, and—five printings later—continues to affect the way people view architecture.
Since Mockbee's death in 2001, the Rural Studio has continued to thrive, a tribute to its founder's vision. In 2004, the American Institute of Architects posthumously awarded Mockbee its highest honor, the Gold Medal for Architecture. Under Mockbee's successor, Andrew Freear, the studio has seeded southwest Alabama with an additional seventeen architectural landmarks, and all are shown here. With thoughtful text from Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and stunning photographs by Timothy Hursley, this new book explains the changes the studio has undergone during the last four years and its continuing ability to "proceed and be bold," as Mockbee counseled.
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Andrea Oppenheimer Dean is author of several books on architecture including Rural Studio and editor for journals including Architecture , Architectural Record , Preservation , and Landscape . She lives in Washington, D.C.From Publishers Weekly:
The first title documenting Samuel Mockbee's architectural practice, Rural Studio (2002), has been through five printings; it is beginning to have an impact similar to that of Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language 30 years ago on the ways architects and designers conceive of what they do, how they might go about doing it—and for whom. Mockbee, who died in 2001, believed that great architecture could be made from simple materials (as well as unorthodox and recycled: tires, windshields, hay), for people who were often living in far from ideal conditions; he put his ideas into practice via his studio in out-of-the-way southwestern Alabama. This book documents the studio's work under Andrew Freear in the years since Mockbee's death, including the gorgeously simple Antioch Baptist Church in Perry Co., Ala., which rose like a phoenix from within its century-old predecessor, and a totally heterodox, perfectly calibrated house for a man called Music Man. (Apr. 21)
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