Posts tagged rural studio.

We agree. Give it a watch ASAP! If you need a copy, we have some for sale through Epicenter.


Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio

This weekend, grab a bowl of popcorn, pop in Citizen Architect and park it on the couch for a couple hours – you won’t regret it.

Citizen Architect is a documentary film on the late architect Samuel Mockbee and the radical educational design/build program known as the Rural Studio.

Hale County, Alabama is home to some of the most impoverished communities in the United States. It is also home to Auburn University’s Rural Studio, one of the most prolific and inspirational design-build outreach programs ever established. Citizen Architect is a documentary film chronicling the late Samuel Mockbee, artist, architect, educator and founder of the Rural Studio.

Citizen Architect explores Mockbee’s effort to provide students with an experience that forever inspires them to consider how they can use their skills to better their communities. Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary is guided by passionate, frank and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself.

Related posts: Safe House Museum & Akron Boys and Girls Club II

The Rural Studio, located deep in the heart of Hale County Alabama, is currently accepting applications for their Outreach Program. Auburn University Rural Studio’s Outreach Program was designed as a way to bring students and collaborators from outside Auburn University into the fold of the Studio. Since its establishment in 1999, the Outreach program has evolved from often individualized, community-driven projects to a single team project: the 20K House.

One of the most challenging of all Rural Studio projects, the 20K house seeks to provide a well-built, affordable housing alternative to the ubiquitous mobile home for local clients. The homes are built for $20,000 where around $12,000 is allocated for materials and the remaining $8,000 would cover labor costs and contractor profit. Unlike other Rural Studio projects, the aim of the $20K House is to create a line of homes which could be built by contractors and have a greater impact on local communities.

Approximately 4 positions are available each year, and the program year is August through May/June ($6,000/semester). Applications are due on April 15, 2012 (for the 2012-2013 school year). To apply, please visit the Rural Studio Outreach page and click Outreach Application PDF (in the middle of the page) to download an application. For questions, please contact us at or call 334.624.4483

To learn more about the Rural Studio, we suggest watching Citizen Architect, and reading Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency and Proceed and Be Bold: Rural Studio After Samuel Mockbee.

DesignBuildBLUFF is a non-profit organization that builds environmentally sustainable homes in the Navajo Nation. Our work introduces first-year graduate students in architecture to the culture and history of Utah’s desert southeast, where they design, and ultimately build a home for a Navajo Family.

above: Rural Studio 20K 9.0 house

Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Design

A fellow Rural Studio participant Will Holman wrote this in-depth evaluation for Design Oberservor’s Places blog of his time with Arcosanti, Rural Studio, and YouthBuild (via HERO).

Look out for the mention of Epicenter along with a rendering for Bear’s House.

Will’s observations based through experience are certainly representative of this certain generation of architects and designers searching for a life working for a greater good while still being able to “make a living and advance professionally.”

We’re honored to be mentioned alongside Rural Studio, Arcosanti, HERO, & Project H. Here’s to “long-term engagement” and “unpaid idealists”!