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....Continua