Posted in education on March 26, 2014 12:22 pm EDT

“Rural Studio at Twenty”

A written model for engaging place through design in Hale County, Alabama











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TAGS: adaptive reuse, book, building, design,


By Church Designer Staff

For two decades, the celebrated design/build program Rural Studio has created some of the most remarkable architecture of our time—from client houses to civic structures—in the impoverished yet proud pocket of Alabama, Hale County. More importantly, Rural Studio has become an integral part of the community, learning from and contributing to this unique place, while educating a new generation of citizen architects. Princeton Architectural Press’ critically acclaimed bestseller "Rural Studio" (2002) showed how salvaged lumber, concrete rubble, colored bottles, and old license plates have been transformed into inexpensive buildings that are also models of sustainable architecture. Rural Studio has been featured in Oprah, Nightline, CBS News, Time magazine, and People magazine.

This year, Rural Studio turns 20 years old. "Rural Studio at Twenty" (Princeton Architectural Press, May 27, $40) chronicles the evolution of the legendary program, co-founded by visionary Samuel Mockbee and his friend and colleague D. K. Ruth and now directed by their successor Andrew Freear. In addition to showcasing a wide portfolio of projects, captured by photographer Timothy Hursley, the book provides an in-depth look at how Rural Studio has thrived through challenges and triumphs, missteps and lessons learned. Significantly, it also looks to the future, as the studio takes on some of its most ambitious projects yet—from the Rural Studio Farm, a model for sustainable living, to the 20K House program, aimed at creating an affordable home for everyone. The volume is anchored by a collection of essays from advisors, consultants, community partners, clients, and alumni, whose support has been critical to the studio’s continued success.

Reserve a copy of "Rural Studio at Twenty" here (visit link).

About the Authors

Andrew Freear is the director of Rural Studio in Newbern, Ala. Elena Barthel is Rural Studio’s assistant professor and is charged with designing the Rural Studio Farm.


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