Wednesday, June 23, 2010

THE DIRTY SOUTH: Samuel Mockbee

(click image to enlarge)

“The goal is not to have a warm, dry house, but to have a warm,
dry house with a spirit to it.”
— Samuel Mockbee

This post was spawned by a fantastic story and slideshow on Design Observer titled "Rematerial: From Waste to Architecture" featuring several amazing designs throughout the world, including Hale County, Alabama. And you can't speak about Hale County without mentioning Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio. No, sir, you cannot.

In 2003, I sought out and landed the job of designing a book for a traveling Mockbee retrospective exhibit named Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio: Community Architecture (details seen throughout here [out of print]). An artist in his own right, Mockbee is best known for his creation of the Rural Studio, a sustainable architecture program based out of Auburn University. Over the years, students involved in the program have both designed and built dozens of honest and innovative structures of all kinds for the residents of Hale County. The key is that each of the highly resourceful designs is constructed with readily available – often salvaged, sustainable or recycled – materials.

There's an exciting new documentary, Citizen Architect, that just premiered at SXSW this past spring and will air on PBS in 2010. To view a dozen short videos capturing the beauty and grace of the Rural Studio's projects including the Hay Bale House, Windshield Chapel, Patrick House, Animal Shelter, Butterfly House and more – go HERE. Both yourself and your soul will be happy that you did…