Life at the Rural Studio
Is there a blog, a website, a magazine, a book….that hasn’t yet told the story of Auburn University’s legendary Rural Studio? In the Metropolis archives alone, there’s a piece on the new pragmatism afoot these days at the popular Design-Build Masters Program, where Krystal Chang went to study construction but found inspiration in “unanticipated gestures” like “a neighbor offering to help, [the client] feeding us watermelons and muscadines, and most of all, the feeling that you have made someone’s life just a bit better….” Now everyone can experience this oft-told story and see its characters come alive in a PBS documentary, Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio, to be aired nationwide on August 23. As you watch, you may be struck by the chasm that exists between our architecture heroes (Peter Eisenman’s remarks are especially revealing) and those who think architecture has social and environmental relevance. Do we need to takes sides? I don’t think so. Great architecture has social and environmental relevance in the 21st century!