It was 1994 when Samuel Mockbee and D.K. Ruth started Auburn University's Rural Studio, an undergraduate design/build program in Western Alabama. Since then the participating third- and fifth-year students have designed and built innumerable houses and community projects for the residents of Hale County, Alabama, in the process becoming a model for other university design/build programs in the United States and other countries.
In conjunction with Rural Studio's anniversary, photographer Timothy Hursley "fired up the Alabama silo" last Friday:
[Photograph courtesy of Timothy Hursley. For more on the silo, watch "SoLost: The Beauty of a Broken Silo."]
This two-decade milestone also sees the publication of Rural Studio at Twenty, by current director Andrew Freear, Elena Barthel, Andrea Oppenheimer Dean, who penned the first two PAPress books on Rural Studio, and Hursley, who shot the studio's projects for all three books. A review of Rural Studio at Twenty will follow on this blog soon after its May 20 publication.
Lastly, this anniversary inspired me to profile the Rural Studio and nine other university design/build programs in the piece "Architecture Students Designing AND Building" for the World-Architects eMagazine. Rural Studio is certainly the most famous, but the piece also includes AA Design & Make, Studio 804, University of Tokyo's DFL, and Yale's Vlock Building Project, among others.