Back to the BMA Main Site
Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio: Community Architecture

Birmingham Museum of Art

Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio: Community Architecture

The architect and teacher Samuel Mockbee, founder of Auburn University's Rural Studio, was an idealist who put into action one of the boldest programs in contemporary architecture.  Mockbee led his students in the design and construction of homes, community centers and other essential structures in Hale County, Alabama--one of the poorest counties in the United States.  Mockbee believed that architecture could play a determining role in combating the brutalities of poverty. He inspired students to create vanguard designs and utilize an array of innovative, cost-effective building materials that included scraps of carpet baled into rectangular building blocks.  This combination of ingenuity and enterprise informed the unique character of Mockbee's undertaking. "Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio" appraises Mockbee's unique contribution, assessing how he believed that architecture, practiced as a community-oriented undertaking, could transform the social environment.

Exhibition Dates: October 5th, 2003 - January 4th, 2004