Professor and Director, Rural Studio
The mission of the Rural Studio is to enable each participating student to cross the threshold of misconceived opinions to create/design/build and to allow students to put their educational values to work as citizens of a community. The Rural Studio seeks solutions to the needs of the community within the community’s own context, not from outside it. Abstract ideas based upon knowledge and study are transformed into workable solutions forged by real human contact, personal realization, and a gained appreciation for the culture.
In 1993, two Auburn University architecture professors, Dennis K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee, established the Auburn University Rural Studio within the university's School of Architecture. The Rural Studio, conceived as a method to improve the living conditions in rural Alabama and to include hands-on experience in an architectural pedagogy, began designing and building homes that same fall. Professors Mockbee and Ruth sought funding to begin the studio, and through the years, it has received additional funding that has helped it become what it is today: a vision of a process to make housing and community projects in one of the poorest regions of the nation.
To most, the measure of success of the Rural Studio is in its built projects; in reality, its success is measured by its effect upon the lives of the students, faculty, families, and communities it touches. It is not only the buildings that make the Rural Studio what it is, but also the education the students receive about architecture and about society. Ultimately, it is about "sharing the sweat" with the community.
Visit the Rural Studio website.