Established in 1993 by architects Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and D. K. Ruth, the Rural Studio is a part of Auburn University’s School of Architecture. The Rural Studio is located in rural west Alabama in the small town of Newbern in Hale County. Rural Studio students work directly with poor communities in west Alabama to improve living conditions. This teaches the students the social responsibilities of being an architect. Students design and construct their projects. They often have to rely on donated and salvaged materials for their projects because of limited funds. The results are clever and often stunning structures. One house has walls made of car tires and another is made of hay bales. There is also a shed with stone walls that are studded with soda bottles to let bits of light through. The Rural Studio has completed numerous homes and civic projects in the surrounding communities.
The Rural Studio facilities are located along Highway 61 at Newbern, AL. Included are pictures of the Rural Studio facilities. Rural Studio’s “Red Barn” is located at the center of downtown Newbern on the west side of Highway 61 (GPS coordinates N32.599108,W87.533210). The Bodark Amphitheatre and Subrosa are only about 100-150 yards southwest of the “Red Barn”. Rural Studio’s headquarters, the Morrisette house, is located on the west side of Highway 61 approximately 0.7 miles south of the Red Barn. The Supershed & Pods are located behind the Morrisette house.
Rural Studio’s office, located in the Morrisette house, is a working office and not a visitor center. However, you are welcome to pick up a guide that contains a map which shows the locations of the Rural Studio projects.
Sources: Rural Studio and Wikipedia (Thanks are also extended to Morgan Autery for helping to explore this site.)