In 1993, Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and D. K. Ruth of the Auburn University School of Architecture established the Rural Studio at Newbern which was aimed to improve living conditions in rural West Alabama through student-led design and construction projects. The Red Barn, located in the heart of downtown Newbern on Highway 61, served as the program’s central hub and gathering space. It housed student living quarters, workshops, and meeting spaces, fostering collaboration and a sense of shared purpose among participants. The barn also played a role in public events and community gatherings, further strengthening the connection between the Rural Studio and Newbern residents. The Red Barn became a symbol of Auburn Rural Studio’s philosophy, known for its community-oriented approach and emphasis on sustainable, low-cost design.
The Red Barn remains an important part of the Rural Studio complex, even after its expansion to include other facilities like the Morrisette House and Supershed. It continues to serve as a gathering space for students, faculty, and community members, hosting workshops, lectures, and social events.
The Red Barn’s vibrant red exterior and iconic presence make it a recognizable landmark in Newbern, symbolizing the Rural Studio’s ongoing commitment to the community. Its significance lies in its transformation into a vibrant center for design, community engagement, and social impact. It stands as a testament to the Rural Studio’s unique approach to architecture and its lasting influence on Newbern and beyond.
Location: Google Maps (32.599127,-87.5333106)
Source: Google Bard