Andrew Freear – Design through Making in Small-Town America



Lecture date: 2006-02-22

In 1993 Samuel Mockbee and Dennis K Ruth established the Rural Studio within Auburn University’s School of Architecture. Acting on the concept of ‘context-based learning’, the studio asks the students to leave the comfort of upstate New York and take up residence in Hale County, Alabama, one of the poorest regions in the US. The goal of this exercise is to heighten the students’ social conscience while providing them with ‘hands-on’ experience in designing and building homes and community projects. To date the Rural Studio has completed in the region of 70 projects ranging in scale from community centres to baseball fields to wheelchair ramps.

AA graduate Andrew Freear moved to the small community of Newbern, West Alabama six years ago in order to direct the Rural Studio there. The work of the studio has been widely published and exhibited.

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