The "National Memorial for Peace and Justice," designed in collaboration with MASS Design Group, has opened in Montogomery Alabama. Commissioned by the Equal Justice Initiative, the scheme is America’s first memorial dedicated to “the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”
The memorial's April 23rd opening coincided with the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative's Legacy Museum, addressing similar injustices.
Hale County, Alabama is a place full of architects, and often high profile ones. The likes of Todd Williams and Billie Tsien have ventured there, as have Peter Gluck and Xavier Vendrell, all to converge upon Auburn University’s Rural Studio. Despite the influx of designers, it is a place where an ensemble of all black will mark you as an outsider. I learned this during my year as an Outreach student there, and was reminded recently when I ventured south for the Studio’s 20th Anniversary celebration. While the most recent graduates took the stage, I watched the ceremony from the bed of a pick-up truck, indulging in corn-coated, deep-fried catfish, and reflected on what the organization represents to the architecture world.
Since its founding in 1993 by D.K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee, the Studio has built more than 150 projects and educated over 600 students. Those first years evoke images of stacked tires coated with concrete and car windshields pinned up like shingles over a modest chapel. In the past two decades, leadership has passed from Mockbee and Ruth to the current director, Andrew Freear, and the palette has evolved to feature more conventional materials, but the Studio remains faithful to its founding principal: all people deserve good design. Now that it is officially a twenty-something, what canRural Studio teach us about good design?
Auburn University's Rural Studio, an undergraduate program that focuses on designing well-built, low-cost housing for the poor across three counties of Alabama, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this 2013-14 academic year. Since 1993, Rural Studio has been recycling, reusing, remaking and using local materials while maintaining the belief that both rich and poor deserve good design. In honor of 20 successful years of helping Alabama's rural poor, Rural Studio will, for the first time, design eight 20K Houses in one year- and they need your help.
The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.
"Open House" is artist Matthew Mazzotta's latest invention: a compact, faded pink house that unfolds into a ten-piece outdoor theater that seats nearly 100 people. Facing a raised earthen stage, it's a public space made from the remnants of a privately owned blighted property. Reversing the loss of public space that the city of York, Alabama has experienced, Open House has transformed a wasted ruin of a house into an outdoor theatre open to various community events.
Compelled by its utilitarian structure and its run in with a tornado, well-known photographer Tim Hursley came across a damaged grain silo while spending 16 years in Hale County, Alabama documenting the work of Mississippi architect Samuel Mockbee and his Rural Studio project. The structure quickly became more than just another object to see and photograph, so he eventually bought the silo after documenting it periodically over a span of three years. Hursley is currently thinking about moving it around - from one place to another - through means of digital media and technology. As he puts it, he simply, 'encountered and saw it,' and by moving it from one place to the next, he leaves discovery up to the observer. More images and a video after the break.
A few days ago, we shared Forrest Fulton‘s Lace Hill proposal for Armenia, and tonight we share the firm’s idea for a retreat that creates two distinct meditative spaces through its relationships to the landscape. A floating wooden deck and a small, dimly lit enclosure,which is sunken into the ground, intend to respond to one another as a way to “intensify a spiritual experience of the place.”