If you've never heard of the late architect Samuel Mockbee or the program he founded (with longtime friend D.K. Ruth) at Auburn University, the Rural Studio, this film is a wonderful place to start. (For further reading, I highly recommend the book An Architecture of Decency, which is where I first learned about the Rural Studio.)
Mockbee is a revered figure, not simply for the creative genius he brought out in his student-architects but for the social principles he instilled in them along the way. The Rural Studio was "conceived as a strategy to improve the living conditions in rural Alabama while imparting practical experience to architecture students"; their amazing buildings are masterpieces of reuse, showing the beauty of recycled materials. The house pictured above, built in 2002 for the Harris family of Mason's Bend, Alabama, has walls made from 7,000 cast-off carpet tiles. The tower contains a bedroom above and a tornado shelter belowground.
The film screens tonight (Wednesday, May 30) at 7pm as part of Urban ReThink's ReThinking the City, a monthly symposium that considers the possibilities of an urban environment. Urban ReThink is located at 625 E. Central Blvd.; phone: 407-704-6895; admission: a $5 donation to the Urban Think Foundation is appreciated.