Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Samuel Mockbee

By Nicholas Mosher

Architect and teacher Samuel Mockbee’s career path and overall attitude showed how he became a great leader in architecture through his compassion goodness.  Growing up with an impression that architects are “house pets for the rich” and all they want to do is build the biggest and most extravagant designs, he did wanted to do something different and more helpful with his work.  Mockbee bestowed many characteristics that showed through his leadership in architecture.  He was aware of situations around him mainly regarding the poverty in the south and primarily in Alabama where he grew up.  He grew up knowing the experience and it gained his attention when he became an architect and teacher.  He would take his students out to the neighborhoods just so that way they could get a realistic experience of it.  Mockbee showed and taught the trait to heal others and oneself through the architecture and that the goodness and compassion should be a part of the job.  By tackling the housing buildings and other community structures such as churches for the poor areas, and by incorporating his students into it, he was building a community among those who work together1.  His life’s work was a commitment to the growth of people not in population and size, but in compassion and especially the willingness for architects to not just become a “house pet for the rich.”
            The main building block that Mockbee used for building the architecture of trust was that he stepped up to the plate.  Talk of building affordable homes and religious buildings to smaller income communities was hardly backed up in reality.  It was only theorized mainly in schools until Mockbee decided to take action when he became an architect.  This created a new value for other architect and especially his students.  His decision to not pursue a career to design for the rich allowed him to show and help spread an appreciation for what more important focuses should be such as the poor communities.  That decision has been recognized by many and in so has earned him awards for doing so.  Although he hasn’t earned a large amount of awards, the ones he did receive were very important and well known1.  Both taking the initiative and setting a different value of focus have made Samuel Mockbee a trustworthy architect which has made him continue to get work and praise from his peers.
            Samuel Mockbee’s efforts were very effective and noteworthy.  I feel that his compassion and all around good attitude made him a trustworthy architect and that really helped him accomplish his goals of tackling projects that many other architects didn’t want to pursue.  He had good intentions and was knowledgeable of how things were and how he planned to work around or improve those conditions. 


1.      Richard Swett. Leadership By Design: Creating and Architecture of Trust. (Greenway Communications. 2005) pgs 267-270.

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