By: Kristina Shrestha
Samuel (Sambo) Mockbee was the Architect- teacher at Auburn University at Auburn, Alabama. He was born in 1944 in Mississippi. He studied in Auburn University and later taught there after his graduation. He believed that architects were only for rich people who can afford to hire an architect to create their dream shelters. He also believed that architects were not concerned about shelters for those who need especially the poor ones who cannot afford an architect.
To follow his dream to help needier, he decided to live in Auburn and teach the class of rural studio in Auburn University instead of looking for jobs in the cities which would pay him high commission. He had worked in small rural projects and he believed that an architect can play a key role in the society. He had been honored by MacArthur Fellow Award in 2000 AD and posthumously received AIA Gold Medal in 2004. He became a pioneer to introduce new trend to existing traditional architecture education. He led new architecture education which combines both theoretical and practical knowledge. The rural studio which was established in 1993 with collaboration of Mockbee, addresses the housing and community need of the poor.
The architecture students with high ideals would work with the nearby rural communities who normally could not afford an architect. The collaboration together has built many single-multifamily units, community centers and prayer houses. Mockbee would help the students to achieve their goals. He believed that every person deserves to have a shelter. He was “leader as a servant of the people, one who unselfishly lends his exceptional talent to serve his community” . Later he located his rural studio in Hale County, Alabama as it was the poorest county and people needed help. He believed that the students can understand the poor state by smelling it, feeling it by being there at that place. With his new campaign to server local community in need, he developed trust between rural studio and the community. Some of his projects in Rural Studio are as follows:
Akron Boys & Girls Club, Akron, Alabama
Yancey Chapel, Hale County, Alabama
Butterfly House, Mason's Bend, AL 1997
1. Swet,Richard; Leadership by Design