“Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio,” a 60-minute documentary will be broadcast on PBS August 23, 2010 from 9-10 p.m. CDT. The film is about the late visionary architect Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and his radical educational design/build program to create architecture that not only elevates the living standards of the rural poor but also provides “shelter for the soul” in Hale County, Ala.
Citizen Architect depicts the creativity of Mockbee and his program, affiliated with Auburn University, known as the Rural Studio.
The film explores Mockbee’s effort to instill knowledge and passion into future architects by teaching them how to improve a community’s quality of living by putting compassion and ethical responsibilities at the heart of design.
“Citizen Architect” displays the immense poverty of Hale County, one of the poorest in the nation, and the students of the Rural Studio designing homes and neighborhood buildings that reflect the needs and wants of their underserved clients.
Students build their designs with minimal funding and discarded materials such as old tires, carpet scraps, license plates and car windshields.
They also use donated building materials from Great Southern Wood, makers of YellaWood brand pressure treated lumber and the principal underwriter of the documentary.
The film is guided by interviews with Mockbee that provide context and insight for the story of Jay Sanders, a young Rural Studio instructor, and a group of students who design and construct an environmentally responsible home for an eccentric, destitute Hale County native known to locals as Music Man for his love of song and dance.