A Documentary About the Rural Studio at Auburn University 2003


Samuel Mockbee and D.K. Ruth founded the Rural Studio at Auburn University in 1993 with the goal of improving the lives of the rural poor in Alabama. Each year the design/build studio constructs approximately five houses, often integrating experimental and sustainable design elements.
This was the website for the hour-long documentary that celebrates MacArthur Fellow Samuel Mockbee’s vision of architecture as a catalyst for social change. The film follows his student architects of Auburn University as they help to rebuild the social and physical landscape of a long neglected rural community “brick by recycled brick”.

Content is from the site's 2003 archived pages as well as from other sources.

The film chronicles the work of architect Samuel Mockbee and Auburn University's Rural Studio, as they re-imagine what architecture means in the strongest sense of the term, striving to meld professional achievement with social change.

To learn more about the undergraduate Rural Studio program at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University go to: http://www.ruralstudio.org/


Rural Studio: A Story of Solutions
The AIA presents a short documentary film on Rural Studio, Auburn University’s community-oriented, design-build program dedicated to improving the western Alabama region with good design. The Rural Studio film launches the 2016 Film Challenge, inviting filmmakers and architects to team up and tell stories of how architecture is solving a problem facing us today in communities, big or small, across the country. Together, we can tell these important stories that need to be told.


The Rural Studio is a production of BluePrint Productions


The Rural Studio Film - Jury Award Winner
Best Feature Length Documentary

Festival Internacional De Cinema Del Medi Ambient
Barcelona, Spain

Fine architecture is usually reserved for wealthy patrons or grand civic spaces. But in 1993, Auburn University Professor Samuel Mockbee set out to change that. He founded The Rural Studio, which guides students in the design and construction of homes and community spaces in economically depressed Hale County, Alabama. The Rural Studio Film captures this innovative program’s vision of architecture as a social art form capable of raising the human spirit. This contextual-based learning philosophy seeks to transcend race and class and in theprocess changes the lives both student and client.

Mr. Schultz's film has become one of the most important vehicles for disseminating the profoundly successful model developed by Professor Mockbee... thanks to Mr. Schultz's efforts, we now have a compelling vehicle by which to extend the benefits of the Rural Studio's achievements.
--Lawrence Rinder - Curator of Contemporary Art - the Whitney Museum

The film beautifully captures Sambo Mockbee's gifts both as an architect and as a teacher. As Mockbee and his students work with black and white families in Alabama, they present viewers with a powerful architectural vision. It is a vision that challenges architects to build exciting housing that is accessible to all our society. Congratulations on an exceptionally fine film.
--William Ferris - Public Policy Scholar - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars





The Rural Studio has been screened at over 65 venues around the world including the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, the Barbican Centre in London and Film Casino in Vienna, Austria.

2006 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, China
2002 The Whitney Museum of American Contemporary Art – 2002 Biennial

The Independent Television Service LInCS Program
The National Endowment for the Arts about that program.


Chuck Schultz - Producer/Director

Chuck is the Executive Producer of the documentary The Calling. In 2007, he collaborated with filmmaker and visual artist Esther Podemski to create 5 Days in July a two screen video installation that revisits the 1967 Newark Riots on its 40th Anniversary.

The traveling installation was exhibited at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and in a group show “1968 Then and Now” curated by MacArthur Fellow Deborah Willis at New York University Center for New Media. Schultz directed/co-produced the NPR radio special Five Days in July that merges drama and documentary written by award-winning playwright Tracey Scott-Wilson (“The Story” and “The Good Negro”). The program received Public Radio Exchange’s 2007 Zeitfunk Award for the third most listened to program by a debut artist.

In 2002 he completed the documentary The Rural Studio. The film celebrates the work of MacArthur Fellow Samuel Mockbee and Auburn University’s Rural Studio students as they re-imagine architecture’s place in contemporary America. A co-production of ITVS’ LINCS Program and Alabama Public Television, The Rural Studio has been screened at over 65 venues around the world including the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, the Barbican Centre in London and Film Casino in Vienna, Austria. It was a selection of the 2002 Montreal International Festival of Film on Art, The Environmental Film Festival and Memphis Indie Festival in 2003. The film was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2002 Biennial and China’s 2005-2006 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture.

In 1992, he produced the documentary A Day at a Time, a candid verité portrait of a family raising two children with cerebral palsy, which won a Crystal Heart Award at the 1993 Heartland Film Festival and Critic’s Choice Best Documentary at the 1992 Breckenridge Film Festival, and was broadcast nationally on NHK Japan, the Women’s Television Network and the Knowledge Channel of Canada. Chuck was an Associate Producer at McCann Erickson’s International Division on advertising and branding for SONY, RJ Reynolds and Coca-Cola.