Page N1.1 . 10 December 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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AIA Gold Medal for Samuel Mockbee

by ArchitectureWeek

The late Samuel Mockbee, FAIA, has just joined Thomas Jefferson in an elite club of architects who have received AIA Gold Medals posthumously. The widely admired Mockbee was a practitioner and educator until his death in 2001. The American Institute of Architects announced on December 4, 2003 that they would confer on him their highest honor.

Mockbee is perhaps best known as cofounder of the Auburn University Rural Studio, in which he guided architecture students in designing and building houses and community structures in rural Alabama. There, when designing for the poor, his modernist sensibility was as bold as it had been for wealthy clients. (His practice with Coleman Coker is documented in the 1995 monograph, Mockbee Coker: Thought and Process.)

In nominating Mockbee for the 2004 Gold Medal, Jamie Aycock, AIA, commented, "He taught his students that architecture is a discipline deeply rooted in community, and to embrace his philosophy that everyone, rich or poor, deserved a 'shelter for the soul.' "

As reported in ArchitectureWeek, Mockbee was also recipient in 2000 of a MacArthur Foundation "genius award." Although he rejected the label, he was clearly ingenious in inspiring students and in transforming local, inexpensive, often reused materials into designs of great imagination.   >>>

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Samuel Mockbee, FAIA, has received the 2004 AIA Gold Medal posthumously.
Photo: Timothy Hursley

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The Harris House, designed and built by the Rural Studio.
Photo: Timothy Hursley


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