Andrew Freear and Rusty Smith, Rural Studio: The Challenges of Sustainable Rural Living

The architects and educators speak about their design and teaching work in rural Alabama.

January 25, 2022

Recorded on January 19, 2022.

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

In this video, Andrew Freear and Rusty Smith describe the history and ethos of Rural Studio, which has produced more than 200 houses and civic, recreation, and healthcare facilities around Hale County, Alabama. They also discuss ongoing work and research that expands the reach of the program, including environmentally sustainable materials and construction investigations underway in collaboration with McGill University; food justice work, including the Rural Studio farm; and the Front Porch Initiative on housing finance, energy use, and constructibility, undertaken with support from Fannie Mae and in collaboration with community development organizations across the Southeast.

The lecture was followed by a conversation and Q&A moderated by Julie Eizenberg, founding principal of the Santa Monica-based firm Koning Eizenberg Architecture. The practice has been recognized, most recently, by the Australia Institute of Architects Gold Medal and an Architecture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for work focused primarily, in the firm’s words, on the “design of housing and neighborhood places that strengthen community.”

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