Rural Studio in Mason’s Bend, AL

These structures are all in Mason’s Bend, Alabama.

Some of these houses I don’t know the names of or stories behind, but…

This is the community center and glass chapel, which replaced a trailer that was being used for church services. The walls are made out of clay and sand, with wood from nearby cypress trees. The 80 Chevrolet Caprice windshields came from a Chicago scrapyard for $120.

I don’t mean this to sound terrible, but it almost seemed disrespectful for these weeds to be invading something that so many people had invested so much time and love and labor into.

Before he died, Mr. Harris, who owned the Butterfly House, took care of the garden here.

This is the “Butterfly House” and almost half of this house consists of the front porch because the Harris family, who at first were reluctant to accept the new home, basically lived on their front porch (I just have to say here that a lot of this information comes from the very good books Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency and Proceed and Be Bold: Rural Studio After Samuel Mockbee). The roof’s main purpose is for channeling breezes, and some of the heart pine came from a 105-year-old church that was being torn down.

This is Lucy’s House – also known as the carpet house. It was built in 2002 and contains a family room that doubles as a tornado shelter. The walls are made out of 72,000 Flor carpet tiles.

This is the “Hay Bale House” which is also known as the Bryant house. It was finished in 1994 and was the first building completed by the Rural Studio. Before that, the Bryants were living in a shack without heat or plumbing and this house was built next door. The 80-pound hay bales were wrapped in polyurethane, placed in stacks, secured, and coated with stucco. After the house was finished, a student designed and built the smokehouse (out in front) from concrete rubble and discarded road signs.

…from this angle you can see the roadsigns in the ceiling and the bottles embedded in the walls to allow more sunlight in:

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