20k x 8

More Rural Studio Homes, Greensboro AL

Rural Studio = 20 years old.


Of all the ways I would re-do college (and my college experience was okay, I have two Bachelor’s degrees from it), there are two main fantasies of doing it differently.

One is going instead to Ole Miss and getting my MA in Southern Studies, then getting a PhD in Art History at UT Austin.

Another is going to Auburn…which as a life-long Alabama fan is…weird, whatever…and getting an architecture degree, and learning from Sambo while he was still with us, at Rural Studio.  Then I would run off and design houses for humanity (not faux chateaus or McMansions or starter castles).  Real architecture for the people.  Learning and doing it in Hale County, Alabama.  The part of me that loves thinking about the idea of repairing the world loves this idea.

Citizen Architect Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio – FILM TRAILER from SamuelMockbee.net on Vimeo.

Well, no matter where any of us went to school or what our course of instruction was, there’s a way to take part in what the Rural Studio has been doing for 20 years now.  It’s sponsoring one of the greatest ideas to come from the program, the $20k house, and this is in part how the idea is described at their site:

The $20k House is an ongoing research project at the Rural Studio that seeks to address the pressing need for decent and affordable housing in Hale County, Alabama. 

Nearly 30% of individuals in Hale County live in poverty. Due to the lack of conventional credit for people with this level of income, and insufficient knowledge about alternative sources of funding, trailers offer the only chance for home ownership. Unlike a house, which is an asset for its owner, trailers deteriorate very quickly and depreciate in value over time. 

The $20k house project intends to produce a model home that could be reproduced on a large scale, and thereby become a viable alternative to the trailer in this area. The challenge is to build a house for $20,000, ten to twelve thousand of which will go towards materials and the remainder on contracted labor. Once a truly successful model has been designed, the aim is to sell the houses in conjunction with the “502 Direct Loan” provided by the Rural Housing Service.

Rural Studio’s goal for their 20th year is to raise $160k between now and December, enough to build eight $20k houses.  Let’s do this.

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