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

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

January 19, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST


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

This fall and early winter, Current Work spotlights influential and innovative design practices that bring widely varying perspectives to contemporary housing challenges.

Andrew Freear and Rusty Smith direct Auburn University’s Rural Studio, a context-based service-learning program that questions the conventional education and role of architects. To date, Rural Studio has built more than 200 projects and educated more than 1,200 students in the Black Belt region of Alabama and Mississippi.

The organization’s current research focuses on housing access and affordability, efficient timber use, small-scale farming, and access to resources like clean water. Working with partners throughout the Southeast, Rural Studio is building homes to address rural America’s silent housing crisis.

Recent projects include:

  • Front Porch Initiative, a project aiming “to develop a scalable, agile, and resilient delivery process for beautiful, well-designed, high-performance homes […] in under-resourced rural communities,” according to the Studio’s project description.
  • 20K Homes, an annual project in which Studio students design and build a low-cost home for a local resident.
  • Rural Studio Farm, a local food–sourcing experiment developed and maintained by the Studio’s students, including a passive solar greenhouse, a seed house, and a water collection system.

This event will be offered both in person and online. In-person lecture attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and wear a facial covering indoors.


January 19, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST
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The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
New York, NY United States
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