Rural Studio - Why aren't all architecture schools like this?

Just a few days ago a friend and colleague architect told me about this wonderful thing called "the Rural Studio". It basically consists of a different and revolutionary way of teaching and doing architecture, in which students are made aware of the social responsabilities of the profession of the architect while providing homes to poor communities in Alabama.

The Rural Studio is part of Auburn University and was created in 1993 with the intention of teaching architecture by combining theory and practice and apply them to local real life situations, i.e., hands-on experience focused on improving living condition of people in an impoverished area of Alabama. The Rural Studio's concept is not complicated at all, in fact it is as simple as it can get: teach students about architecture and the built environment, from design to construction, and get them deeply involved in every step of the way. I wonder why this is not done more often?...

My friend E. also told me all about the huge success of this programme, which helps to explain the long waiting list of people from all over the world who wish to attend the course. I can easily relate to them... A few years ago, when I was studying architecture one of the things that I criticised was the lack of hands-on experience - and I am not just talking about learning how to design buildings but also how to actually construct them.

If you are interested you can read more about the Rural Studio HERE and HERE.

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