Lake Flato on Twitter
Rand Pinson

RURAL STUDIO PIG ROAST

Posted by on 5/27/14 at 01:26pm
BONFIRE AT TIM HURSLEY’S SILO

A few weekends ago, I made a trip back to West Alabama to visit Alumni Weekend, Pig Roast and the 20th anniversary celebration at Auburn University’s Rural Studio.

I was fortunate to be a part of the Rural Studio in 2004 and 2007-08 and contribute to the current endeavor of the Rural Studio’s Twenty Thousand Dollar House (20k) during my thesis year. The 20k is a project that began in 2004 that seeks to provide Hale County with noble and affordable housing under the Rural Housing Service 502 loan program. Multiple prototypes have been developed by Auburn for the program and the current students have undertaken that challenge and for the past year and have constructed nine 20k houses. A few former students have found their home at Lake Flato as well. LFer, Margaret Sledge lectured last December for the Alum Weekend that brought together old students and recollections about their experiences and current work.

A former LFer, Thomas Johnston was selected this past year as part of the Outreach Program and is currently designing and building one of the 20k houses. With some help from his dad, some good weather, and a little luck, the majority of “Michelle’s house” will be completed in early June.

Thomas-House2_dogrun

LF’ERS GATHER FOR PIC AT MICHELLE’S HOUSE

sundown_dogrun2 rear_dogrun2

20k v.16 “MICHELLE”S HOUSE

The first night’s festivities began with a tour of the current Old Thesis projects, “Leftovers” or “Super Thesis” as they are called….students who stay to finish their project well after graduation and which has become almost a rite of passage. These projects included the Newbern Library and Greensboro Boys and Girl’s Club with an open house of past projects in flourishing downtown Newbern including the Firestation and Town Hall, both personal favorites. Ted Flato was invited last year to participate in their lecture series last fall and spoke in the town hall about our past projects and future work as we enter the next twenty years. The two old thesis projects will be finished this year, fingers crossed. The night closed with a blues band, bbq, and in Rural Studio style, a bonfire at Timothy Hursley’s tornado silo.

The Greensboro Boys and Girls Club
GREENSBORO BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB
Boys and Girls Club
INTERIOR OF BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB

Greensboro Boys and Girl's Club model

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB FRAMING MODEL

The following morning began with a typical Andrew Freer introductory speech and gathering at Morrisette wth a presentation by 20k 2013 class at the fall’s constructed houses that summarized the history of the 20k, the current challenges, the year’s projects and possible future endeavors with the twenty thousand dollar house. Then began the historically long train of cars around Hale County to tour the current year’s projects and individual presentations, each giving glimpses of Hale County’s rural landscape. This is always the worst part and tests everyone’s patience as you prepare for the long day and the hot sun.

presentation_dogrun

THE 20K PRESENTATION

The tour included the ribbon cutting ceremonies at Lion’s Park Landscape, a project with long term foresight, the Boy Scouts hut that uses roundwood as a structural element and skin, and Lion’s Park Fitness team’s red equipment on the edge of the park and running trail with views into nearby pastures.

Lion'sParkPano_dogrun

LION’S PARK

ribbon2

RIBBON CUTTING AT THE SCOUT HUT

lfhat

INTERIOR OF THE SCOUT HUT

Barrels1_dogrun

lf’er and rural studio alum Jamie sartory’s playground project at lion’s park

The weekend events closed at the Bodark Amphitheatre and Subrosa with the annual pig roast and celebration. The night’s ceremony featured presentation talks by the AIA CEO Robert Ivey, past Alum Bruce Lanier, Mockbee and Ruth families, and Steve Badanes that paid tribute to the legacy, students, founders, community and the future of Auburn’s Rural Studio. The festivities closed with the usual fireworks, band, dancing, whiffle dust and a party into the night.

IvyTalk2_dogrun

Robert ivey speaking at the bodark Amphitheatre

Fireworks_dogrun

closing fireworks

The experience at Rural Studio has left a lasting impression on me and as well as the work I do after my time there. It was a great weekend to share with old friends and new friends, so that they could see where I come from and how that place has made an impact on me. I always enjoy sharing the place and the experience that I had with others. So if you are ever passing through West Alabama, make the trip to Perry Lakes Park, it is well worth it with its collection of  projects, finger lakes, and nearby Cahaba River & Barton’s Beach. If you ever visit, be sure to stop by the Morrisette House for your own map and gift box of mosquito bites, red dirt, sunburn, and architecture pamphlets to remember the place by. I’ve been fortunate to live many places all over the country and contribute to wonderful works of architecture but I know every time I make the drive down Hwy 61, or sit underneath the bodark tree in Newbern it still feels a little like home.

 

 

Special Thanks to Sam H. Pepper and Ryan Tevebaugh for contributing photos and Thomas Johnston and Stephen Durham for being gracious hosts..

  • Corey Leamon

    Nice post, Rand.