Auburn Family Friday Speaker Series to feature talk on ‘Educating the Citizen Architect’

Published: November 11, 2019
Updated: November 13, 2019
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The associate director of Auburn University’s Rural Studio in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Rusty Smith, will continue the Auburn Family Friday Speaker Series at 3 p.m. Friday at the Auburn Alumni Center. Smith will present, “Rural Studio: Educating the Citizen Architect.”

Rural Studio is Auburn University’s internationally recognized design-build program for the underserved communities of Alabama’s rural Black Belt region. It is located in Newbern, Alabama, and gives architecture students hands-on educational experience by partnering with the neighbors in the community to fundraise, define solutions, design and ultimately build remarkable projects.

In previous years, the Rural Studio was known for establishing an ethos of recycling, reusing and remaking. However, the Studio’s scope and complexity of its projects to include the design and construction of community-oriented infrastructure, the development of more broadly-attainable small home affordability solutions and a comprehensive approach to addressing insecurity issues relative to income, energy, food, health and education sources has broadened over the past decade.     

Rural Studio has designed and constructed more than 200 projects and educated more than 900 citizen architects. Its philosophy is that everyone, both rich and poor, deserves the benefit of good, dignified design. The studio continually questions what should be built, rather than what can be built.

Rural Studio has received numerous recognitions for both teaching and design including the American Institute of Architects Presidential Citation, The Whitney M. Young Jr. Award for Social Responsibility and the UNESCO Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.       

Smith is a nationally recognized teacher and scholar who was educated at Auburn University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has received the American Institute of Architects' National Teaching Honor Award and the American Institute of Architecture Students' National Teaching Honor Award.

For more information on this event and the other speakers in the series, go to

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.