Night School Recap
Our inaugural B&V Night School was a success! We ate, drank, and watched a wonderful documentary, Citizen Architect. And, then we followed it up with a critical discussion about the role of architects, pro-bono work, student workforce, and adhering to building code, all of which you can read about here.
August 11, 2015
Our first installment of Night School was a success! A dedicated group from B&V, along with a handful of outside guests kicked off the event. We ate, drank, watched a wonderful documentary (Citizen Architect), and enjoyed a critical discussion about the role of architects, pro-bono work, student workforce, and adhering to building code. This all proved to be an exciting beginning to something we plan to continue into the future and share with all of you.
The night was inspiring. The legacy of Sam Mockbee and the Rural Studio is one of commitment to community and the humble role of the architect in society. One of the most exciting points was that this educational model is producing innovations in cost-effective design and construction solutions. For instance, one of the major initiatives at the Rural Studio is the 20K house whereby students conceive of and work with families in the community to create houses which, including labor, cost only $20,000. This initiative is a direct response to the highest mortgage a person can receive on Social Security assistance alone.
In our discussion, we both praised and critiqued the model. Architects have a long and dark history of testing ideas on the disadvantaged and our group was careful to acknowledge this in our discussion. The work of the Rural Studio, as we discovered, breaks from this model by growing a relationship with the community and truly becoming a part of Hale County. We saw fit to compare this to other design-build learning initiatives in which some in attendance had participated, that were not as well integrated into the community. It helped the discussion that a number of people at our first evening had done design-build work in Vermont, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and China.
So will we continue this experiment of Night School? Absolutely! We were pleased with the conversation and open format of the night and look forward to putting on more Night School evenings. The format and topics have intentionally been left somewhat undefined. The hope is that as a result the event will grow and evolve over time and become shaped by the people in attendance and the developing conversation. If you happen to be able to make an evening, you will be helping to shape something that we are very excited about here at B&V. Look for our next evening of Night School in a couple of months. For now, I will leave you with a few links to tide you over until next time.