We are very familiar in Lee County with many programs of Auburn University, most notably the Athletic program! However, there are other ventures that our local academic institution is involved in that may not be so widely known. Rural studio is one such program of Auburn University. Ever heard of a $20,000 house, well designed and well built? That is exactly what Rural Studio set out to do in 1993 by giving the architecture and landscape design departments a project that would serve poor, rural communities in Alabama. Since that day, they have created over 200 projects, and, though the price tag might not stay under $20,000 all the time anymore, their mission, that all people whether rich or poor deserve good design, hasn’t changed.
One project of theirs piqued my interest, because it closely ties into current Interior Design trends of today. It concerns “Aging in place” or building a “Lifetime house”. Their client was a lady in a wheelchair who could no longer enjoy the outdoors. The students set out to build a home that could walk someone through all the seasons of life. To do this, it needed to be flexible and adaptable. Can spaces be turned into a bedroom as needs change? If someone is bedridden, will they still be able to interact with public spaces? These are all questions the team had to address in building for this client. Below is a floorplan they came up with and the final design of the house. You can read more about this project at this link.
Rural Studio is located in Newbern, Alabama and if you’d like to find out more about their projects, you can contact Natalie Butts-Ball to set up a self-tour or guided tour.