Educating Citizen Architects

Students sitting with the owner of a Rural Studio home

Front Porch Initiative

We are working to develop a scalable, sustainable, agile, and resilient delivery process for beautiful, well-designed, high performance affordable homes that can be titled as real property while also supporting an industry of home building in underserved rural communities.

Our Work

Rural Studio philosophy suggests that everyone, both rich and poor, deserves the benefit of good design. The students work within our community to clarify problems, define solutions, design, fundraise, and, ultimately, build remarkable projects. Our research addresses rural communities holistically: from houses to infrastructure and resources, always mindful of the connectedness of the many facets of rural life.
Sketch of the red barn


We give architecture students a hands-on educational experience while working hand-in-hand with an under resourced population in West Alabama’s Black Belt region. The program establishes student project teams so that faculty can help them form their own communal and individual design processes. Students learn in a supportive culture that promotes problem solving, the value of listening, and the ownership of ideas.

News From the Field

  • Welcome to the Rural Studio Farm blog!
  • Rusty Smith awarded AU’s Creative Research and Scholarship Award
  • Horseshoe Homes Celebration November 09, 2019!
  • Rusty Smith lecture at Nashville Design Week-Nov. 7th at 7pm
  • 20K Ann’s Home is complete!
  • Welcome back, students!

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