Late summer brought hot weather and warm festivities to Hale County, as Rural Studio celebrated two completed 5th-year team projects. Adam Davis, Daniel Burton, Laurel Holloway, and Lauren Lovell completed Patriece’s Home for our neighbors, Patriece and her family. And AC Priest, Davis Benfer, Hailey Osborne, and Raymond Teo designed and built a flexible duplex for C.H.O.I.C.E., a community organization in Uniontown, Alabama. Andrew Freear, Director of Rural Studio, praises the students and their projects: “These homes celebrate and serve rural communities and families, reflecting the best of Rural Studio’s mission. I am proud of the student teams, their important work, and their exciting futures.”
The Rural Studio community joined us in this celebration, including team members’ parents, local partners, generous donors, and esteemed alumni as well as beloved colleagues, friends, and neighbors. As we celebrate 30 years in Hale County, we are grateful every day for their energy, support, and encouragement. Freear, along with Justin Miller, Head of Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, offered opening remarks at each project’s ribbon cutting. Recipients of the homes and other members of Rural Studio spoke as well.
The opening of Patriece’s home was accompanied by birthday cake and a song because Patriece and her two children all have birthdays in August! We toured Patriece’s Home, a flexible, two-story house that will adapt to her family’s evolving needs. The number of occupants and their relationships can change in the future without home alterations or additions.
Students on the Patriece’s Home team look forward to bright futures as well. Adam is going to Chicago to work with friend and consultant Kiel Moe; Daniel moved to Birmingham (got married earlier this month!) and is working (remotely) for Seay, Seay & Litchfield Architects, who are based in Montgomery, Alabama; Laurel is now working with Brian MacKay-Lyons as a resident at the Ghost Lab in Nova Scotia, Canada; and Lauren is working at Fuqua & Partners Architects in Huntsville, Alabama. Read more about the project, in the students’ own words, on their blog.
Nearly 200 people turned out for the opening of C.H.O.I.C.E. House, including the organization’s Director, Emefa Butler. This home, a flexible duplex, will be C.H.O.I.C.E.’s first emergency shelter for recently homeless individuals and families. It is also a prototype home: in the coming years, C.H.O.I.C.E. hopes to construct another house on the same site, using this project as a model for both design and construction techniques. The two duplexes will share resources like laundry facilities and outdoor recreation.
The C.H.O.I.C.E. House ribbon cutting featured a bountiful meal prepared by Newbern Mercantile and Abadir’s. Newbern Mercantile provided barbeque pork sandwiches and coleslaw. Abadir’s menu included produce from Rural Studio Farm; it featured arugula and roast eggplant salad, fresh and roasted veggies, Za’atar sourdough bread, black-eyed pea spread, and plum cake.
We send best wishes to the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team for the next adventures. Davis is moving to Portland, Oregon; Haley is moving to Spain to work as a language and culture coordinator for a year; AC is looking for a job out West; and Raymond will stay on at Rural Studio this fall and then be off to find his next adventure. Read more about the C.H.O.I.C.E. House on the students’ blog.
Thank you to all who make this work possible!
Photos by Timothy Hursley