Rural Studio Goes to Venice… by way of Arkansas

Rural Studio is honored to be part of A South Forty, an exhibition featuring architecture of the American South which opened this week in Venice, Italy and will run concurrently with the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Sponsored by the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at University of Arkansas, modus studio, and the Oxford American, the exhibit showcases approximately forty Southern architectural practices loosely collected along Interstate 40 armature of the South. The exhibit highlights the interconnectedness of architecture and Southern culture and celebrates the architecture’s response to regional challenges such as demographic changes and natural disasters.

We are humbled to be displayed among our great and beloved friends, such as Marlon Blackwell, Frank Harmon, Steve Dumez, Anne Marie Duvall, and Roy Decker.

The exhibition will be on display from May 22, 2021 to November 21, 2021 at the Palazzo Mora of the European Cultural Center. For more details about this unique collaboration, review the press release from A South Forty’s team.

Exhibit images courtesy of A South Forty

Newbern Library image courtesy of Timothy Hursley

Workshop #2: Drawing & Seeing with Frank Harmon and Dan Wheeler

The Drawing and Seeing workshop, by Frank Harmon and Dan Wheeler, taught the importance of drawing in the architectural process. They did not teach an ideal way of drawing, but rather to pay attention to what one looks at and how to use drawing as a way to see. The goal from the workshop was not to become more technical or precise sketchers by drawing what one thinks something ought to look like, but to become better at capturing and communicating the essence and context of the beautiful things and places that surround each of us.

Frank Harmon is a professor at NC State and, for years, has been coming to Newbern to help teach a new generation of architects how to see the world and recognize the common beauty around us through sketching. Before beginning his own firm, Frank Harmon Architect, in Raleigh, North Carolina, he worked in New York and London. Follow his beautiful blog of thoughts and drawings called Native Places here.

Dan Wheeler has been bringing his infectious enthusiasm to Rural Studio since 2001. Since then, he has been teaching students the process of drawing and to appreciate the wonderful differences in how each person draws. Dan co-founded Wheeler Kearns Architects in Chicago and also teaches at UIC School of Architecture.

Going into the workshop, many students considered themselves poor sketchers and were shy about showing their “bad” work to others. This workshop gave students confidence in their abilities to depict their surroundings and visually describe their ideas to others using a variety of mediums. It was a thoroughly enjoyable process of making drawings without focusing so much on making them “perfect.” Nobody sees the world the same, so nobody sketches the same. Throughout the workshop, each student noticed something different in the same thing, be it light, shadow, color, nature, or the context. These differences allowed students to gain valuable insight into how each person sees the world slightly differently.

The intended outcome was to learn how to use hand-drawing as a larger part of the design process, especially while working toward thesis projects at Rural Studio.