Freear Elected Into the National Academy of Design

Rural Studio Director Andrew Freear has been selected as a member of the National Academy of Design in recognition of his contributions to arts and architecture.

As the oldest artist-run organization in the United States, the National Academy of Design advocates for the value of arts and architecture. Since their founding in 1825, nearly 2,400 members have been elected. Freear joins more than 400 living members, including architects Marlon Blackwell, Elizabeth Diller, Billie Tsien, Tod Williams, David Adjaye, and Renzo Piano, as well as artists Richard Serra, Robert Irwin, Yoko Ono, and Claes Oldenburg. He is the only architect elected this year along with seven visual artists. He will be inducted as a National Academician in October at a ceremony in New York.

Meet all of the newly elected National Academicians here, including Andrew Freear and artists Joanne Greenbaum, Peter Halley, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Joanna Pousette-Dart, and Gary Simmons.

Andrew Freear sitting in Newbern Firehouse

On behalf of Auburn University and Rural Studio, I am very proud to receive this honor, particularly given the roll call of academicians and the history of the National Academy of Design. This truly acknowledges and legitimizes the quality of the design work that Rural Studio has undertaken in our rural community over the last 30 years.

Read the full press release here.

Photo by Rob Culpepper

Midterm Reviews

Spring Break is here, and this 3rd-year class is almost ready to build!  Before Spring Break, however, the students were reviewed by some incredible experts for their midterm.

For the class’s first review, friends from Wood Studio, Dylan and Keith, and Emilie Taylor from Tulane came and gave their sage advice on the students’ design and built cabinet mockups . 

For their second and final miderm review, the Studio’s fearless leaders Andrew Freear and Emily McGlohn visited the class.  Given this is the first time Rural Studio’s woodshop class has ever ventured into building cabinets, Steve and Chelsea wanted to provide the students with as many perspectives as possible.  Thanks to all of the wonderful reviewers the Cabinet Class has had over the last couple of weeks!

Andrew Freear awarded President’s Medal from the Architectural League of New York

Andrew Freear, Rural Studio’s Director, has been honored with the Architectural League of New York’s President’s Medal. He will be presented the award at the annual gala dinner for the presentation of the President’s Medal, the League’s highest honor, bestowed on individuals to recognize extraordinary achievements in architecture, urbanism, art, design, and the environment.

Read the full press release here with details about the award and presentation.

Want to know who are among past winners? Click to find out!

The Plugin House

Wondering why there is a little house sitting under the fabrication pavilion at Morrisette House?

It all goes back to the Loeb Fellowship two years ago when our fearless leader, Andrew Freear, met another Loeb fellow, James Shen, from People’s Architecture Office (PAO). James and his team at PAO have developed the Plugin House, “an easily assembled house made from prefabricated parts. It is a design proposition–suggesting new building technology that considers financial, social, and environmental concerns.” Learn more about the Plugin House here.

So why is the Plugin House is in Newbern, AL? The idea is for PAO to join Rural Studio in exploring ways of reducing housing cost through design innovation. During “neckdown” week, Rural Studio students assembled the Plugin House in only five hours! Now living at Morrisette House, it’s a working prototype that allows PAO to experiment with prefabricated technologies and high speed manual construction. This first exercise is meant to be the beginning of a continuing conversation that will include the dismantling of the Plugin House to be reassembled as an improved version in a different location at the Studio early next year. Before moving to Newbern, this Plugin House was built as a demonstration unit at Harvard University and at Boston City Hall.

Thanks to James and his crew at PAO for this opportunity to learn and work together!

Check out more images of the construction and learn about the project here.