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IN THE SPRING of 2001, when Sambo Mockbee showed me a preliminary drawing for Lucy's House, it had three major elements a single-story living area, a screened porch, and a simple tower containing the master bedroom upstairs and, a few steps below grade, a tornado shelter that would double as a family room. He had always left the design of Rural Studio buildings to students, but this scheme was different it would be part of a 2001 exhibit of the Rural Studio's work in Chicago, sponsored by a...

Julie

SECOND-YEAR STUDENT, 1999-2000 FIFTH-YEAR STUDENT, 2002-03 When I met Julie Hay, she was seventeen feet off the ground and bent over one of the steel arches of the recently completed Newbern Little League Baseball Field, her thesis project. After she finished mending a piece of catfish netting that spans the backstop's arches, she stepped onto the arm of a backhoe, was lowered back to earth, and joined me for a talk. It was five months after her graduation. Bad weather had delayed her project,...

Mari Michael Glassell

Mari Michael Glassell grew up in the small resort community of Gulf Shores, Alabama. I've never experienced the kind of poverty I'm experiencing in Hale County, she told me in late 2003 during a break from her work on the Patrick House. What impressed her most about the people she met in Newbern was that they have so much heart. I've talked to a lot of people, especially to the domino gang, the Patricks. I played dominos with them. Often, people just sit on their porches and wave to us as we...

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Mockbee's last design, called Lucy's House, was built with a tornado shelter as a family room, a tower, and walls of surplus carpet tiles. Mockbee's last design, called Lucy's House, was built with a tornado shelter as a family room, a tower, and walls of surplus carpet tiles. Community Affairs. In addition, Mockbee's last design, called Lucy's House, was reinterpreted and built by outreach students. With surplus carpet tiles forming its exterior walls, Lucy's House is in Mason's Bend, the...

Another Dimension Of Sambo

MY FAMILY AND I were excited to be at the National Building Museum to accept the 2004 aia Gold Medal Award for Sambo on March 3, 2004. Sambo would have been honored to share the podium with I. M. Pei, who most deservedly won the aia's Twenty-five Year Award for his East Building of the National Gallery of Art, and with Lake Flato, who were given the aia Firm Award. Sambo worked a long, long time to achieve all that he did. He decided that he wanted to be an architect when he was six years old....

Jay Sanders

SECOND-YEAR STUDENT, 1997-98 FIFTH-YEAR STUDENT, 2000-01 CLERK OF WORKS, 2001-02 SECOND-YEAR INSTRUCTOR, 2002-04 The high point of Jay Sanders's two-year teaching career was getting to know Music Man, a.k.a., Jimmy Lee Matthews, for whom Sanders and his students built a house. His friendship with Music Man, Sanders told me, was my first serious relationship with someone living in poverty. When they met, Music Man was living in a rusty trailer without running water or heat. Here was someone...

Carol Mockbee

Subrosa Drawing Mockbee

Carol Mockbee, the youngest of Sambo and Jackie Mockbee's three daughters and older sister to their son Julius was twenty years old when her father died. As a child, she says, I never thought about the fact that my father was an artist and was cool and that he was doing great things for other people. In high school I began to catch on a little. A lot of people in town thought he was weird he was this big mountain man with a beard, outside in the summers doing art. I never thought it was weird....