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Samuel Mockbee

From Academic Kids

Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee (1944-2001) started the Auburn University Rural Studio program in Alabama, America in 1991 with the help of fellow professor D.K. Ruth. The Rural Studio was Mockbee's vehicle for educating young designers about the social responsibilites of architecture.

In 1998, Mockbee was diagnosed with leukemia. After a strong and near miraculous recovery, he went on to accept awards and recognition for his work including the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, but fell to the disease three years later.

Mockbee was posthumously nominated in 2003 for the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Gold Medal, and would have won that year were it not for infighting among the AIA selection committee. (A vocal minority of members wished to grant the award to Albert Kahn, who died in 1942.) No Gold Medal was awarded that year. Mockebee won the award the next year, joining the ranks of past winners including Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei and Tadao Ando.

The Rural Studio is located in Hale County, Alabama and carries on Mockbee's legacy. It has become a launching board for the careers of Mockbee's former students.

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