The director of Auburn University’s Rural Studio program, Andrew Freear, will be recognized in April with the Architectural League of New York’s highest honor, the 2020 President’s Medal.
In the past, the award has gone to such high-profile names as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, Italian architect Renzo Piano, climate activist and United Nations Paris Agreement negotiator Christiana Figueres, architect Henry N. Cobb, artist Richard Serra and planner Amanda Burden.
“I’m absolutely delighted and, given the previous recipients, I feel very humbled by this honor,” said Freear. “The award acknowledges the value of our teaching method and our desire to address challenges of rural living, and validates our belief that good design should be for everyone.”
The studio is a residential, off-campus, hands-on design/build program based in rural Hale County. It was founded in 1993 by architects Samuel Mockbee and D.K. Ruth on the belief that “everyone, both rich and poor, deserves the benefit of good design.”
Freear has directed Rural Studio since 2001.
Through the years, Rural Studio has built more than 200 projects, ranging from houses, to a farm, to a library and community hub for Newbern in a former bank building, to a firehouse for Newbern’s new volunteer fire department, to multiple projects in Lions Park in Greensboro, Alabama.