Rural Studio Works Design Magic in Newbern

ABOVE The Newbern Library has room for both books and people to discuss them. 

Photo by Timothy Hursley

Auburn University’s Rural Studio recently revealed its renovation and expansion of the 1906 Bank Building in Newbern — a structure that will now take on life as the Newbern Library.

Fifth-year architecture students took on the project, meant to create a new social center for the town with such offerings as after-school programming, computer resources and the town’s first public internet point. Newbern has fewer than 200 residents. A local family donated the building.

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The white brick building now features a small outdoor space along the north side for library patrons to read and socialize. There are also reminders throughout of the town’s history and heritage.

Auburn University’s Rural Studio was founded in 1993 by Samuel Mockbee, an architect, author and teacher, to create architecture for disadvantaged residents of rural areas. Mockbee, who died in 2001 in Mississippi, believed architects should dedicate themselves to providing “shelter for the soul.”

Text by Dave Helms

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