Samuel Mockbee taught his students to use recycled and energy-efficient building materials.

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His Impact on Architecture

Samuel Mockbee taught his students that of all the arts, architecture most directly impacts the human condition.

“Architecture is a social art,” he said. “And as a social art, it is our social responsibility to make sure that we are delivering architecture that meets not only functional and creature comforts, but also spiritual comfort.”

Whether helping a Catholic nun move and renovate condemned homes for the underprivileged in Madison County, Mississippi, or teaching students to make the choice “between fortune and virtue,” Mockbee wanted to unsettle the architecture establishment. A design-build architect during an era when architects often removed themselves from anything beyond design, Sambo’s style of work – sustainable, community-building work – is now prevalent. Students, teachers and community leaders realize its value, and thousands of practicing architects look to his work as a touchstone. And many have found inspiration in Mockbee’s creative use of building materials, using donated, salvaged, found and recycled materials to solve problems while keeping costs low and designs courageous.

Mockbee, Samuel. “The Rural Studio.” November 15, 2007.

Libby, Brian. “Samuel Mockbee.” April 9, 2001.

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