Rural Studio students taught about sustainability in design

Atelier Ten Foundation

The Rural Studio is an internationally recognized non-profit organization where undergraduate architecture students build architectural award-winning houses, civic buildings, and parks for impoverished clients in the second poorest county of the second poorest state in the nation. The Studio exists because of its isolation and focus; but this means teaching and design consulting commensurate with the design quality is hard to make available to the students.

Since first visiting the Rural Studio in 2002 as a guest lecturer, Atelier Ten Director Paul Stoller has returned twice annually on his own time to lecture and consult with student groups on improving their projects’ environmental performance. Through his visits, and through his ongoing remote design support, Paul has helped raise the students’ understanding of sustainability in design. According to Rural Studio director Andrew Freear, “Paul has participated in advising some 60-70 projects over the last decade and he has single-handed help change the game for us.” Through his teaching, Paul “has truly become an invaluable member of the Rural Studio teaching team, and there is no doubt his involvement helps improve project environmental quality.”

While the program receives some funding from Auburn University, a land-grant state school, this only covers the costs of permanent faculty salary and program facilities upkeep. All projects are funded by outside donations, and the cost of bringing in outside instructors is similarly funded by donations. Through a recent grant, the Atelier Ten Foundation this year is paying all costs for Paul to travel to the Rural Studio.

Paul’s teaching at the Rural Studio exemplifies the Atelier Ten Foundation mission of sharing Atelier Ten’s environmental expertise with a community who would not otherwise benefit from it.

For additional information on the Rural Studio, please see: