The late architect Samuel Mockbee and Rural Studio, the design/build program he co-founded in rural Alabama's Hale County, are the focus of the newly released documentary Snakebit. The 60-minute film, produced for PBS, explores Mockbee's quest to instill in future architects an ethos of compassion and responsibility, as well as the knowledge and passion to improve their communities' quality of life.
Mockbee was one of the first architects whose designs fully integrated materials from the community into the homes his students built. His concept of sustainability and environment responsibility, the unique use of materials and the ingenious designs remain a guiding light for environmentalists. Here are some slides of the Hale County projects to give you the flavor of the Rural Studio's work.
Snakebit draws on never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee. The film takes place in the year following Mockbee's death from leukemia, the film chronicles the studio's struggle to maintain his guiding spirit and documents its affect on the communities it assists and the students it trains.
Ultimately, say the filmmakers, Snakebit offers a dialogue about what it means to be both a successful professional and a responsible member of society. Snakebit is scheduled to air on PBS stations in fall 2009. You wouldn't want to miss it.