Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series Concludes with “Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio”

March 3, 2011 (Cary, NC) – Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) will conclude this winter’s Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series with a special screening of “Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio” on Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m., at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary.


“Citizen Architect” is a documentary that celebrates the legacy of the late architect, artist, and educator Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and the design-build Rural Studio he co-founded with Auburn University in Hale County, Alabama, to provide sustainable shelter for those who cannot afford it. Hale County is home to some of the most impoverished communities in America. Mockbee dedicated his life and the Rural Studio to creating architecture that not only elevated the living standards of the rural poor but also provided “shelter for the soul.”

Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary, directed by Sam Wainwright Douglas, is guided by passionate, frank, and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself. Douglas supplements Mockbee’s words and the students’ experiences with perspectives from other architects and designers who share praise and criticism of the Rural Studio, including Peter Eisenman, Michael Rotondi, Cameron Sinclair, Steve Badanes and Hank Louis. Their dialogue infuses the film with a larger discussion of architecture’s role in issues of poverty, class, race, education, social change and citizenship.


Citizen Architect aims to inspire, and does so with one basic idea: Architecture is for the people dwelling within it,” wrote the Grand Rapids Press after the documentary was broadcast on PBS in August of 2010.


Mike Spinello, a Raleigh architect and graduate of Auburn University who studied at the Rural Studio, will introduce the film.


This special TMH screening of “Citizen Architect” is sponsored by Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture, Blueplate PR, Foundation Bar & Lounge, Kontek, Blok Architecture, and Center Studio Architecture. Tickets are $7.95 in advance or $9 at the door. To reserve advance tickets, go to


The Galaxy Cinema is located at 770 Cary Towne Boulevard, Cary, NC 27513; 919-463-9989. For more information:


For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit



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