PBS to Broadcast Samuel Mockbee Documentary Citizen Architect


Tune in to PBS later this month, when the network will air Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio, a documentary on the architect Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee (1944-2001) and his radical educational design/build program to create architecture that not only elevates the living standards of the rural poor but also provides “shelter for the soul” in Hale County, Alabama. Directed by Sam Wainright Douglas, a veteran filmmaker and Mockbee’s son-in-law, the hour-long film features frank interviews with the Rural Studio founder and his peers (including Peter Eisenman and Cameron Sinclair) while documenting the creation of a home for Alabama resident Jimmie Lee Matthews, a soul music aficionado known as Music Man. “We wanted to produce a film that followed a project from start to finish, so you could see the impact the experience was having on students, while also allowing Mockbee to explain the Rural Studio and his motivations, allowing you to get to know this amiable, thoughtful person,” says Douglas, who co-produced the film with Jay Sanders, Sarah Ann Mockbee, and Jeff Fraley. “We also tried to show his impact on the profession beyond the borders of Alabama and have a larger discussion about architecture’s role in our lives, education, citizenship, and social priorities.” Check your local PBS listings for airdates and click here to watch the trailer.