In February 2002, Rural Studio was presented at the Whitney Biennial in New York. At the same time, Andrea Oppenheimer Dean published a book with photographs by Timothy Hursley by Princeton Architectural Press. The Rural Studio was shown in Vienna, complemented with other projects for “social situations”. Our intention is to point out the “necessity” of architecture, which is still able to improve real life situations of people on the margins of society.
The focus was on the Rural Studio because there are three main messages associated with it:
1. students learn to build: Students work concretely, design feasible objects together and build them themselves.
2. architecture is necessary: People and situations are selected for this purpose where there is a concrete need for architectural solutions.
3. creative sustainability as a result: in the realization, architectural imagination is required to experiment with disperse materials, to find sustainable solutions, and at the same time to realize a specific architectural statement.
hintergrund 18 includes a collection of texts and materials reflecting on Rural Studio’s projects, ideologies, and social environment. Dietmar Steiner has delivered a transcript from his trip to Hale County, Alabama, where he and Katharina Ritter researched, photographed, filmed, and engaged in a downright spectacular chase along Catfish Ponds for the exhibition and this magazine. Some of the texts in the chapter Just build it are taken from Andrea Oppenheimer’s book Rural Studio and have been supplemented with the latest interviews, statistics and project descriptions.