207. If You Build It

builditLast Thursday I caught a showing of If You Build It, a new documentary by director Patrick Creadon.

In it, a pair of designer-activists sets up shop in North Carolina’s poorest county. They teach a group of high school students with no previous architectural skills how to design and build a structure for the town. The program is called Studio H.

It had a bit of added interest for me. In a book due out in May, I wrote an article about an experimental architecture program at Auburn University called Rural Studio. The college students move into a struggling Alabama town and create buildings, often using recycled materials, for its poor residents.

Rural Studio and Studio H have a fair amount in common, including an innovative sense of design. But Studio H adds an intriguing twist, involving the townspeople directly in the process so that they’re both client and creator.

Will that personal investment make a difference? And what effect will the program have on the students involved?

See showtimes for the movie HERE.

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