Space: the vital frontier
Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio, documentary, not rated, CCA Cinematheque, 3.5 chiles
The word “architecture” means many things. In Santa Fe, we might first think of historic adobe buildings, notwithstanding the fact that Frank Gehry and other starchitects have more or less co-opted the art form in recent years. Architecture — good architecture — is art, but that doesn’t limit it to the sleek and grandiose, and it should not be reserved for the denizens of big cities.
The late architect Samuel Mockbee practiced something different: good architecture for regular folks. Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio offers a solid glimpse into Mockbee’s world and an inspiring “new angle” on what architecture can be — or should be.
Among Mockbee’s accolades were the National Building Museum’s Apgar Award for Excellence (1998), a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award (2001), inclusion in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial (2002), and the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal (posthumous, 2004). Yet he is little known outside of his field; he is, for example, not mentioned in the 2005 edition of the Taschen tome Architecture in the 20th Century, nor in the popular 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die, nor does his name appear at www.greatbuildings.com.
Designed for living: Mason’s Bend Community Center by the Rural Studio