Space: the vi­tal fron­tier

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Paul Wei­de­man The New Mex­i­can

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

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