Special to the
Opelika Observer

The director of Auburn University’s Rural Studio program, Andrew Freear, will be recognized in April with the Architectural League of New York’s highest honor, the 2020 President’s Medal.
The accolade—being officially bestowed at the discretion of the league’s president and board of directors in New York City on April 14—recognizes individuals for extraordinary achievements in architecture, urbanism, art, design and the environment. “I’m absolutely delighted and, given the previous recipients, I feel very humbled by this honor,” Freear said. “The award acknowledges the value of our teaching method and our desire to address challenges of rural living, and validates our belief that good design should be for everyone.” 
Frear has been with the studio since 2001, which is a residential, off-campus, hands-on design/build program based in rural Hale County, Alabama, and founded in 1993.
As director, Freear has developed the pedagogical approach of the studio to emphasize design learning through making, the practical discipline of achieving design quality while hewing to stringent budgets, and deep engagement with communities to discern “what should be built, rather than what can be built.”
Rural Studio has also developed projects such as the Front Porch Initiative, which “aims to develop a scalable, agile and resilient delivery process for beautiful, well-designed high-performance homes titled as real property while supporting an industry to home building in under-resourced rural communities.”
For more information, visit www.ruralstudio.org.