The Art Farm at Serenbe unveiled the first artist live-work cottage built in partnership with Auburn University’s award winning Rural Studio program. The relationship between Serenbe and Rural Studio is multifaceted. The partnership was initiated to expand and field test Rural Studio’s nationally recognized 20K House program that has brought affordable housing to clients in rural Alabama. Serenbe’s non-profit Institute for Art, Culture and the Environment has been limited in the number of artists it has been able to provide housing, and the Rural Studio collaboration responds “We are thrilled to celebrate this innovative partnership to continue our affordable housing research,” says Rusty Smith, Associate Director of Rural Studio at Auburn University, “This is the first collaboration of its kind for Rural Studio, and we are eager to learn from skilled developers that can document permitting, costing and help flush out issues to clarify plans for the general public to build. Rural Studio and Serenbe have a shared design philosophy where connections between people, nature and the arts are The cottage is based on Rural Studio’s 20K House designs, was constructed by local Chattahoochee Hills contractor Simon Shell and the process has already provided extensive findings.
Understanding the process of building a 20K House plan in the real world has provided invaluable data on the permitting process, using a licensed contractor rather than university students, local zoning rules, increased build times, as well as, costs associated with a “real-world” build that, in this case, included Earthcraft certification. Rural Studio will be analyzing the data from the project in order to streamline the building process, bring costs closer to the name of the program and consider other contracting and building models.
The Art Farm at Serenbe is a vibrant artist complex that provides a place for engagement and inspiration. Programming includes residencies, dinners, open studios, performances and talks with artists and arts organizations from Serenbe, Atlanta and beyond. Guests enjoy intimate experiences with dreamers and doers through curated cultural events including our signature series, Art Over Dinner, new monthly cocktail event, Art Hour, and soon to be launched Art + Project Retreats.
Rural Studio is an off-campus design-build program of Auburn University. The program, established in 1993 by D.K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee, gives architecture students a more hands-on educational experience whilst assisting an underserved population in West Alabama’s Black Belt region. Rural Studio philosophy suggests that everyone, both rich and poor, deserves the benefit of good design. To fulfill this ethic, the Studio has evolved towards more community-oriented projects that have become multi-year, multi-phase efforts traveling across three counties.
The Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture & the Environment is an organization that nurtures Serenbe as a place where people come together to celebrate life, the arts and nature. Over it’s 10 years as a non-profit, The Serenbe Institute, has incubated and provided support and stewardship to The Serenbe Playhouse, AIR Serenbe, Serenbe Fellows and Serenbe Film. The Serenbe Institute is largely funded by the Serenbe Community Property Transfer Fees from real estate sales that ensure a recurring philanthropic funding source.
AIR Serenbe is an artist residency program and unit of The Serenbe Institute. Founded in 2007 by Serenbe residents and artists Tom Swanston and Gail Foster, the program has championed the creative process by providing artists with time, space and a welcoming community in which to create. AIR Serenbe supports artists of every discipline though Focus Fellowship awards, nominated annually by a National Advisory Board of esteemed peers and experts in the field.