Rural Studio, a program offered through Auburn University's School of Architecture, was started by Samuel Mockbee and a fellow professor, D.K. Ruth in the early 1990's. The studio offered students a way to use design to improve the lives of impoverished rural Alabama residents. Many of the projects use recycled materials. Rural Studio has continued at Auburn University despite the death of Samuel Mockbee in December, 2001.
The Akron Boys and Girls Club was built using the existing structure of an old grocery store that was donated by the owners family. The building is meant to provide a supervised place for the children of Akron to go between the time that school lets out and their parents return home form work. The original brick was kept, but a metal-wrapped structure was added. It contains a small classroom, a computer lab, a restroom, and a utility room. The roof is supported by a $25,000 steel frame that was donated by an Auburn University alumnus. The main space is a 1500-square-foot volume providing ample space for the community.