Samuel Mockbee (1944-2001) was a very famous architect: not neccesarily for his own buildings but for the studio he created at Auburn University, the Rural Studio.House with wall made out of cardboard scraps
Lily Friedlander addition - Atlanta, GA.
The Rural Studio took architecture students into poor parts of Hale County, Alabama and created homes for the needy. Not FEMA quality basic housing, but works in the high art of architeture, using donated and found materials (car windshields, anyone?) interiors of a chapel -which utilized 80 Chevy Caprice windshields at the cost of $120 Yancey Chapel interior, 1995, made from concrete and old tires!
Not only did the students get hand on learning experience from building their own projects, design experience and facetime with the 'client', but the field of architecture was brought in touch with those who normally expect architects to be for 'rich folks' (a quote from the film). The following clip is from the film 'Snake-bit' which was just released based upon this studio.

the Hale County animal shelter
Mockbee believed in regionalism, houses built for their specific location and client; not mass produced, cookiecutter mcmansions. There is something to be learned from that. These houses were not expensive and were highly efficient while providing a home for the owner to be proud of. restroom at Pearl LandingHe was aiming to inspire these poor communities into something greater: they deserved better than substandard housing and a substandard life in a rich country. All of the recipients were so proud of their houses and many helped in the construction of them.the 'butterfly' housebottles cast into this wall of this house in Masons Bend, AL. provide light.
A friend and coworker of mine attended the rural studio and she is so proud to have been a part of something so magnificent. I think this shows that we can all go out and make a difference in the world in many different small ways. Mockbee made a difference not just in the lives of these young architects and the many people he helped to house, but in anyone who is inspired by his work.detail of home created from old license plates adhered to a waxed cardboard frame.