Samuel Mockbee
Canton Fire Station No. 3, Canton, Mississippi, 1984

Samuel Mockbee believed that “the best way to make real architecture is by letting a building evolve out of the culture and place.”

In accordance with this idea, Mockbee’s design for the Canton Fire Station No. 3 evokes local architectural traditions, vernacular materials, and visual associations — but reinterprets them through a modernist lens. For example, the twin gable roof over the facade (early incarnations of which are featured in this sketch) recalls the gables of nearby shotgun houses. It also references the shapes of a fireman’s protective hat and the town’s water tower.

The finished building is constructed of corrugated metal and metal tubing painted white.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Canton Fire Station No. 3, Canton, Mississippi
Artist name
Samuel Mockbee
Date created
architectural drawing
colored pencil and pen on paper
13 3/8 in. × 10 in. (33.97 cm × 25.4 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of Jay L. Wiener
© Sam Mockbee Estate
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Samuel Mockbee

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.