At first glance, hip hop and architecture don't appear to have a lot in common. Have lunch with Mike Ford, however, and he'll quickly change your mind. A scholar and practicing architect, Mike has been studying the connections between hip hop and the built environment for years. Over a recent lunch in Detroit, he told me how hip hop is not only a product of Robert Moses' New York public housing towers, where it was invented, but also drew connections between hip hop back to Le Corbusier and beyond. I'm excited by the potential for Mike's research to bridge the divide between place-based design and communities that have historically been oppressed and disenfranchised by it.
Mike will be discussing the connections between architecture, hip hop and social justice at SXSW Eco this fall with Bryan Lee of the New Orleans Arts Council. These two aren't only talking about these topics, however, they're also leading the design to transform a historic Bronx courthouse into New York's Universal Hip Hop Museum. This CityLab article by Brentin Mock outlines the UHHM's plans to revitalize the Bronx courthouse and delves further into Michael and Bryan's thoughts about hip hop and architecture. Join Michael and Bryan in October to learn the latest developments on the UHHM, as well as the creative community engagement strategies used in the Museum's first Design Cypher. See the session description and Design Cypher video below, and register for SXSW Eco now to take part in our inspiring, participatory program.
Designing a Just City: Hip Hop Architecture
This session will discuss the cultural and colloquial implications of architecture in the built environment through the lens of Hip Hop and Design Justice. Focusing on the intersection of theory and practice, we will explore hip hop as a revolutionary approach to understanding, conceiving, and generating architecture for a just city. Showing these processes in action, we will share the unique, cross disciplinary design process for the Universal Hip Hop Museum.