Steve Cimino wrote an article recapping the keynotes from the final day of The American Institute of Architects Conference, which included a discussion about Hip Hop Architecture! Here's a brief exceprt from the article with some additional commentary and references to things I discussed during the AIA Keynote.
Frances Anderton (right) led a panel on the last day of A'17 featuring (left to right) Nóra Demeter, Intl. Assoc. AIA; Cheryl McAfee, FAIA; and Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA.The final A’17 keynote session uncovers the opportunities that music, sociology, and behavioral science present architects in any client situation
On the final day of AIA Conference on Architecture 2017, a panel of innovators and a famed behavioral scientist took the stage in Orlando with a theme of "Anticipate Change," addressing what's next for architecture and design's evolution.
The panel, led by Frances Anderton, host of DnA: Design and Architecture, featured Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA; Cheryl McAfee, FAIA; and Nóra Demeter, Intl. Assoc. AIA, all speaking to the opportunities at architecture's frontier. "The theme today should be called 'affect change,' because each of these designers is really trying, and achieving, to steer the profession in new directions in terms of access and architectural expression itself," Anderton said.
"You were probably drawn to this panel by the word 'hip-hop,'" she noted, referencing Ford's nickname 'the hip-hop architect.' Addressing Ford, she asked, "To any of us not familiar with your work with hip-hop architecture, are we talking about a style?"
"It's something that baffles people," Ford responded. "When I give lectures, they come prepared to hear a gimmick. I don't believe it's a gimmick. To me, hip-hop is a voice for the voiceless. I definitely don't describe hip-hop architecture as a style [since] -isms got communities of color in trouble before, so hip-hop architecture won't be classified as 'modernism.' It's more of a new mindset: getting communities engaged who don't have a voice in the process."
Ford urged the audience to print and read the lyrics to "The Message," a Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five song that served as his entrance music, because it speaks to the sociological impacts that designers, architects, and planners have on people's lives.
"Do not build communities that inspire the lyrics you have to ignore when you listen to hip-hop," he said. "If you want to change hip-hop, change the architecture that inspires those lyrics."
During the keynote, I was excited to quote one of my favorite artists, TI, who shocked host Trevor Noah when asked about hypocrisy in rap music. How many times have you heard hip hop artists quoted during architectural conference keynotes? If its the first time, I am hoping it will not be the last time, as I continue to promote hip hop, and all its elements, as a catalyst to raise the social and cultural consciousness of the profession. During the conversation with Trevor Noah, TI said: