Highland Park native Michael Ford has made a career out of his two seemingly unconnected passions: hip-hop and architecture. But listen to him talk and the two are obviously intertwined — it was the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier's invention of the idea of modern housing projects that gave rise to 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, and 1520 Sedgwick Ave. gave rise to hip-hop.
After giving a traveling lecture series and exhibition series on the interconnectedness of hip-hop and architecture, Ford will soon bring his latest project to Detroit. Hip Hop Architecture Camp is a weekly, month-long meetup open for free to middle school students designed "to introduce underrepresented youth to architecture, urban planning, creative place making, and economic development through the lens of hip-hop culture," and after the camp MOCAD will show an exhibition of work created by the students. We spoke with Ford to learn more. Read More
Check out the official music video from The Detroit Hip Hop Architecture Camp™! The song, "Whats The Future of The Hood", was independently written by the camp participants during the one week camp hosted by University of Detroit Mercy's School of Architecture. Read More
I first met Devanna Pena in Detroit, during the National Organization of Minority Architect's conference hosted by The Detroit chapter of NOMA. We shared a brief conversation about our top five MC's during a shuttle ride to the Bros Art Ball. That short conversation has blossomed into a friendship which has led to us supporting each other in various initiatives aimed at increasing diversity in the field of architecture. When Devanne was announced as the editor of The NOMA Magazine, I was eager to join the team of volunteers to support her in having her visions for the publication come to life. Devanne's design thinking is out of the box. She is a Hip Hop Architect. If you see her, ask her about her presentation with Perkins & Will, where she represents the stages of her career with Tupac tracks. Earlier this year, I called on Devanne to help me facilitate The Universal Hip Hop Museum Design Cypher in The Bronx, where we joined hip hop pioneers, community members, high school students and others to create the programming and conceptual vision of The Universal Hip Hop Museum. Read More
Rapper Big Sean unveiled a new music studio at his alma mater, Cass Technical High School in Detroit Michigan. Cass Tech is the alma mater of many of Detroit's black architects and designers, including myself and Rainy Hamilton Jr. Cass Tech is recognized as one the best high schools in the nation and is one of the only Detroit Public Schools which requires students to take admissions test and requires a minimum grade point average for enrolled students. Big Sean graduated from CT with a 3.7 gpa and despite many scholarship offers, he choose to follow his true dream, entertainment. Read More
Here is a list of the tracks, in order, from my most recent Hip Hop Architecture lectures and seminars. The lists range from old school classic hip hop to modern day rap. The use of the tracks not only provides a transition between topics as I make an argument for hip hop architecture, the tracks contextualizes the discussion points through lyrical references. It is my hope that the memory evoking power inherent in music will allow attendees recall discussion points from the presentation once its concluded. Read More