In this series of Juxtaposed, I remix West Coast Rap All-Stars' "We're All In The Same Gang" music video with the audio of John B Calhoun's research on social crowding and aggression. The video, which I first shared during my Hip Hop Architecture lecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, details how the built environment influences behavior.
Following an extended screening of Spike Lee's new film "Chiraq" a heated exchange occurs between Spike and Umi Selah during a questions and answer session. The exchange brought the seldom told history of the systematic destruction of working-class and poor African American communities to the forefront of discussion. Ultimate, Umi Selah was looking to halt historical discourse and acceptance of the black ghetto's existence solely becaue of the "cultural behaviors" of black and brown people. Just as I, Umi Selah looks to expose the conscious efforts of our profession to absolve the most powerful shapers of society, architects, urban planners and social scientists from their responsibilities.
Hip Hop has established itself as a gravitas culture that crosses borders of race, ethnicity, class, religion and professions. Members of the hip hop generation carry the residue of the culture into all spaces they inhabit and their individual works are seasoned with its’ flavor. As professionals continue to argue the academic validity of hip hop and disseminate the social significance of rap, it is time architectural professionals learn the benefit the culture provides to its’ practitioners.
Here are a couple of renders I created to visualize new concepts for inner city, low income housing utilizing shipping containers. The design is a mixture of current architectural styles, projects and design theories on low income housing.
After each Hip Hop Inspired Architecture lecture, I'm always faced with the same question from attendees after they learn how the projects necessitated the creation of hip hop.