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Hip-Hop and Architecture in the Bronx

Bronx-based architect, Mike Ford, has launched the Hip-Hop Architecture Camp; a one week introduction to architecture, creative placemaking and economic development through the prism of hip-hop culture. The after-school program, sponsored by software company Autodesk, is offered free of charge to students.

The first camp took place in the Bronx’s Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, where more than a dozen students began with an interactive quiz on lesser-known facts connecting hip-hop and architecture, followed by a presentation of buildings designed by architects of color. Students were also tasked with creating model cities inspired by rap lyrics using Lego Architecture kits and Autodesk Tinkercad software for 3D design. Lastly, students were challenged to write lyrics explaining their designs, highlighting the importance of urban representation in placemaking.

Ford incentivizes students to not just ‘plop things down’, but to instead make sure their designs address issues their communities are constantly facing. By bridging the two worlds of architecture and hip-hop, he hopes to inspire children in underrepresented neighborhoods to become future architects, utilizing hip-hop’s philosophy as a cultural response to challenging economic, political and physical environments.

Photo: M.O.D. Media Productions

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