If you polled my classmates in 1991, a good many of them may have voted me off the studio. You see, prior to the iPod or iPhone containing a huge library of music; prior to you even having access to a computer in the studio which could also play your music, architecture studios were essentially boom box battle zones. My boom box was among the biggest and hardly anyone else liked my kind of music.
I like a lot of music. Truly. But, for all that is holy, I can only stand so much Brown Eyed Girl or, Lord help me, Best of Billy Joel. Certain people in my studio pirated the airwaves with that junk all day long while professors were mulling around. Either all they had was that one CD or they were too lazy to take it off of "repeat". It didn't matter because it was the banal stuff that would offend no one. It was, however, all I could do not to grab their boom box and throw it out the fourth story window onto the unsuspecting engineering students below. During the day, my kind of music was taboo. But as soon as night fell, I pressed 'play".
|One of my favorite album covers. Maybe because the artist was an architect, Matteo Pericoli.|
Check him out: Matteo Pericoli
|Shock value? Sure. But contextual too. This was one of my first hip hop albums.|
Fast forward almost 30 years. Hip Hop basically took over the world, as we all know. Beyonce, the Kardashians - they all married into hip hop royalty. All of my friends were wrong, and I was obviously right. And today the AIA is literally dying to get some diversity in the profession of architecture. Still. They talked about this 20 years ago.
A couple years ago, a then graduate student in architecture, Michael Ford, blew up the architecture scene with a compelling program called Hip Hop Architecture Camp. From their website:
The Hip Hop Architecture Camp® is a one week intensive experience, designed to introduce under represented youth to architecture, urban planning, creative place making and economic development through the lens of hip hop culture.
Learn more about Hip Hop Architecture Here: HipHopArchitecture.com
Beautiful. How do we get young architects with diverse backgrounds in the pipeline? College is too late. High school is too. Take the message to them early. Make it seem cool and like it can make a difference. Music and architecture have always had this symbiotic relationship. I remember our first year instructor Don going on and on about Mozart's compositions and how you could have "too many notes" and all that. Did that resonate with 17 and 18 year olds in 1991? Not a bit. Well - maybe a little since I remembered it 27 years later but - Don was no Grandmaster Flash, that's for sure.
|Early hip hop spoke about the environment, the real environment, in which the artists lived.|
|Photographer Glen E. Friedman took this photo on his own roof. He did album covers for many artists across many genres.|
|Even Canada has their rapper. Yeah, Toronto!|