Built Environment

Architecture, before and after hip-hop

The ingenuity of hip-hop is present everywhere: In art, music, culture and the products that we buy and surround ourselves with. But it's had a deep and enduring relationship with the built environment. 

Le Corbusier, the father of modern architecture, "pondered what would happen if we were to mix Black music and architecture" in the 1920s, and was inspired by his relationship with jazz dancer and activist Josephine Baker, the "face of the Harlem Renaissance," said Michael Ford, founder of BrandNu Design, a consultancy that aims to increase the representation of minorities in building design. 

"Can architects create something as beautiful as jazz?" Corbusier wondered. But his ideas for urban living became "remixed" over time to create poor and nature-starved neighborhoods. 

Ford explores the intersection of hip-hop and the built environment — and how urban planning gave rise to the genius of hip-hop — as well as how to bring underrepresented populations into the practice of architecture.