The Hip Hop Architecture Camp Kicks Off Programming in Memphis

The Hip Hop Architecture Camp, created by architect Michael Ford to encourage underrepresented youth to pursue careers in design, will make its Memphis, Tennessee, debut July 11-15. The week-long program enables campers to collaborate with design professionals as well as hip hip artists to draw connections between the complex structure of rap lyrics and design, igniting ideas for new spaces within their communities.

More broadly, the camp, founded in 2016, expands access to design eduction, ensuring awareness of the built environment starts at an early age and, ultimately, brings new voices to the table. Currently, only 29.7% of architects in the U.S. identify as minorities, according to statistics cited by the camp, which speaks to the continuous work ahead to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field. In previous runs of the camp throughout the U.S., participants have landed paid internships at firms like NBBJ and Bora Architecture.

Furthering that mission, Material Bank and the Downtown Memphis Commission are co-sponsoring the camp’s first Memphis edition, enabling 40 local teens to participate free of charge. Fittingly, the week-long program will culminate with a custom music video showcasing the students’ creative expressions of design—and lyrical talents. To that we say, where to next?

Michael Ford works with students on building a design module.
Michael Ford works with campers on a design project.
Campers pose in front of The Bean (Cloud Gate) in Chicago.
The camp enables teens to draw connections between rap lyrics and the structure of built environments.

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