The Hip Hop Architecture Camp® hosted its first week-long camp in Boston’s Seaport during February School Recess for Boston Public Schools. The Boston edition of the camp took place at District Hall and was conceived and developed in partnership with Seaport by WS Development with support from Bergmeyer.
The program, started in 2016, positions Hip Hop culture as a catalyst to introduce underrepresented communities to architecture and urban planning. Over the course of the week, forty students had the opportunity to learn from architects, urban planners, designers, community activists and hip-hop artists to create unique visions for their communities which included the creation of physical models, digital models and the creation of a Hip Hop architecture track and music video showcasing their designs.
The Camp’s creator, architect Michael Ford, issued a call to action during the camp: He challenged participants to leverage their newly acquired architectural skills to create concepts for a Tyre Nichols Memorial Skatepark. Tyre Nichols, an aspiring photographer who loved skateboarding, died three days after an assault by a handful of police officers in Memphis Tennessee. Shortly after his death, his mother RowVaughn Wells, created The Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund “to build a memorial skate park for Tyre, in honor of his love for skating and sunsets.”
After completing their design concepts, the future Hip Hop Architects participated in a Rap Cypher, where they presented their design concepts as a rap verse. To judge the students’ projects and rap verses, Ford recruited MIT Professor and Hip Hop Architecture Camp Advisory Board member, Lupe Fiasco, who, himself, is no stranger to skateboarding. Lupe was also joined by Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor, a researcher/organizer at MIT Media Lab, Atlanta-based rapper Destiny DaChef, Boston-based rapper Oompa, and Frank Farrow, who works in Boston Mayor Wu’s Office as the Executive Director, Office of Black Male Advancement. The winning verses were then recorded at a local recording studio to become the official song of the camp.
The composite track opens with a direct message to RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tyree Nichols. “Ms. Rose, we heard you had a dream to honor your son, Tyre Nichols. We brought a group of future architects and rappers together to design the Tyre Nichols Memorial Skatepark. Rest in Power, Tyre!”.
Ford has recently extended his challenge of The Tyre Nichols Memorial Park Call To Action to the broader design community, challenging professionals and students to use design for good and demonstrate the power of design while supporting the dream of RowVaughn Wells. The Call To Action is now open through May 01, 2023. Design concepts can be submitted at https://www.hiphoparchitecture.com/calltoaction.
The entire collection of design concept ideas will be delivered to the family of Tyre Nichols. For each concept created, a $10 donation to The Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund will be made by Material Bank, the annual sponsor of the Memphis Hip Hop Architecture Camp®. Select participants will receive internships with architecture and design firms to further their concepts and share even more detailed concepts to the Tyre Nichols Memorial. Internship hosts include BrandNu Design Studio, Gensler, and Boston-based Bergmeyer.
Further supporting the camp, Seaport has designed Hip Hop Architecture Camp apparel, now available through its online store here. All proceeds will benefit Hip Hop Architecture and help to bring more camps to students across the nation.
About The Hip Hop Architecture Camp®
The Hip Hop Architecture Camp® established in 2016 by architect Michael Ford, position Hip Hop culture as a catalyst to introduce underrepresented youth to architecture and design. Ford is the owner of BrandNu Design Studio, where he is leading the design of The Universal Hip Hop Museum in The Bronx and how he received the name, The Hip Hop Architect! The camp is 100% free and to date has serviced over 3,000 students throughout the United States, Canada, and Kenya. Beyond the camp, Ford offers scholarships, paid internships, travel stipends, and workshops for professionals. For more information visit: www.hiphoparchitecture.com
Press Opportunities: Contact Michael Ford, [email protected]
About Boston Seaport
Culture, industry and community converge making Boston's Seaport district a dynamic and vibrant area that has quickly emerged as one of the most exciting neighborhoods and destinations in the country. Seaport is currently Boston's single largest development project. WS Development is transforming 33 acres of waterfront land with a carefully selected mix of residential, hotel, office, retail, entertainment, civic and cultural uses, and public open space across the district. Combining the best of historic and modern-day Boston, Seaport is the destination for fashion, culture, arts, dining and entertainment, and technology and life sciences, expanding Boston's position as one of the top cities in the world for innovation, science, and quality of life. For more information visit www.bostonseaport.xyz, follow Boston Seaport on Facebook, and @SeaportBos on Instagram and Twitter.
About WS Development
Massachusetts-based WS Development is a mixed-use developer with a singular mission: creating places people want to be. With an approach that values art, science, innovation and, above all else, people, WS strives to engage each community it serves with best-in-class installations and activations. Established in 1990, WS is a vertically-integrated company that conceptualizes, owns, operates and leases more than 100 properties that range from cutting-edge urban spaces to lifestyle and community centers. With over 22 million square feet of existing space and an additional nine million square feet under development, it is one of the largest privately-owned development firms in the country. For more information, visit www.wsdevelopment.com, call (617) 232-8900 or follow WS Development on LinkedIn.
Creative. Connected. Curious. Bergmeyer is a Design Collaborative of architects, interior designers, graphic designers, and brand strategists; inspired through partnership, thoughtfully creative, inherently curious, and driven to fulfill its client’s needs. Bergmeyer’s approach to design is empowering and ego-free, forming proactive partnerships with its clients and project teams to create a shared sense of ownership throughout the entire creative process. Bergmeyer designs for its clients’ clients, the people whose lives and experiences are enhanced by its work. Challenging its teams to focus first on understanding the end user - the customers, students, employees, visitors, and residents - while delivering on its clients’ vision and return on investment. Bergmeyer has offices in Boston, Los Angeles, and Columbus.
For more information on Bergmeyer please visit www.bergmeyer.com.