Hip-Hop Architecture

Bloomsbury Visual Arts. Apr. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781350116146. pap. $34.95. ARCH
Starting with an evocative title that may leave some readers with cognitive dissonance, and thoughtfully moving through an intriguing explanation of the impact of musical and visual elements of hip-hop (DJing, MCing, break dancing, graffiti) on the built environment and vice versa, this compelling book simultaneously challenges an inherent elitism (and whiteness) in contemporary architectural theory and practice, and embraces and expands the scholarly vocabulary of the canon. Architect Cooke (Syracuse Univ. Sch. of Architecture) notes that inspiration for architecture can be found everywhere. He writes that this was particularly evident in the South Bronx during the emergence of hip-hop and its cultural movement in the early 1970s, and makes the case that hip-hop is still a global architectural influence today. Cooke argues that creatives from the 1970s hip-hop era are now propelling new methodologies of planning and building that engage disenfranchised communities from the outset and result in thoughtful humanistic urbanism and aesthetic vibrancy.
VERDICT This challenging inquiry into an unusual pairing of creative pursuits is likely to appeal to students of either architecture or hip-hop.
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