New renderings by Mike Ford (a.k.a. the Hip-Hop Architect) of BrandNu Design depict the Universal Hip-Hop Museum (UHHM) that could grace the Bronx in the very near future.

Although the idea for the museum has been germinating for a few years, this is the first time renderings are available for a specific site. The renderings depict a museum—complete with interactive exhibitions and a screening room—at the site of the Bronx Borough Courthouse, a disused neoclassical 1930s municipal building. The courthouse plaza features an amphitheater centered around a sculpture. As the birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx is a natural choice for the UHHM, which would be the first standalone museum devoted to the genre, its history, heritage, and the culture the music nurtures.

The museum was originally intended as one point in the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment plan, Ford told Curbed. The courthouse became the site at the urging of state assemblyman Michael Blake, who thought that the museum would be a great focal point for his district. With support from hip-hop pioneers like Ice T. and Kurtis Blow, Ford teamed up with Autodesk for a three-day design charette with industry leaders, locals, students, and program partners to craft a preliminary vision of the museum

Right now, the UHHM is speaking with state and local officials to determine how much funding could be available for the museum. The Bronx is one of the poorest counties in the state, and the museum could be a vital source of jobs for the borough. Stakeholders are discussing the possibility of negotiating a long term lease of the courthouse for the museum.

 

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