Close to the Edge at the Center

Archtober 2018 kicks off with Hip-Hop Architecture exhibition

East On View
Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture will run October 1, 2018, through January 12, 2019, at the Center of Architecture in New York City. (Center for Architecture)
Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture will run October 1, 2018, through January 12, 2019, at the Center of Architecture in New York City. (Center for Architecture)

New York City’s eighth annual Archtober, a month-long design festival hosted by the Center for Architecture, will begin Monday, October 1, with Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture, an exhibition exploring hip-hop culture’s impact on the built environment.

“Over the last five decades, hip-hop’s primary means of expression—deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, and graffiti—have become globally recognized creative practices in their own right,” reads the graffiti-tagged press release. “Hip-Hop Architecture produces spaces, buildings, and environments that embody the creative energy evident in these means of hip-hop expression.”

Close to the Edge, which was curated by Sekou Cooke, an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, is the first exhibition dedicated to the hip-hop architecture movement. It will include projects by a diverse group of architects, academics, and students presented alongside paintings by legendary graffiti artist David “Chino BYI” Villorente. The opening will also feature extended hours with a live DJ performance.

According to Cooke, the exhibition is not meant to identify hip-hop architecture as a particular style of building, although he welcomes debate from those who disagree, but it is meant to show how architecture can embrace the culture of hip-hop to become a more inclusive and constructive practice.

“I want people to come who may not even know what hip-hop is,” Cooke told The Architect’s Newspaper. “When people hear ‘hip-hop architecture’ they imagine buildings that are dancing to a specific genre of music, but hip-hop culture goes much deeper than that. It’s really about having people consider the work that they do in a more humanistic way, so that they’re thinking about the people that their work is affecting, the culture of the people they’re working for, and the ways a typically marginalized group of people sculpt their built environment as architecture.”

Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture will be on view through January 12, 2019, at the Center for Architecture in New York City. The exhibition will be accompanied by speaking events, panel discussions, and workshops by BlackSpace and the AIANY.

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