• Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture
    Sekou Cooke
    Center for Architecture, New York
    Oct 01, 2018 to Jan 12, 2019
    Center for Architecture

Olalekan Jeyifous, Surface Armatures, 2014, Brooklyn. Courtesy of the artist

Hip-hop is a cultural movement established by the Black and Latino youth of New York’s South Bronx neighborhood in the early 1970s. 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, and each has significantly impacted the urban built environment. 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: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture exhibits the work of students, academics, and practitioners at the center of this emerging architectural revolution.

Sekou Cooke is the contracted curator and exhibition architect. He is a licensed architect and assistant professor of architecture at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, has published essays, organized events, and delivered public lectures on the topic of Hip-Hop Architecture. This active research project has gained wide recognition within the discipline and has been published in major outlets such as Architectural Record, Architect magazine, and ArchDaily. His work on this topic and other community-based academic and professional projects has positioned Cooke as a leader in the field of publicly engaged design. In 2016 he was named chair of the Commission on Publicly Engaged Design for Imagining America, the national consortium of universities dedicated to advancing the humanities, arts, and design in the public realm.

Benjamin Prosky is executive director of the Center for Architecture. He was previously assistant dean for communications at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He started his career at the Institut français d'architecture in Paris, producing exhibitions and public programs. He then moved to the Canadian Centre for Architecture to oversee public programs. Prior to Harvard, Prosky worked at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation as director of special events and external affairs. He is a cofounder of Architizer, the first online networking tool created for architects. Prosky holds a BA in urban studies from Vassar College.

Berit Hoff is director of programs and exhibitions at the Center for Architecture. She manages the development and production of the CFA’s exhibitions and public programming including the book talk series, exhibition programs, and symposia. Her research is included in the catalogue for the exhibition Mercedes Matter (2009) and as part of the Bard Graduate Center’s Craft, Art & Design Oral History Project. She received her MA in design history from the Bard Graduate Center.

WeShouldDoItAll (WSDIA) is a Brooklyn-based graphic, interactive, and spatial multidisciplinary design studio. WSDIA designs, develops, and mediates interactive, print, motion, and architecture projects for a diverse group of clients in a wide array of professions. WSDIA previously worked with the Center for Architecture to design the juried portfolio competition and exhibition, New Practices New York 2008.

David “Chino” Villorente is widely considered one of the foremost practitioners and ambassadors of graffiti culture in the world. He is also known for being one of the first artists to spray-paint on trains in New York City. His 11-years as the editor of The Source magazine’s “Graf Flix” section cemented his position as an important arbiter within the graffiti community. Villorente coauthored the definitive books; Mascots and Mugs: The Characters and Cartoons of Subway Graffiti (Testify Books, 2007), and the best-selling Piecebook series from Prestel; Piecebook, Piecebook Reloaded and World Piecebook: Global Graffiti Drawings. His firsthand knowledge of the graffiti culture and all its past, present and future players makes him an indispensable source for dozens of other publications.

The Center for Architecture is the leading cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center for Architecture’s mission is to educate a broad audience about the built environment and the value of architectural practice in daily life. Founded in 1966 by the American Institute of Architects New York, the Center for Architecture has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs and quality design education experiences for K-12 students and families.