July 27, 2017
Architecture Building Facade

The School of Architecture will host the nationally renowned Hip Hop Architecture Camp Aug. 7-11 on the McNichols Campus.

This one-week camp introduces under represented youth ages 10-17 to architecture, urban planning, creative place making and economic development through the lens of hip hop culture. The camp is based on creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking, otherwise known as the “4Cs”. During the camp, students are paired with architects, urban planners, designers and hip hop artists to design unique visions for their communities, which include the creation of physical models, 3D digital models and recordings of a Hip Hop Architecture music track and video that summarize student designs.

The Hip Hop Architecture Camp is the creation of designer Michael Ford, also known as The Hip Hop Architect. Ford, who is a Detroit Mercy alum, is co-founder of The Urban Arts Collective and currently works with Hip Hop pioneers including Kurtis Blow as he leads the design of The Universal Hip Hop Museum in The Bronx. Recently, Ford was invited to deliver a keynote at the American Institute of Architects National Conference on Architecture after his TEDx Talk on Hip Hop Architecture.

The Detroit Hip Hop Architecture Camp™ will take place at University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture Aug. 7-11, 2017. The one-week camp is an intensive experience that introduces underrepresented youth to architecture, urban planning, creative place-making and economic development through the lens of hip hop culture. Students are paired with architects, urban planners, designers, community activists and hip hop artists to create unique visions for their communities. Some of the activities during the camp include opportunities for students to design digital models in Autodesk Tinkercad and SketchBook. The camp closes with the creation of a Hip Hop Architecture track and music video summarizing the group’s designs, similar to a recent video created by participants in Madison, Wis.

“My hometown of Detroit is where I fell in love with music and gained an appreciation for architecture. It’s home to the most creative youth in the world! Having Detroit students participate is this initiative is extremely important to me,” Ford said.

Will Wittig, dean of the School of Architecture at Detroit Mercy, believes camps like this show today’s youth the important, long-term impact their work can have on their communities. Most importantly, by spurring interest for the field in under-represented youth, Ford can show attendees how they can contribute to the development of urban environments in the future.

“This camp is truly an example of how one can really make a lasting impression on their community and our profession by encouraging underrepresented youth to consider their culture as a source of innovation within this profession,” Wittig said, adding that Ford’s work, “has inspired many young people to really consider architecture and urban planning as worthwhile fields to pursue.”

To learn more about Hip Hop Architecture, please visit

Learn more about Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture, which is home to the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, online today.