Friday Forum discusses the architecture of hip hop

November 12th, 2012 Comments Off on Friday Forum discusses the architecture of hip hop

Professor Jake Gines discusses the architecture of Hip Hop at Friday Forum on Nov. 9.

Jake Gines, professor in the School of Architecture, presented “The Architecture of Hip Hop” at the Nov. 9 Friday Forum.

Seeing how the culture of hip hop tied into architecture and design was Gines’ thesis work, which he said was met with a lot of adversity.

Gines said hip hop and many of its related forms of expression, such as rapping, break dancing and graffiti, is something a lot of people can relate to and gives many a venue to express themselves.

“You can’t help but get a sense that there’s this yearning to voice your opinion, and the only way it’s going to be heard is in an aggressive way,” he said.

Gines learned more about this aggressive sense of expression when he visited Watts in South Central Los Angeles for research. Watts, often known for the Watts Riots in 1965, is also home to the Watts Towers. The towers were built by Simon Rodia in the early 1900s out of found materials such as steel, concrete, bottles and doll figurines and served as inspiration for Gines’ project.

He chose a piece of land to the northwest of the towers for his project and got to work on research and site models. Research included demographics, gang crime statistics, gang turfs and crime activity.

The professor also chose to explore the message and rhythm of two songs – Tupac Shakur’s “Changes,” which discusses living conditions and what we need to do to change that, and “Why We Thugs” by Ice-Cube, which conveys a similar message in a more aggressive way.

Gines applied his research to design a pedestrian bridge that would go over the railroad tracks in Watts.

“In the end, I began to come up with a scheme that allowed the architecture to gently rest on its landscape and provide movement around and through the site,” he said.

Gines had a graffiti artist paint his project on boards for his thesis presentation “in order to present it in a way that seemed to respond to the culture,” he said.

The professor later used his findings to help students make connections between various forms of music and architecture.

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