In her companion publication to the 2014 group exhibition “Ruffneck Constructivists,” the show’s curator, Kara Walker, lays down a radical manifesto for urban intervention. Just months before Ferguson  and a year before Baltimore,  Walker proposes her theory through which installation artists (along with architects and designers by extension) can become “defiant shapers of environments.”  The invocation and juxtaposition of the terms hip-hop and architecture in the intro to her manifesto is particularly remarkable given the show’s exclusive assembly of visual and installation artists.
Hip-hop architectural theory seeks to reify a form of expression that is a natural component of any cultural movement, but was largely inaccessible to teenaged Blacks and Latinos in 1970s South Bronx. As illustrated in my first essay on the subject, “[e]ach major cultural shift in Western society—Renaissance, Baroque, Modernism—has had its register in a plurality of creative outlets: theater, music, dance, fine art, and architecture. The first four art forms find their counterparts in the ‘four pillars of hip-hop’: deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, and graffiti writing. Architecture is lost.” 
A third-year undergraduate design studio at Syracuse Architecture entitled “New Chocolate City: Hip-Hop Architecture in Washington, DC” asked students to reflect on these writings, ideas, and other provocations to ground their semester’s work. Funded by a grant from the DC Office of Planning, the course employed Hip-Hop Architecture as a lens through which to frame new understandings of identity within various Washington, DC neighborhoods.
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