The relationship between architecture and hip-hop reveal a complex connection between the built environment and art. On a deeper level, architecture is a stage of sorts. It is a stage that allows activity to occur and in turn, experiences manifest. Typically architecture is infused with program. Program gives this stage a script for various scenarios to unfold. Certain activities are inherent for the classroom, the stadium, the kitchen, the bedroom, the park, etc. However there are instances when architecture gives birth to new activities, programs not originally intended. In other words, architecture can be a catalyst for new activity, new culture. Hip-hop is a resultant of this catalyst.
BLOC (Bilateral Operative Container) is a modified cargo container that aims to embrace the essence of architecture’s ability to spawn spontaneous events and activity. Taking inspiration from Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, BLOC is a form of deployable urbanism - utilizing it’s small scale and transportability to provide a stage for localized pop-up concerts, spoken word, rap/dance battles and art or graffiti to occur in atypical locations.
The container is composed of two sides, performance and canvas. One side opens up to a crowd, allowing local participants to perform hip-hop acts vocally or with their body through the form of dance. The other side houses a series of panels that compose a canvas, free to be utilized by graffiti or street artists. A concealed platform can swivel out from underneath the container at times when more space is needed for performers or artists.
The strength of BLOC is not only in it’s mobility or benevolent intent for hip-hop culture, but also in it’s potential for secondary uses. When not being utilized as a hip-hop cultural catalyst, BLOC can double as a pop-up library, outdoor cinema or even a form of retail.
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