Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA, believes that one way to make architecture more available to young people from underrepresented communities is to use the language and rhythms of hip-hop as a way to see, understand, and describe the built environment. To advance this mission, Mike runs a national series of week-long design workshops called the Hip Hop Architecture Camp that “positions Hip Hop culture as a catalyst to introduce underrepresented youth to architecture, urban planning, and design.”
Bergmeyer has been a financial supporter of the Hip Hop Architecture Camp (HHAC) since 2020. In February of 2023, Bergmeyer supported WS Development in sponsoring Boston’s first-ever Hip-Hop Architecture Camp (HHAC) in Boston. Forty students met for a week at District Hall in the Seaport to learn from architects, designers, community activists, and hip-hop artists, and to collaborate to design a skate park in honor of Tyre Nichols.
Then in July of 2023, we had the pleasure of hosting the recipient of our second annual Bergmeyer x Hip Hop Architecture Scholarship. With this program, we award a college-bound architectural design student chosen from the previous year’s HHAC participants an opportunity to experience a one-week paid internship in our Boston office. This year’s recipient was Kamryon Jonson, the senior class valedictorian of Cass Technical High in Detroit, who will soon join the architectural design program at the University of Detroit Mercy in the fall.
While Kamryon was here, she worked on a unique design project: a dorm room influenced by hip-hop culture. Focusing on hip hop’s flashy, colorful, and innovative fashion sense from the early 2000s, she treated us to an extraordinarily well-developed final presentation that featured moveable wall panels and bold color palettes. In addition to completing her project, Kamryon saw a bit of Downtown Boston, tried lobster mac-and-cheese, sat in on project team meetings, and had one-on-one conversations with several Bergies learning about our collaborative approach to design.
Bergmeyer's team was highly impressed by Kamryon during her brief time in the office. She demonstrated strong critical thinking and exceptional presentation skills. Her aptitude for learning, passion for architecture and interior design, and drive to constantly push her limits will undoubtedly be invaluable as she enters the next phase of her architectural education. We anticipate her ongoing achievements, offer mentorship as needed, and eagerly await chances for future collaboration.
And remember: Once a Bergie, always a Bergie, Kamryon!