Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA, is the founding principal of BrandNu Design Studio and best known as “The Hip Hop Architect,” founding “The Hip Hop Architecture Camp” in 2016. Michael has been a part of the AIA since 2007, recently moving to Texas and joining the AIA Dallas chapter. Learn more about Michael in the Q&A below!
What has been your involvement with AIA?
My most memorable moment with AIA is being invited to be on a keynote panel at the 2014 AIA National Conference on Architecture in Orlando. That same conference, Paul Revere Williams, FAIA, posthumously received the AIA Gold Medal and former First Lady Michelle Obama was one of the other keynotes! That was followed by an amazing opportunity to keynote the 2017 TxA Annual Conference in Austin!
What is a professional accomplishment you are proud of?
A more recent professional accomplishment I am proud of is my collaboration with Shaw Contract. This collaboration, titled Shaw X Mike Ford, is a rug line with five pieces paying homage to the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop Culture. It provides an opportunity for architects and designers to contribute to diversifying the profession by specifying the collection in their projects. A percentage of the proceeds will go to supporting The Hip Hop Architecture Camps. The collection won several awards including Best in Show Gold at NeoCon 2023, the NeoCon Innovation Award, and Interior Design Magazine’s Best of Year for Flooring.
Diversity is the key to improving and growing the profession. In order to achieve diversity we must reach our next generation as early as possible, and demonstrate the relevancy of architecture in their day to day lives.Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA
What advice would you give to someone starting their path in architecture?
The profession needs you! So be encouraged to bring your complete self to the table. Do not check your culture, your beliefs, your dreams, or anything else at the door!
What do you wish people knew about architects and architecture?
Architects are problem solvers, and the problems we solve are not limited to bricks and mortar! We are responding to global warming, social justice, and many other issues which impact our cities.
How can the profession improve and grow?
Diversity is the key to improving and growing the profession. In order to achieve diversity we must reach our next generation as early as possible, and demonstrate the relevancy of architecture in their day to day lives.
What legacy do you want to leave?
A legacy of providing opportunities for others to not only be introduced to this profession but to thrive.
This post is a part of our “Member Spotlight” series, which highlights TxA members who are making amazing contributions to the architectural community. If you know a TxA member who exemplifies our mission of supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, sustainable environments, you can nominate them to be featured here.