David Adjaye

Profession/Position

  • Architect/Director

Qualifications

  • Masters in Architecture (MArch)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)
  • Diploma in Architecture Distinction (DipArch)

Professional Associations

  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • Architect’s Registration Board (ARB)
  • National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA)

Languages

  • English
  • Twi

David Adjaye — Principal

Key Data & Biography

David Adjaye OBE is recognised as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994 he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision.

He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000 and immediately won several prestigious commissions. In Oslo he designed the Nobel Peace Centre in the shell of a disused railway station (completed in 2005). In London his design for the Whitechapel Idea Store pioneered a new approach to the provision of information services (2005). Later projects in London included the Stephen Lawrence Centre, with teaching and community spaces (2007), Rivington Place, an exhibition venue and resource centre (2007), and the Bernie Grant Centre for the performing arts (2007). Adjaye Associates’ largest completed project to date is the £160 million Moscow School of Management Skolkovo (2010). 

Adjaye Associates now has four international offices, with projects throughout the world. These include a shopping and cultural complex in Beirut (ongoing), a concept store in Lagos (2014), a new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar (ongoing) and a hospital in Rwanda (ongoing).

Adjaye frequently collaborates with contemporary artists on art and installation projects. Examples include The Upper Room, with thirteen paintings by Chris Ofili (2002), Within Reach, a second installation with Ofili in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2003), and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art for the 21st Century Pavilion that was designed to show a projection work by Olafur Eliasson, Your Black Horizon, at the 2005 Venice Biennale. The Upper Room is now in the permanent collection of Tate Britain. Adjaye is now collaborating with Okwui Enwezor on the design of the forthcoming 56th Venice Art Biennale.

Adjaye has taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had previously studied, and at the Architectural Association School in London, and has held distinguished professorships at the universities of Pennsylvania, Yale and Princeton. He is currently the John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard. He was awarded the OBE for services to architecture in 2007, received the Design Miami/ Year of the Artist title in 2011, the Wall Street Journal Innovator Award in 2013 and the W.E.B. Du Bois medal from Harvard University.

The material from Adjaye’s ten-year study of the capital cities of Africa was shown in Urban Africa, an exhibition at the Design Museum, London (2010) and published as African Metropolitan Architecture (New York, 2011, and as Adjaye Africa Architecture, London, 2011). He was the artistic director of GEO-graphics: A map of art practices in Africa, past and present, a major exhibition at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (2010). The last exhibition of his architectural work, David Adjaye: Output, was held at Gallery MA, Tokyo (2010) and he is now collaborating with Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago on a comprehensive retrospective exhibition, which will open in 2015.