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Sir David Adjaye

Lead Designer of The National Museum of African American History and Culture; Renowned Architect; Visiting Professor, Princeton University School of Architecture

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Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. His ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision.

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Bio

Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognised as a leading architect of his generation. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 2000, he formed his studio Adjaye Associates, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision.

With offces in London, New York and Accra and projects spanning across the US, UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, his largest project to date, the $540 million Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in fall of 2016. The museum was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times and the Beazley Design of the Year by the Design Museum.

Prominent ongoing projects include the Inventer Bruneseau in Paris, a 100,000 m² mixed-use development, delivering homes and commercial spaces designed around new public spaces; the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London; 130 William, a luxury, high-rise residential tower in Manhattan; a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the National Cathedral of Ghana, part of a wider masterplan in Accra.

Recently completed projects include Ruby City, San Antonio, Texas (2019); Making Memory, an exhibition at the Design Museum, London (2019); the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington DC (2016); the Sugar Hill mixed-use social housing scheme in Harlem, New York (2015); and the Aishti Foundation retail and art complex in Beirut (2015); the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (2010).

Adjaye is known for his frequent collaborations with contemporary artists on installations and exhibitions. Most notably, he designed the 56th Venice Art Biennale with curator Okwui Enwezor (2015). The Upper Room, featuring thirteen paintings by Chris Ofili (2002), is now part of the permanent collection of Tate Britain. Further examples include 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 Your Black Horizon, a projection work by Olafur Eliasson, at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Adjaye has held distinguished professorships at the Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities. He has also taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had previously studied, and at the Architectural Association School in London.

In 2017, Adjaye was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen for services to Architecture, following the previous award of an OBE in 2007. The same year, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME magazine. He has additionally received the Design Miami/ Artist of the Year title in 2011, the Wall Street Journal Innovator Award in 2013 and the 2016 Panerai London Design Medal from the London Design Festival.