David Adjaye’s Profile
David Adjaye was born in Tanzania in 1966. After gaining a B.Arch. from London South Bank University, he graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Royal College of Art in 1993, where he won the RIBA Bronze Medal.
He is founder and principal architect of Adjaye Associates, with offices in London, New York, and Berlin. Established in June 2000, the practice has received worldwide attention, with work ranging in scale from private houses, cafes and bars, exhibitions and temporary pavilions to major arts centers, civic buildings and masterplans in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Completed works include the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (2010); The Nobel Peace Center in Oslo (2005); The Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London (2007); the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007); Rivington Place—a visual arts center in London (2007); and the Idea Stores on Chrisp Street (2004) and Whitechapel (2005)—two pioneering new libraries in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The former was nominated for the Stirling Prize in 2006, received a RIBA Building Award in 2005 and has been exhibited at the VIII Venice Biennale of Architecture (2002 and 2005) and the São Paulo Biennial (2003). The practice is currently engaged on the prestigious commission to design the Smithsonian Institution’s ambitious National Museum of African American Culture and History on a prominent site on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
David Adjaye’s belief in working together with artists and other cultural thinkers has led to a number of notable collaborations on both building projects as well as exhibitions. The practice established its early reputation with a series of private houses where the artist was the client, and this dialogue continues with recent public buildings, exhibitions, and research projects. Adjaye Associates was responsible for the exhibition design of the all-video SITE Santa Fe Eighth International Biennial Exhibition “The Dissolve” (2010); Olafur Eliasson’s light installation Your Black Horizon at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005); and Chris Ofili’s The Upper Room exhibited (1999–2002 and 2010), which is now in the permanent collection of Tate Britain. David Adjaye’s photographic survey of 52 cities across the continent of Africa, “Urban Africa,” exhibited at the Design Museum London (2010), has shifted the understanding of Africa’s metropolitan centers while offering a global resonance and consolidating the African heritage that informs the practice’s work.
Adjaye currently holds a Visiting Professor post at Princeton University School of Architecture. He is a RIBA Chartered Member, an AIA Honorary Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the OBE for services to architecture in 2007 and received the Design Miami/Year of the Artist title in 2011.
Since 2005 he has published numerous books on architecture and has also exhibited widely. Adjaye has co-presented and hosted a number of television series and radio programs for the BBC.