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6 NEWS


Smithsonian National Museum for African American Arts and Culture, Washington. Images © Nic Lehoux AWARDS


Adjaye OBE to receive Gold Medal for Architecture


The RIBA has announced that Sir David Adjaye will receive the 2021 Royal Gold Medal, for what it described as an “exceptional body of work over 25 years.” Adjaye, who was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, draws on influences ranging from “contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities.” His international projects range from private houses, exhibitions and furniture design, through to major cultural buildings and city masterplans. From the beginning of his career he has combined practice with teaching in schools of architecture in the UK and the USA. He founded Adjaye Associates in 2000, which has studios in Accra, London and New York.


His most renowned building is the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, DC (2016), where the practice was lead designer of the Freelon Adjaye/Bond SmithGroup. Recently completed projects include Ruby City, an art centre in San Antonio, Texas (2019), and Moscow School of Management Skolkovo (2010). Notable European buildings include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway (2005); Rivington Place arts


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centre in Hackney, London (2007); and two community libraries in London (2004, 2005) – the ‘Idea Stores,’ the Whitechapel one being shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. Current projects include the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, London (led by Adjaye Associates, with Ron Arad Architects as Memorial Architect), The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York in collaboration with Cooper Robertson and 130 William, a high-rise residential tower in New York’s financial district.


Adjaye commented on the news: “It’s incredibly humbling and a great honour to have my peers recognise the work I have developed with my team and its contribution to the field over the past 25 years.” He added: “Architecture, for me, has always been about the creation of beauty to edify all peoples around the world equally, and to contribute to the evolution of the craft. The social impact of this discipline has been and will continue to be the guiding force in the experimentation that informs my practice.” RIBA president Alan Jones said: “At every scale, from private homes to major arts centres, one senses David Adjaye’s careful consideration of the creative and


© Nick Fradkin


enriching power of architecture. His work is local and specific, and at the same time global and inclusive. Blending history, art and science he creates highly crafted and engaging environments that balance contrasting themes and inspire us all.” The 2021 Royal Gold Medal selection committee, chaired by Alan Jones, comprised: architects Lesley Lokko, Dorte Mandrup and last year’s Royal Gold Medal recipient Shelley McNamara and structural engineer Professor Hanif Kara. The committee said: “Listening to clients and users and often working with artists, Adjaye’s work is contradictory and yet coherent, contrasting and courageous, setting up and balancing elegance and grit, weightlessness and weight, dark and light.”


ADF NOVEMBER 2020


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