David Adjaye: Celebrating Black Excellence In Architecture

by Duke Magazine

David Adjaye OBE is a UK-based Ghanaian architect internationally decorated for his designs and innovative use of materials and light. Born in 1966, Adjaye’s early design projects included retail establishments, restaurants, studios, and private residences. Growing adept in his craft, his small-scale project designs metamorphosed to a behemoth infrastructural constructions like the the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo (2005), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), and the Moscow School of Management (2010).

Prestige has become a bespoke for Adjaye such that he is one of the revered architects ever to grace the Earth. He designed the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. This architectural edifice was inspired by Yoruba art and architecture and showcased the trajectory of the African American experience against the backdrop of other Washington, D.C., monuments and museums.

Far and wide, Adjaye has been the brain behind the architectural design of several stunning structures in the world today. Dubbing as a writer, he has authored and co-authored several publications, including David Adjaye: Houses: Recycling, Reconfiguring, Rebuilding (2005), David Adjaye: Making Public Buildings: Specificity, Customization, Imbrication (2006), David Adjaye: A House for an Art Collector (2011), David Adjaye: Authoring: Re-placing Art and Architecture (2012), and Constructed Narratives: Essays and Projects (2016).

For a man with lofty success in his profession, Adjaye garnered many honors and awards for his work, including the coveted Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Design Miami/ Designer of the Year award (2011). He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2007 and was knighted 10 years later for services to architecture. In 2021, Adjaye won the RIBA’s 2021 Royal Gold Medal, one of the highest medals in the field.

He holds a degree in Architecture from London South Bank University and a master’s degree in Architecture from the Royal College of Art, London. 

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