When it comes to Architecture, Sir David Adjaye has become a household name worldwide and has made a lasting legacy with his works. From the United Kingdom, Netherlands, United States of America, Russia to Ghana the works of this giant is being celebrated for his amazing works on several monuments, landmarks and even private residential homes, studios and film set designs.
This notable personality has been able to gather a wealth of experience as well as awards as recognition for his work. Some of the honors come in the forms of plaques and certificates of honor and most of them come in the form of commissions for works of national and international importance. Green Views brings you the profile of David Adjaye, the world renowned architect and his achievements.
The popular Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam which is always bustling with activity and people is where David was born in 1966 one Saturday. Christened as David Frank Adjaye by his dad Affram Adjaye and his mom Cecilia Adjaye who were Ghanaians, David had a travelling childhood since his dad was a diplomat and his work required that he travelled around very often and hence took his family with him. Their “nomadic” life took them to Tanzania, Egypt, Yemen and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Uganda as well as the United Kingdom.
Since Emmanuel, David’s younger brother had been disabled by illness as an infant, the family wanted the best care for him and the Great Ormond Street Hospital (London) provided just that. This really was a major factor in the family’s decision to move permanently to the United Kingdom. The family has no architectural background in the family. However, the experience of taking Emmanuel to school in his wheelchair first started David thinking about the potential of architecture to change lives.
David holds a Masters in Architecture from the royal College of Art in London and has established his own firm Adjaye Associates. Through this firm, David has gone ahead to make gigantic strides in the architecture industry all over the world.
His firm has offices in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Ghana through which he operates. Some of his international works include: The largest project to date is the $540 million Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened in 2016 at Washington DC.
In addition, some other prominent works include the Idea Stores in London, opened in 2005 and credited with pioneering a new approach to library services. The Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO which is a very attractive edifice and the Aishti Foundation retail and Art complex in Beirut was done in 2015. Ongoing projects include a new building for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, a brand new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar and the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London.
Adjaye Associates have continued to achieve a great deal of success despite numerous setbacks, exhibiting values consistent with Green Views apartments values. David is of British nationality and his work takes him to many different countries and continent and hence lives as an expatriate in many countries just like our tenants do. He however has Ghanaian heritage as his parents and most of his relatives are Ghanaians and so decided to contribute to the architecture of Ghana. This he did by establishing an office of Adjaye Associates in Ghana at the Airport residential area which is 3 minutes’ drive from Green Views Residential’s building.
Some of his Ghanaian projects include Adjaye Associates are working on the much talked about National Cathedral commissioned by the President, Nana Akuffo Addo. They won the bid for the designing of the new Parliamentary chamber which was later dropped. A US-based charity commissioned Adjaye Associates to design an International Children’s Hospital originally intended to be built in Rwanda but was brought to Ghana by the firm.
David also won the bid for the design of the Redesign Master Plan of the Accra International Trade Fair Centre, as well as the Marine Drive Master Plan. Furthermore, Adjaye won bids for a project by the Bank of Ghana to provide a Masterplan for Energy City (Airport City 2) as well as bids from the Ghana Railway Authority for the designs of two railway stations.
In view of his enormous contributions to the world of British architecture, David was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British in 2007. He received the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s McDermott award, which was a $100,000 prize for displaying excellence in the arts. He was also knighted in 2017 for services to architecture in Britain and beyond. David is a member of the Royal Academy of Art whose main purpose is to promote appreciation and creation of the visual arts. Sir David was named Britain’s Most Influential Black Person by Powerlist in 2012. In 2020 he won the Isamu Noguchi Award from the Noguchi Museum in the US.
He truly is an architectural “rockstar” who has defied all hurdles thrown at him to achieve unbelievable heights.