World-renowned British Ghanaian architect David Adjaye was honoured today with a knighthood for his services to architecture as part of the Queen’s biannual honours programme.
Sir David Frank Adjaye OBE RA (born September 1966) is the lead designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
David Adjaye was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The son of a Ghanaian diplomat, David Adjaye lived in Tanzania, Egypt, Yemen and Lebanon before moving to Britain at the age of nine. He earned a BA at London South Bank University, before graduating with an MA in 1993 from the Royal College of Art.
On 15 April 2009, he was selected as a team of architects, which includes the Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup, to design the $500 million new National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian Institution museum, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. His design features a crown motif from Yoruba sculpture.
Alongside his international commissions, Adjaye’s work spans exhibitions, private homes and artist collaborations. He built homes for the designer Alexander McQueen, artist Jake Chapman, photographer Juergen Teller, actor Ewan McGregor, and artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster. For artist Chris Ofili, he designed a new studio and a beach house in Port of Spain. He worked with Ofili to create an environment for The Upper Room, which was later acquired by Tate Britain and caused a nationwide media debate. Adjaye collaborated with artist Olafur Eliasson to create a light installation, Your black horizon, at the 2005 Venice Biennale. He has also worked on the art project Sankalpa with director Shekhar Kapur.
Adjaye coauthored two seasons of BBC’s Dreamspaces television series and hosts a BBC radio programme. In June 2005, he presented the documentary Building Africa: Architecture of a Continent. In 2008, he participated in Manifesta and the Gwangju Biennale.
In 2015 he was commissioned to design a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Recent works include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, completed in 2010.
Adjaye currently holds a Visiting Professor post at Princeton University School of Architecture. He was the first Louis Kahn visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and was the Kenzo Tange Professor in Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design. In addition, he is a RIBA Chartered Member, an AIA Honorary Fellow, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Barcelona Institute of Architecture and also serves as member of the Advisory Boards of the Barcelona Institute of Architecture and the LSE Cities Programme.
He was part of the team that designed the Petronia city project in the heart of Nana Kwame Bediako’s Wonda World Estates 2000-acre mixed-use city development project, catering to the fast-growing oil and gas and mining sectors in the Western Region of Ghana.