Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
|Awards||RIBA Bronze Medal for Part 1 Students|
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.
In 1993, the same year of graduation, Adjaye won the RIBA Bronze Medal, a prize offered for RIBA Part 1 projects, normally won by students who have only completed a bachelors degree. Previously a unit tutor at the Architectural Association, he was also a lecturer at the Royal College of Art. After very short terms of work with the architectural studios of David Chipperfield (London) and Eduardo Souto de Moura (Porto), Adjaye established a practice with William Russell in 1994 called Adjaye & Russell, based in North London. This office was disbanded in 2000 and Adjaye established his own eponymous studio at this point.
On 15 April 2009, he was selected in a competition to design the $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., planned to open in 2015. 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. He also 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 7 and the Gwangju Biennale.
In February 2009, the cancellation or postponement of four projects in Europe and Asia forced the firm to enter into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), a deal to stave off insolvency proceedings which prevents financial collapse by rescheduling debts – estimated at about £1m – to creditors.
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 member of the Advisory Council of the Barcelona Institute of Architecture He also serves as member of the Advisory Boards of the Barcelona Institute of Architecture and the London School of Economics Cities programme.
The studio's first solo exhibition, David Adjaye: Making Public Buildings, was shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in January 2006, with Thames and Hudson publishing the catalogue of the same name. This followed their 2005 publication of Adjaye's first book, David Adjaye Houses.
He is one of a team of architects, which includes the Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup, who have been selected to design the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum is due to open in 2015. In Sept 2012, Adjaye admitted that he had sufficient direct commissions from the US, Africa and elsewhere, and was not actively pursuing work in the UK.
David Adjaye lives between New York and London. In 2012, Adjaye got engaged to his girlfriend, business consultant Ashley Shaw-Scott.
Adjaye was featured in a recent advertising campaign for British luxury brand Dunhill in 2012. Adjaye has also worked on numerous collaborative projects with his brother Peter Adjaye (musician).
In 2006, Adjaye was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for the Whitechapel Idea Store, built on the remains of a 1960s mall. He received the title of OBE from the Queen in 2007 for services to British architecture.
- RIBA – Bronze Medal for Part 1 Students – 1993
- Design Futures Council Senior Fellow
- Design Miami/ Designer of the Year Award  – 2011
- Powerlist: Britain's Most Influential Black Person  – 2012
- Jeff Chu (2009). "Feature: David Adjaye". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- William Shaw (April 2, 2006), Man With a Plan New York Times.
- Architect to Hollywood stars attempts to save firm from financial collapse, Guardian, 24 July 2009.
- SKOLKOVO Campus, Moscow.
- The Thorny Path to a National Black Museum, New York Times, 22 January 2011.
- Where In The World Is David Adjaye? W Magazine.
- David Adjaye: Downfall of the showman The Independent.
- David Adjaye
- David Adjaye manifesta7.
- Design Futures Council Senior Fellows http://www.di.net/about/senior_fellows/
- David Adjaye LSE Cities.
- David Adjaye, Harvard Design School.
- Jordana, Sebastian. "David Adjaye wins competition for the National Museum of African American History and Culture", 17 April 2009. ArchDaily. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Adjaye gives up chasing UK work, Building Design, 20 September 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Designer of the Year Award, Design Miami. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- David Adjaye tops PowerList 2013, Guardian, 25 October 2012
- adjaye.com Official Site
- Photo Gallery: David Adjaye
- New York Magazine interview (2007)
- Icon interview (2005)
- BBC Radio 3 interview
- Whitechapel exhibition (2006)
- Whitechapel exhibition review
- Hugh Pearman article (2005)
- Article: Behind The Facade (2003)