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architecture

behind the

faÇade All hail the undisputed king of architecture, Mr David Adjaye. In line with Domus Nova’s instruction of one of his greatest feats, Silverlight, Domus Life explored the inspiring realm of Adjaye Associates…

If there were a year to crown David Adjaye’s list of considerable achievements, 2015 would certainly be the one in which to plan a coronation and confirm the importance of the African-British architect. Less than six months ago Adjaye attended the groundbreaking ceremony for his new $500 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington DC, which was attended by Barack and Michelle Obama. Hailed as one of the most important new US cultural centres of recent years, and destined to be the last major museum on the National Mall, work is underway and the press interest surrounding its build is huge. Adjaye reveals: “It’s a new kind of new museum which is really about a narrative about people and a country.” Back home, Adjaye’s practice has just announced a radical new £600 million scheme to redevelop six individual buildings on Piccadilly, Dover Street and Berkeley Street into 38

one single ten-storey block, renamed One Berkeley Street. The new London icon will transform this corner of Piccadilly and create a significant landmark testament to David Adjaye. “The design objective is to provide a beautiful addition to the Piccadilly streetscape and create a building worthy of being opposite The Ritz,” say the firm. At the [still] tender age of 45, Adjaye has achieved what other architects of his calibre take a lifetime to master. With notable international projects in Moscow [Skolkovo School of Management], Oslo [Nobel Peace Centre], the USA [Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver] and the Middle East [Msheireb Downtown district in Doha] to name but a few, as well as a body of superlative work in the UK, Adjaye was recognised for his services to global architecture with an OBE in 2007. The son of a Ghanaian diplomat whose formative years were spent

in Tanzania, Ghana, Jeddah, Cairo, Yemen and Beirut before the family settled in London 30 years ago, Adjaye is something of an ambassador for his art, promoting the virtue of new ideas to those with a mind to embrace them. Just as the breed of new British artists and designers that he has designed homes for, Alexander McQueen, Sue Webster and Tim Noble, and Juergen Teller amongst them, claim him as their own, so Adjaye has spread his wings and made his mark with his architecture, represented in Europe, Asia, Africa, The Middle East and the USA. One of his clients, artist Lorna Simpson, for whom Adjaye designed a studio building in Brooklyn, remarks on his qualities, influences and interests: “There’s Bauhaus in it”, she says.“But also the places where he grew up as a child – ornament, pattern, the way light comes in, different things from different places. He’s very keen on the way architecture serves the people in it.”

Domus Life Summer 2015  

This latest issue of Domus Life is inspired by Europe, celebrating its architecture, design, culture, spaces and people - all undeniably ent...

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