David Adjaye is one of the most exciting and important architects and designers of his generation. Yale is proud to publish a new catalogue of Adjaye’s work, which accompanies a major retrospective exhibition of the architect’s career, on show at the Haus der Kunst, Munich and The Art Institute of Chicago. Adjaye was born in Tanzania and moved to Britain at the age of 13, Adjaye Associates now has offices around the world, in London, Berlin, New York and Accra.
David Adjaye: Form, Heft, Material follows the work and career of Adjaye through a series of thought-provoking essays and lavish images. The release of this publication coincides with the opening of Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., for which he won an international competition for the building’s design in 2009. Form, Heft, Material is introduced by Zoe Ryan, Curator of Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, and includes Adjaye’s own comments on his work. Adjaye’s architecture is known for its ability to be assertive in stature whilst not intimidating users and viewers, who are invited to physically touch the buildings, which often alter visually and in texture in response to changing weather and lighting conditions. As a result, Adjaye’s buildings are simultaneously complex, innovative and approachable, key reasons for the architect’s worldwide success. Adjaye draws upon local concerns within his work, whilst focusing upon wider issues of geography, economics, technology and culture, creating structures that are fitting to their surroundings but still very much part of the practice of global architecture.
‘The exhibition shows my work within the framework of a wider cultural and socio-political trajectory … It marks an important moment in my career, as I increasingly seek to find ever new architectural scenarios for our fast-changing world, that nonetheless resonate with the powerful narratives of history, climate, culture and place.’ – David Adjaye
Notable figures from the world of art and design have lived in and owned Adjaye’s designs for private residences including Alexander McQueen, Jake Chapman, Tim Noble and Sue Webster. The architect has also collaborated with various contemporary artists, most notably with Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson. Ajaye’s collaboration with Eliasson, a light installation entitled Your Black Horizon, was exhibited at the 2005 Venice Biennale.
Some of Adjaye’s most notable works include Whitechapel Idea Store, the National Museum of Slavery and Freedom in Cape Coast, Ghana, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Adjaye was awarded an OBE for his architectural achievements in 2007.