Architect David Adjaye Awarded 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

Award includes $100K prize, artist residency, gala and four public programs at MIT

Architect David Adjaye OBE receives the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The $100K prize awarded at a gala in his honor also includes an artist residency at MIT in spring 2016, during which Adjaye will participate in four public programs. These events will include panels and symposia focused on the future of the museum, library and campus, as well as a keynote lecture about his own body of work. Adjaye’s current high profile architectural projects include the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. An extensive retrospective of his work opens at the Art Institute of Chicago on September 19, 2015.  

David Adjaye comments on this honor:

“In my career I have sought to cross creative platforms, to collaborate with artists and designers from different disciplines and to focus on the creative discourse surrounding the act of making things. I believe it is this dialogue – the cultural intersection – that moves us forward, generates new possibilities and creates greatness. The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT has long stood for exactly this principle, and it for this reason I am both supremely honoured and supremely humbled to be named as this year’s recipient.”

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates individuals whose artistic trajectory reveals that they will achieve the highest distinction in their fields and continue to produce inspiring work for many years to come. The $100,000 prize represents an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement.  The official announcement will be made at the Council for the Arts at MIT’s 43rd annual meeting at MIT on October 30, 2015, and Adjaye will be presented with the award at a gala in his honor on March 29, 2016. Past recipients include Olafur Eliasson, Robert Lepage, Gustavo Dudamel, Bill Viola, Suzan Lori Parks and Santiago Calatrava, among others.

MIT Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History Philip S. Khoury expresses how fitting it is to recognize David Adjaye’s achievements with the McDermott Award:

“We are delighted to celebrate the visionary architect, David Adjaye, at MIT, where we excel in forward-thinking design and international cross-disciplinary work. It is particularly fitting, since MIT established the first architecture program in the US, and our Cambridge campus, which celebrates its centennial this year, is home to significant buildings by stellar architects, including Fumihiko Maki, Frank Gehry, Stephen Holl, Charles Correa ‘55, I.M. Pei ‘40, Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen.”

Campus Residency and Public Programs

A distinctive feature of the Award is a short residency at MIT, which includes a public presentation of the artist’s work, substantial interaction with students and faculty, and a gala that convenes national and international leaders in the arts. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient with unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research at the Institute and to develop mutually enlightening relationships in the MIT community.

2016 Public Programs by David Adjaye at MIT

Future of the Library: February 10-11, 2016
Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT Keynote Lecture:  Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Future of the Campus, part of the MIT 2016 centennial celebration:  March 30-31, 2016
Future of the Museum:  April 27-28, 2016

About the Council for the Arts at MIT

The Council for the Arts at MIT is a volunteer group of alumni and friends who support the arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since its founding in 1972 by MIT President Jerome B. Wiesner, the Council for the Arts at MIT has bestowed the award upon 35 individuals who work in performing, visual, and media arts, as well as authors, art historians, and patrons of the arts. Appointed by the President of MIT to three-year terms, Council members continuously fulfill their mission “to foster the arts at MIT and to act as a catalyst for the development of a broadly based, highly participatory program in the arts.

About David Adjaye

David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. He founded Adjaye Associates in 2000 and immediately won several prestigious commissions. In Oslo he designed the Nobel Peace Centre in the shell of a disused railway station (completed in 2005). In London his design for the Whitechapel Idea Store pioneered a new approach to the provision of information services (2005). Later projects in London included the Stephen Lawrence Centre, with teaching and community spaces (2007), Rivington Place, an exhibition venue and resource centre (2007), and the Bernie Grant Centre for the performing arts (2007).

Adjaye Associates now has offices in London, New York, and Accra and is working throughout the world. In the United States, Adjaye is the designer of a new home for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), two public libraries in Washington DC (2012), the Sugar Hill low income housing development in Harlem (2014) and the redesigned Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at Harvard’s Hutchins Center (2014). Adjaye Associates’ largest completed project to date is the £160 million Moscow School of Management Skolkovo (2010). Current projects include the $360 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington DC, the Alara concept store in Lagos, the Aishti Foundation arts and retail centre in Beirut, a new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar, the new home for The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Center for Art and Culture at Colgate University, and a condominium development for Four Seasons in Washington DC.

Adjaye recently collaborated with Okwui Enwezor on the design of the 56th Venice Art Biennale (2015). Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition, was held at Haus der Kunst in Munich and is at the Art Institute of Chicago September 19, 2015–January 3, 2016.

More information on the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Sharon Lacey