McDermott Award Keynote Lecture

Geography, History, Community: Designing to Context

Through an exploration of his completed and ongoing work, David Adjaye will discuss how architecture can be harnessed as a tool for community enrichment and development. David Adjaye’s work ranges from large-scale public projects—such as the soon-to-be completed National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. and the recently opened Sugar Hill housing and museum project in Harlem, New York—to private residences for prestigious artists. This lecture will address how his work across a variety of programs and scales is united in its attention to the nuances of the geographies, histories and cultural significance of their contexts and places.

David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994 he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. He founded Adjaye Associates in 2000 and immediately won several prestigious commissions, including the design of the Nobel Peace Centre within the shell of a disused railway station in Oslo (completed in 2005). His design for the Whitechapel Idea Store pioneered a new approach to the provision of information services (2005).

Adjaye Associates has offices in London, New York and Accra, and is working throughout the world. Notable current projects include the $360 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington D.C., and the new home for The Studio Museum in Harlem. Other notable projects within the United States include 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).

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 / 5:00–6:30pm
MIT Lecture Hall 10-250
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA