In late 2020 David Adjaye unveiled the face of the future Museum of Art at Princeton University in New Jersey.
David Adjaye unveils his latest work, the Princeton University Museum of Art
In late 2020 David Adjaye unveiled the face of the future Museum of Art at Princeton University in New Jersey. This is just the latest in a series of high profile buildings that the award-winning dual Ghanaian-British architect has been involved with. Sir David Adjaye, OBE is known for his community-driven projects, his ethos and his imaginative use of materials. The bespoke designs he has shown the world have marked him apart as one of the leading architects of the generation. From private houses to exhibitions and temporary pavilions all the way to major arts centers, is there anything he can’t do?
Early Years of Impermanence on the Continent
Adjaye’s early life was one of frequent moves. Born in Tanzania to a Ghanaian diplomat, he lived in Egypt, Yemen and Lebanon all before the age of nine when he moved to Britain. He was able to see much of the continent, visiting places such as Kampala, Nairobi, Accra and Jeddah by joining his father’s travels. This history of travel would later be showcased in Adjaye’s project, ‘African Architecture: A Photographic Survey of Metropolitan Architecture’ that documented the urban history of fifty four major African cities.
Adjaye states that a formative moment in his childhood was when he realized the difficulties his partially paralyzed brother had to face when going to school. Adjaye noted that the run-down and degrading facility was very inefficient and during his university education he began to think about design solutions that would provide better care for those with less mobility. He describes this as the moment he understood how architecture melds with egalitarianism.
From Houses to Exhibitions, Adjaye’s Career is certainly not boring
Adjaye graduated in 1993 from the Royal College of Art in London, and in the same year won his first bronze medal award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). His early works included residential projects, such as the house of his future-best man, Chris Ofili. He also designed Lorna Simpson’s studio-home, and the Dirty House studio. Adjaye’s architecture firm would have its first solo exhibition in 2006 at the Whitechapel Gallery called ‘David Adjaye: Making Public Buildings.’
Things picked up quickly for Adjaye when he was selected to design the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver that opened in 2007. It was his first museum commission, and was designed in such a way as to minimize the boundaries between the exterior spaces of the city and the interior galleries of the museum. Adjaye was later selected as lead architect for the design of the $540 million National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. When the museum opened in 2016 it was named the cultural event of the year by the New York Times, and Adjaye’s signature touches included a crown motif from the West African Yoruba Kingdom.
His grandest work yet, the upcoming Princeton Museum of Art
In 2018 David Adjaye won the competition to create the new art museum in the heart of the Princeton University campus and he has just revealed new images of how the building will look. As a former guest professor at the university, Adjaye knows the institution well and his proposal is nothing if not ambitious.
The museum will be open to all and inclusive. Materials such as stone, bronze and glass will intertwine and the project will double the area offered by the original museum. The upcoming space has been described as a campus within the campus. It will have three levels with seven interlocking pavilions connected with intimate spaces. Spread across this impressive area will be nearly 110,000 works of art, with pieces dating back to antiquity standing alongside more recent works. Estimated to be completed in 2024, the building will be one of David Adjaye’s most important personal achievements, along with being one of the most important university museums in the world.
Sources: africatopsuccess.com – stirworld.com