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David Adjaye Named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential List

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The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC, designed by David Adjaye, opened to the public in 2016.

Ghanian-British architect and designer, David Adjaye, is one of the 100 Most Influential people in the world, according to Time Magazine. The only architect on the magazine's annual roundup of current notable names—a motley crew that includes the drag perfomer RuPaul and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis—Adjaye can add this latest accolade to a slew of distinctions that have come his way over the last few years.

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, chosen to author Adjaye's citation, makes note of Adjaye's highest profile American project. "Every architect has to contend with gravity—but when David designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the challenges of that elemental force went far beyond the ordinary. How can a design acknowledge, and embody, the weight of this monumental history and yet transcend it right before your eyes? How can a building be true to the earthbound burdens of centuries of oppression and struggle, while at the same time displaying the faith, joy and triumphs of African-­American life, so that the structure soars into the light?"

"Every architect has to contend with gravity—but when David designed the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the challenges of that elemental force went far beyond the ordinary."

Born to Ghanian parents, David Adjaye was born in Tanzania, but emigrated to Britain as a young boy. At just 50, he's earned the kind of international recognition—(RIBA) Bronze Medal for architectural students (1993); Design Miami/ Designer of the Year award (2011); Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT (2016)—reserved for architects decades older, a glittering resume culminating in Britian's ultimate cultural symbol, Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth earlier this year.

For all his precocious accomplishments, though, what remains mostly unspoken—but most compelling—about Adjaye is his singular standing as the only internationally-recognized architect of African heritage. His selection as the architect of the first museum devoted to the African American experience—and his eloquent answer—no doubt informed Time Magazine's decision to place David Adjaye amongst its Icons, rather than its Artists.

David Adjaye

British architect, Sir David Adjaye

National Museum of African American History and Culture

—Via National Museum of African American History & Culture

The only architect on Time's 100 Most Influential list, Sir David Adjaye can add this accolade to a slew of others that have come his way over the last few years.

Left: On the Mall in Washington, DC, the distinctive profile of the David Adjaye's National Museum of African American History & Culture is juxtaposed with the Washington Monument. Below: The Adjaye-designed Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Llibrary, Washington, DC.

—Via Adjaye Associates

Washington Collection for Knoll™

David Adjaye's first modern furniture collaboration yielded the Washington Collection for Knoll™. Comprising the collection is the cantilevered Washington Skeleton Side Chair (above), and Washington Prism, a suite of faceted upholstered seating. View the Knoll Washington Collection here.

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