Recognition for a lifetime’s work in architecture
Sir David Adjaye OBE has been presented with the 2021 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by the Royal Institute of Architecture (RIBA).
Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the medal is given to a person or group who has had a significant influence either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture.
Awarded since 1848, past Royal Gold Medallists include Zaha Hadid (2016), Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).
Sir David Adjaye is a Ghanaian-British architect who has received international attention for an exceptional body of work over 25 years.
Drawing on his influences including contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities, his completed projects range from private houses, exhibitions and furniture design, through to major cultural buildings and city masterplans.
From the start of his career he has combined practice with teaching in schools of architecture in the UK and the USA, including professorships at the universities of Harvard, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Princeton.
His practice, Adjaye Associates, was founded in 2000 and today has studios in Accra, London and New York, with projects across the world.
Adjaye Associates is most well-known for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, DC (2016).
Other completed projects include Ruby City, an art centre in San Antonio, Texas; the Alara Concept Store in Lagos and the Sugar Hill Mixed Use Development in Harlem, New York.
Current projects include a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York in collaboration with Cooper Robertson; 130 William, a high-rise residential tower in New York’s financial district and the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, London.
Sir David Adjaye says: “It’s incredibly humbling and a great honour to have my peers recognise the work I have developed with my team and its contribution to the field over the past 25 years.
“Architecture, for me, has always been about the creation of beauty to edify all peoples around the world equally and to contribute to the evolution of the craft.
“The social impact of this discipline has been and will continue to be the guiding force in the experimentation that informs my practice.”
RIBA President Alan Jones adds: “At every scale, from private homes to major arts centres, one senses David Adjaye’s careful consideration of the creative and enriching power of architecture.
“His work is local and specific and at the same time global and inclusive. Blending history, art and science he creates highly crafted and engaging environments that balance contrasting themes and inspire us all.”