David Adjaye Wins RIBA’s 2021 Royal Gold Medal

The British-Ghanian architect is well known for projects around the world including the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian National Museum Of African American Arts And Culture Washington Dc By David Adjaye, Photographer Nic Lehoux
Smithsonian National Museum of African American Arts and Culture Courtesy Nic Lehoux

“It’s incredibly humbling and a great honor to have my peers recognize the work I have developed with my team and its contribution to the field over the past 25 years,” said David Adjaye upon learning that he had been awarded the Royal Gold Medal. Given by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), it’s among the highest honors in the field, and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence ‘either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture.’

“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. A heartfelt and sincere moment of gratitude and thanks to all the people who supported the journey to get to this moment,” said Adjaye.

David Adjaye 1 (c) Chris Schwagga
David Adjaye Courtesy Chris Schwagga

Since forming his practice, Adjaye Associates, in 2000, Adjaye’s has become well known internationally and here in the U.S. His designs for museums in America such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, DC (2016), Ruby City, an art centre in San Antonio, Texas (2019), and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado (2007), have helped re-imagine cultural institutions for the 21st century.

“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. I believe his both practicing and teaching in schools of architecture has significantly enriched his work. His artistic and social vision has created public projects that perfectly demonstrate the civic potential of architecture – fostering empathy, identity and pride,” said RIBA president Alan Jones.


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