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Architectural Digest

SIR DAVID ADJIA HAS WON THE 2021 ROYAL GOLD MODEL. The Royal Institute of British Architects has named Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye the recipient of its 2021 Royal Gold Medal, one of the highest accolades in the field. The judges praised Adiaye as “a singular and timely talent and a strong reminder of the insightful and integrative role of the architect.” It’s the first time in the award’s 172-year history that it’s been presented to a Black architect. …

“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,” Adjaye, 54, said in a statement. “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.” Adjaye has created dazzlingly unique homes, commercial properties, product designs, exhibition spaces, and major arts centers through a career defined by contrasts. …

The son of a Ghanian diplomat, Adjaye was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1966—two years after the country gained its independence from Great Britain. His childhood was cosmopolitan and privileged: Adjaye was educated by private tutors as his family moved to Uganda, Egypt, Yemen, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon before settling in London in 1977. He earned a B.A. at London South Bank University in 1990 and, three years later, a master’s from the Royal College of Art. In 2000, he launched his own firm, Adjaye Associates. Today it has offices in London, Accra, and New York, and commissions all over the world. Though keen to avoid being labeled a “Black architect,” Adjaye acknowledges the role his roots play in his work.

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