David Adjaye

David Adjaye

Born: 22nd September 1966

Birth Place: Tanzania

Known for: being a world renowned architect.

In 2007, Adjaye was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for contribution to British architecture.

In 2016, Adjaye designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a grand museum in Washington DC, America.

In 2017, he was recognised as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most influential people of the year.

David Adjaye

Life story

Early Life

David Adjaye was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His father was a Ghanaian diplomat. His father’s job role meant that they had to move and live in many countries such as Egypt, Yemen, and Lebanon. At the age of nine, David and his family eventually moved and settled in England.

At an early age David had an interest in art, which led him to studying and gaining a degree in architecture at South Bank university in 1990. He also eventually completed a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in 1993.



Adjaye began to design apartments and houses early on in his career. He eventually expanded to restaurants, studios, and private residences, the Idea stores (2004-05), which were a mix between libraries and community hubs, and the Nobel peace centre in Oslo, which was the museum of contemporary art.

David being selected to work on these projects was very unusual at the time due to him not being the most experienced in his field and being so young.

Adjaye’s travels as a child allowed him to be able to be more culturally sensitive, and he was able to have a range of architectural styles, which he has said is the reason why he designs the way he does. An additional influence was that his youngest brother was in a wheelchair and it allowed Adjaye to think about what he named the “social responsibility” of architecture.

Adjaye founded his own international practice in 2000, called Adjaye Associates.

Adjaye has gained many honours and awards for his work, which include the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bronze Medal for architectural students (1993),  was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2007 for services to British architecture and the Design Miami/Designer of the Year award (2011).


David was knighted for his contributions to architecture.

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