Icon 160: David Adjaye in Washington – out now 02.09.16

In our latest issue, we interview celebrated architect David Adjaye as he unveils his monumental National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC

David Adjaye is one of architecture’s most enigmatic figures. The London-based architect is notoriously hard to pin down, skimming from one continent to another in the manner of a high-powered business exec. Sartorially he seems too cool (or self-aware) for an industry whose zenith is populated by balding middle-aged men in polo necks and bad jackets.

Further, the charismatic Adjaye has never nailed his colours to any kind of political or societal mast that made him easy to side with or react against. His varied portfolio reveals an ability to turn his hand to all kinds of building types: sensitive community projects demonstrated by the Idea Store in Whitechapel, one-off houses such as the Sunken House for friend and collaborator Ed Reeve and the monolithic cantilevering business school Skolkovo in Moscow. That he has managed to mix constructivism with plush retail interiors has made him all the harder to read. Adjaye is architecture’s method actor – a man to whom labels never quite seem to stick.

This month the architect will finally take the wraps off his National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. All-consuming and eight years in the making, it is a career-defining moment. In our profile, he speaks of this landmark project, an icon if ever there was one, with the awe of a man who cannot quite believe he pulled it off. Now complete, the building will thrust the London-based architect onto the world stage. The one label that may then fit is that of starchitect.

 

Words

James McLachlan

 

Cover portrait

Jared Soares

 

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In our profile, he speaks of this landmark project, an icon if ever there was one, with the awe of a man who cannot quite believe he pulled it off

leader

IN THIS ISSUE

lifestyle

LIFESTYLE

Kit The newest watch from Nomad and Samuel Wilkinson, Lynne MacLachlan’s 3D-printed jewellery, a futuristic toothbrush by Future Facility and a rundown of the latest camera releases

Home Opalina’s ethereal all-glass furniture and Gandia Blasco’s bong-shaped bojito

Transport Chris Forsyth shares photographs of some of the world’s most sublime metro stations, from Montreal to Munich

Destination A questionably artful slide down an East London folly, wooden slats make an unexpected appearance at a hipster bar, a surprisingly light basement restaurant, and Airbnb’s new design studio launches its first ‘shared space’ in collaboration with Go Hasegawa

architecture

ARCHITECTURE

Interview David Adjaye meets his match with the most important commission of his career to date, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC

Residential BIG finally completes the crystalline Via 57 West in New York

Retail OMA’s masterful Fondaco dei Tedeschi is the crowning achievement of the practice’s preservation work

Office The gateway to a Mexican business park by a|911 strikes an eerie note

Office Basil Spence’s brutalist landmark given a new life by dMFK

Icon Peckham’s Pioneer Centre pioneered today’s holistic approach to health

Q&A RIBA award-winner Alison Brooks on housing and the social and civic purpose behind architecture

objects

DESIGN

Feature How flatpack is poised to take over the world

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL

100% Design What to watch at the leading design show

Luxury Made Uncovering the latest in refined style

V&A Mathieu Lehanneur and Glithero’s striking installations

Preview Highlights, launches and anniversaries at LDF

London Design Biennale Utopian installations invade Somerset House

Bathroom Celebrating public bathing at Roca

Icon The tale of the other iconic British telephone box

Q&A Benjamin Hubert on broadening his design practice

Review Anime architecture

Rethink Summer, rebranded

Obsession The Smithsons

   

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