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Video: President Obama Inaugurates the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

14:20 - 27 September, 2016
© Darren Bradley
© Darren Bradley

“What we can see of this building, the towering glass, the artistry of the metalwork, is surely a sight to behold.”

These were the words spoken by President Barack Obama as he inaugurated the most recent addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, this past weekend. The opening ceremonies featured musical performances and celebrations, as well as a look at the museum’s place in American history.

“This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are,” said Obama. “It helps us better understand the lives, yes, of the president but also the slave, the industrialist but also the porter, the keeper of the status quo but also the activist seeking to overthrow that status quo.”

Critical Round-Up: The National Museum of African American History and Culture

09:30 - 21 September, 2016
Critical Round-Up: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Darren Bradley
© Darren Bradley

A century since the founding of the National Memorial Association and the start of a campaign by African-American war veterans for a monument of African American culture, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will finally be opened on September 24th. The Museum took $540 million and four years to build, resulting in a striking, and refreshingly unorthodox, architectural construction on Washington DC’s National Mall. The Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup JJR team, led by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, defiantly broke the white-marble-Corinthian-column convention, opting instead for a bronze-coated aluminum façade bound to provoke a reaction from the critics.

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Darren Bradley © Darren Bradley +19

David Adjaye Discusses the Narrative of the National Museum of African American History

09:30 - 30 August, 2016
David Adjaye Discusses the Narrative of the National Museum of African American History, The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which will occupy the last available site on the National Mall, was a challenge for British architect David Adjaye, who is known for designing buildings that are highly referential to their surroundings. Image © Alan Karchmer
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which will occupy the last available site on the National Mall, was a challenge for British architect David Adjaye, who is known for designing buildings that are highly referential to their surroundings. Image © Alan Karchmer

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Constructing a Narrative."

It’s rare for an architect to have the opportunity to design a building in which symbolism and form are as important as function, if not more so. But this was the task given to David Adjaye when he won the commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which, when it opens in September, will be the final Smithsonian institution to take its place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Adjaye, whose work is marked for its extreme sensitivity to context, found himself challenged in ways he had never been before. On the occasion of the completion of Adjaye’s Eugene McDermott Award residency at MIT, Metropolis editor Vanessa Quirk spoke with the architect about the new institution, its symbolic significance, and the blurry boundary between monument and museum.

© Alan Karchmer © Alan Karchmer With no dense urban context to draw from, Adjaye eventually found inspiration in the classical vernacular. Indeed, the angle of the building’s facade matches that of the Washington Monument’s pyramid. Image © Alan Karchmer The three tiers of the building organize the spatial experience of the museum into past, present, and future. Image © Alan Karchmer +8

Bjarke Ingels, Rem Koolhaas to Feature in September Issue of WIRED UK, "THINK BIGGER"

16:15 - 25 August, 2016

Next Month, architecture will be hitting the mainstream media, as Bjarke Ingels has been selected to grace the cover of the September 2016 edition of WIRED UK. Titled “THINK BIGGER,” the issue will also feature profiles and stories from architects and designers Tom Dixon, Neri Oxman, David Adjaye and Rem Koolhaas. A Condé Nast Publication, the magazine focuses on the effects of science and technology on topics including design, architecture, culture, the economy, politics and philosophy.

Gallery: David Adjaye's National Museum of African American History and Culture Photographed by Paul Clemence

14:00 - 11 August, 2016
Gallery: David Adjaye's National Museum of African American History and Culture Photographed by Paul Clemence, © Paul Clemence
© Paul Clemence

Photographer Paul Clemence of ARCHI-PHOTO has shared with us images of Adjaye Associates' nearly-completed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The building draws inspiration from the nearby Washington Monument, mirroring the 17-degree angle of its capstone in the museum’s tiered corona. Adjaye has described the building’s ornamental bronze lattice as “a historical reference to African American craftsmanship.” The skin can also be modulated to control the transparency and amount of sunlight reaching the interior spaces. The building will open to the public on September 24, 2016.

Continue on for Clemence’s full photoset.

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence +34

Videos: David Adjaye, Bjarke Ingels & Maya Lin Talk to Goldman Sachs

15:30 - 27 July, 2016

In this series by renowned financial institution Goldman Sachs, Talks at GS, some of architecture’s leading minds, including David Adjaye and Maya Lin, talk about how their careers have developed, their secrets to success, and what they are working on right now. The most recent video features Bjarke Ingels discussing his design approach and the development of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion. In addition to the videos, Goldman Sachs has also sat down with two other design leaders to talk about their careers.

Find the rest of the interviews after the break.

Video: Adjaye Brothers Discuss Their Upcoming Vinyl Collaboration

08:00 - 24 July, 2016

The Spaces has recently released a short film in which architect David Adjaye and his musician brother Peter Adjaye discuss their upcoming vinyl collaboration, which fuses music and architecture together to represent a multi-sensory experience.

In the film, the Adjaye brothers delve into several topics, like explaining their inspirations, David’s early ambitions as a DJ, and their upcoming soundtrack for the soon-to-be-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

David Adjaye and His Brother Fuse Music and Architecture on Upcoming Vinyl Record

09:30 - 19 June, 2016

David Adjaye is set to release a vinyl record with his brother Peter, a composer and musician with whom David has been formally collaborating for over a decade, reports The Spaces. The record, Dialogues, presents a collection of 10 of Peter's sonic responses to David's architectural projects. "When I see architecture I hear sounds – I respond to the visual. David responds to sound – he creates with a soundtrack in his mind," Peter said of their creative dynamic.

Adjaye Associates Selected to Design Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art

10:15 - 16 June, 2016
Adjaye Associates Selected to Design Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, © Malcolm Reading Consultants
© Malcolm Reading Consultants

The Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation has selected Adjaye Associates to lead the design for a new contemporary art museum in downtown Riga. Selected from a pool of 7 finalists including wHY and Lahdelma & Mahlamäki, the winning design features a strongly animated roof geometry designed to pull soft northern light into each of the gallery spaces.

Adjaye Associates, working with local firm AB3D, envisioned the museum as a social incubator, a welcoming and porous space where people could be brought together through a variety of formal and spontaneous interactions. The jury found that the proposal’s distinctive silhouette would give the museum a strong presence within its context of planned commercial and residential developments, and that is orientation and materiality showed a keen awareness of the vernacular and cultural contexts.

Designing A Place for Inventing the Future: The MIT Campus, Then, Now, Next

16:00 - 14 March, 2016
Designing A Place for Inventing the Future: The MIT Campus, Then, Now, Next

This two-day symposium is co-sponsored with the MIT 2016 Committee and the MIT Department of Architecture. It will examine architecture and cultures at MIT and their influences on education and student life on campus. Speakers, including David Adjaye and Hashim Sarkis, will explore the prescient design of the original buildings and the interdisciplinary, innovative research that they fomented, as well as imagine the teaching and maker spaces of the future.

David Adjaye’s Aishti Foundation in Beirut Nears Completion

12:00 - 12 November, 2015
David Adjaye’s Aishti Foundation in Beirut Nears Completion , © Guillaume Ziccarelli
© Guillaume Ziccarelli

The David Adjaye-designed Aishti Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon is nearing completion. Located in central Beirut, the building replaces former warehouses, housing both an art gallery and retail space. This unique “juxtaposition of art and shopping” inspired Adjaye and Associates “to create a design for an entirely new typology that would integrate two, often conflicting, worlds,” write the architects in a press release.

© Guillaume Ziccarelli © Guillaume Ziccarelli © Guillaume Ziccarelli © Guillaume Ziccarelli +20

Can Anyone Win in Architecture Criticism? An Appeal for a "New Sincerity"

09:30 - 9 November, 2015
Can Anyone Win in Architecture Criticism? An Appeal for a "New Sincerity"

In the mid-1980s, after literature had long been held hostage by postmodernist irony and cynicism, a new wave of authors called for an end to negativity, promoting a "new sincerity" for fiction. Gaining momentum into the 1990s, the movement reached a pinnacle in 1993 when, in his essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, pop-culture seer David Foster Wallace, a proponent of this "new sincerity," made the following call to action: “The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal.'"

Architecture, ever in debt to the styles and ideas of other art forms, could learn a thing or two now from the resuscitation of American fiction at the turn of the millennium. It too is enduring an identity crisis, mired by pessimism and uncertainty - a reality made painfully clear this past January when a New York Times Op-Ed by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, How to Rebuild Architecture, divided camps and made the design world fume. In the editorial, the authors spoke vehemently of an architectural profession that has become mired by egos and been disconnected from public needs. Things quickly got ugly, critics wrestled with critics and subsequently the public got involved. What no one seemed to take into account is that this type of hounding is at the core of the problem. In its current landscape the discipline has struggled with its past, been deferential to its present, and wrestled with the uncertainty of its future. In a moment when we have become addicted to despondency, can anyone win?

Adjaye Associates' Sugar Hill Development Offers a Different Model for Public Housing

06:00 - 28 October, 2015

In discussion with Calvin Tomkins for a 2013 profile in The New Yorker, David Adjaye spoke intensely on the significance of his Sugar Hill Development. “Context,” said Adjaye, “is so important, not to mimic but to become part of the place. I wanted a building that acknowledges its surroundings.” The recently-completed project is the brainchild of Ellen Baxter, leader of Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), a non-profit that has made strides to create innovative housing schemes in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. In an era where mixed-used developments are routine, Sugar Hill adds new dimensions to the typology by uniting affordable apartments, an early childhood education center, offices for the BHC, and the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.

In conjunction with their full building review written by Rob Bevan, The Architectural Review has produced this video which introduces the broader public to the tenants, allowing us to better understand the building’s use, intentions, and the design philosophy.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center: Adjaye or Not Adjaye?

09:30 - 27 October, 2015
The Barack Obama Presidential Center: Adjaye or Not Adjaye?, The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction. Image © Nathan Perkel for Surface Magazine
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction. Image © Nathan Perkel for Surface Magazine

There has been much debate, speculation and excitement among architectural enthusiasts about who is on the shortlist to design the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. After spending an afternoon viewing “Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye,” now on at the Art Institute of Chicago, I’m more convinced than ever that Adjaye is the right person for the job.

LOBBY #3: Meaningful Defiance in a Disengaged Culture

04:00 - 23 October, 2015
© Anna Andersen / Regner Ramos
© Anna Andersen / Regner Ramos

'Defiance' manifests itself in many forms: riots in Baltimore, makeshift housing in Rwanda, Pink Floyd in Venice and plants growing where they ought not sprout. To defy the norm is an act of rebellion and in architecture, doubly so. In the third issue of LOBBY, the burgeoning magazine from London's Bartlett School of Architecture, the notion of defiance and its incarnations are investigated in a collection of essays, interviews and discussions with leading and emerging thinkers in urbanism and architecture. From Swiss master Mario Botta to Carme Pinós, former partner to Enric Miralles, this latest LOBBY investigates the act of defiance as a core tenet of architectural practice.

© Anna Andersen / Regner Ramos © Anna Andersen / Regner Ramos © Anna Andersen / Regner Ramos © Anna Andersen / Regner Ramos +15

Bringing Design to a Broad Audience: The 7th New York Architecture and Design Film Festival

12:00 - 16 October, 2015
Bringing Design to a Broad Audience: The 7th New York Architecture and Design Film Festival, Still from "Concrete Love" showing Gottfried Böhm's Neviges Mariendom. Image Courtesy of New York Architecture & Design Film Festival
Still from "Concrete Love" showing Gottfried Böhm's Neviges Mariendom. Image Courtesy of New York Architecture & Design Film Festival

October has become a busy month in the design world. If you’re living in the United States, New York specifically, it means Archtober: a portmanteau that means the city is flooded with architecture activities, programs and exhibitions, piled onto an already rich design calendar. One of these events is the New York Architecture & Design Film Festival, which started on Tuesday night and runs through Sunday October 18th, and will screen 30 films from around the world in 15 curated, themed programs.

This week, I was able to visit the festival to absorb the atmosphere and speak to the festival's director Kyle Bergman, to learn the ins and outs of this year’s festival, how things got started, and where it will go in the future.

Chicago Tribune Says 11 "High Caliber" Architects Asked to Submit Qualifications for Obama Library

14:15 - 23 September, 2015
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org

Update: The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has now reported that 140 architects from 60 cities have expressed their interest in designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago by submitting qualifications. Of these, 99 are based in the United States, although names have not been released. The below article, originally published on September 1st, lists 11 architects that Kamin was able to confirm had been invited to submit qualifications by the Barack Obama Foundation.

Last week, it was reported that the Barack Obama Foundation was searching globally for an architect to design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum (officially known as the Barack Obama Presidential Center). With the list of invited candidates for Obama's Presidential Center still a closely-guarded secret, though, the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has turned investigator, uncovering a list of 11 firms among the "fifty or more" which are believed to have been invited. Kamin states that the 11 firms he has confirmed to be in the running are "A) Of high caliber; B) Represent a broad geographic and aesthetic spectrum; and C) Include the established firms one would expect to be invited."

David Adjaye Designs "Ruby City" for Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio

16:00 - 17 September, 2015
David Adjaye Designs "Ruby City" for Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio , Rendering of Linda Pace Foundation’s Ruby City in San Antonio, estimated to open 2018. Image © Adjaye Associates
Rendering of Linda Pace Foundation’s Ruby City in San Antonio, estimated to open 2018. Image © Adjaye Associates

The Linda Pace Foundation has unveiled plans for a new building designed by Adjaye Associates. Planned to open in San Antonio, Texas in 2018, "Ruby City" will house the Foundation's growing collection of contemporary art. The two-story structure, clad in "crimson-hued panels of precast concrete with glass aggregate," will be distinct with its "dramatic rooftop of sloping angles and skylights that rise to varying heights and echo cut-away spaces at the building’s base."