David Adjaye, an ultra-active superstar in the world of global architecture, has unveiled his latest tour de force: “Agenda 111,” a massive program involving the construction of more than a hundred hospitals in the country where he grew up. A project that crowns the impressive career of this new kind of starchitect. The first black architect to be honored with the Royal Gold Medal, awarded by the Royal British Institute of British Architects, the former student of the Royal College of Art in London delivered a meaningful building in 2016, inaugurated by Barack Obama in person: the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington .
Suggesting the shape of a crown, inspired by Yoruba art, the building is clad in openwork metal panels, which pay tribute to the know-how of Afro-American craftsmen and metalworkers. This committed architecture has also manifested itself in other projects, such as the Stephen Lawrence Centre in London, which pays tribute to the black British student of the same name who was murdered in the British capital in 1993; and the Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion, also in London, which recalls the tragic story of a Brixton resident who was shot by police.
Alongside this militant aspect, Adjaye has also designed several projects with a lighter touch that will delight fans of Instagrammable architecture, such as the flagship of The Webster in Los Angeles, with its pink concrete, a true ode to California, and the Ruby City Art Center in Texas, dressed in red concrete.
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By Lisa Agostini