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David Adjaye – Form, Heft, Material

This is an elegant catalog of David Adjaye’s work. Although the format is straightforward, renderings are tastefully personalized, photos are poetic, and essays are interesting. But I do hope that the talented young architect can have a better and more comprehensive monographs of his work to date, other than just a modest display of teasing vignettes.
For those looking for a drawing or photo book, I warn you, has a lot more depth and a large amount of texts that document the process, ideas, his projects and social vision.
A must see to understand what has happened in the world of architecture today.
Chapters alternate between the essays—by curators, architects, and writers—and the project portfolios. At times, the transition from the exhibition overview to the rest of the text seems rushed, and readers may be perplexed by images that are small or appear out of sync. Yet the promise of the book’s cover—a pattern taken from the cladding of Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)—is delivered in over 175 color photographs and renderings, along with drawings and diagrams. From an early temporary pavilion—erected in both Manchester, England, and New York—to the igneous black metal of his Sugar Hill housing in Harlem, there’s plenty to savor. However, it’s the essays that explore the significance of Adjaye’s diverse beginnings.
Born in Tanzania, David Adjaye (b. 1966) is rapidly emerging as a major international figure in architecture and design-and this stunning catalogue serves only to cement his role as one of the most important architects of our time. His expanding portfolio of important civic architecture, public buildings, and urban planning commissions spans Europe, the United States, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He transforms complex ideas and concepts into approachable and innovative structures that respond to the geographical, ecological, technological, engineering, economic, and cultural systems that shape the practice of global architecture. The publication of this compendium of work and essays coincides with the scheduled opening of Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Adjaye’s completed work in the United States includes the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, a pair of public libraries in D.C., and several private residences. He is also known for his collaborations with artists, most recently with the British painter Chris Ofili (b. 1968). Following an introduction by Zoe Ryan, Adjaye writes on his current and future work, with subsequent essays by an extraordinary cadre of architectural scholars on Adjaye’s master plans and urban planning, transnational architecture, monuments and memorials, and, finally, the forthcoming museum in D.C. Portfolios of Adjaye’s work thread throughout this comprehensive volume.

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