Talk by David Adjaye opens Yale School of Architecture’s spring program

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David Adjaye

Internationally renowned architect David Adjaye, the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Architecture (YSOA), will present the school’s first lecture of the new year on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Titled “Works,” Adjaye’s talk will take place at Hastings Hall (basement level) at 180 York St. The event is free and open to the public; the doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

In addition to his lecture, Adjaye will teach an advanced design studio this term for graduate students, assisted by Brian Butterfield, a critic and director of exhibitions at YSOA.

The 11 students in the class will travel to Bangladesh to examine the garment quarter of Dhaka as well as the region’s architecture. According to Adjaye, the class will select a site in the quarter and propose a project that includes both an industrial and social component.

“For example, this year’s class may propose a contemporary garment factory paired with on-site housing and social or education facilities that promote greater upward mobility for garment workers,” said Adjaye.

The issue of improving modern factory conditions for garment workers is of special interest to Adjaye, who this past summer unveiled his design for a facility to house master silk weavers in Varanasi, India.

Born in 1966 in Tanzania, Adjaye is the son of a diplomat and lived in Egypt, Yemen, and Lebanon before moving to the United Kingdom at age 14. He attended London South Bank University and went on to earn an M.A. from the Royal College of Art in 1993. In 2000, he opened his own studio, Adjaye Associates.

The award-winning architect’s recent projects include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. In 2009 he was selected to design the $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., part of the Smithsonian, which will open in 2015.

Adjaye’s work has been the subject of several exhibitions, including one at Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 2006. The Tate acquired an installation he did with artist Chris Ofili in 2005, known as “The Upper Room.” That same year, he collaborated with artist Olafur Eliasson on “Your black horizon” for the Venice Biennale.

He was the first Louis Kahn Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and was the Kenzo Tange Professor in Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design. In addition, he is a RIBA Chartered Member, an AIA Honorary Fellow, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council.

Adjaye delivered a lecture at the Yale School of Architecture in 2003; however, this will be his first time teaching at Yale.

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