Dezeen podcast: David Adjaye
at the Design Museum

| 9 comments

In this Dezeen podcast for the Design Museum architect David Adjaye talks to curator Gemma Curtin about Urban Africa, an exhibition of his photographs on show at the museum in London.

Top portrait is by Ed Reeve

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The show includes 3000 photographs taken by Adjaye to document the residential, commercial and municipal architecture of 52 African capital cities.

The images are all displayed as snapshots grouped by terrain type along the walls of one gallery, while some form large-scale projections in a separate room with music by Adjaye's brother Peter.

Information about the region's terrains, population, languages and climate is displayed as coded maps at the exhibition's entrance.

The exhibition continues until 5 September.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

Photographs are by Luke Hayes except where stated otherwise.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

Here's some more information from the Design Museum:


Urban Africa – David Adjaye’s photographic journey 31 March – 5 September 2010

One of the leading architects of his generation, David Adjaye has stepped out of his regular line of work to photograph and document key cities in Africa as part of an ongoing project to study new patterns of urbanism.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

This collection of photographs is a personal quest through the eyes of an architect to address the scant knowledge of the built environment of the African continent.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

David Adjaye has photographed the salient features of Africa’s cities including suburban settlements, unofficial developments and townscapes.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

Brought together for the first time, these photographs reveal the cities themselves and examine the buildings and places which have a special resonance with Adjaye’s preoccupations as an architect.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

The photographs will be presented as a series of vivid large-scale projections, set against a backdrop of African beats specially composed for the exhibition by Peter Adjaye.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

The images and music will flood the gallery creating a rich diversity of architecture, culture and urban landscape.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

Often regarded as a continent defined by underdevelopment, poverty, war and tourism, through this exhibition Adjaye presents Africa in a different light.

Above photograph is by David Adjaye

This detailed survey will reveal a unique snapshot of life in Africa today, documenting the nature of urban life in a developing country, a unique geo-cultural survey profiling the African city in a global context.

Adjaye has captured the urban development of cities including Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda showing traces of its Colonial past, Tripoli in Libya, very much invaded by the energy of the present, the informal settlements on the edges of new cities like Abuja, Nigeria and the traces of apartheid still inscribed on Pretoria, South Africa.

Born in Dar-Es-Salam, Tanzania, David Adjaye moved to London in 1979. Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1993 Adjaye trained with David Chipperfield Architects and Eduardo Souto de Moura in Oporto.

Winning the RIBA First Prize Bronze Medal in 1993 Adjaye set up his own practice, Adjaye Associates in 2000 and was nominated for a Stirling Prize in 2006 for his Whitechapel Idea Store.

With a rich body of built work he has recently won the prestigious commission to design the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC which will open in 2015.

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  • Iptihaj

    I LIKE!:)

  • http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/otherhostedsites/avatar/kaprinis.html Spyridon Kaprinis

    A very humane and low-profile exhibition… Adjaye’s adventurous photographic journey is presented in a unique, raw and unpretentious manner…a very sincere and honest photo survey of an amazing continent and its urban status quo. Congrats!

  • http://www.sum-things.com TTJ

    very suttle, very honest. Really just awesome. Really just David Adjaye, I guess.

  • di

    and then what… ? any conclusions? just catalogueing pics…

  • maryD

    inspiring piece, loved it.

  • http://www.cadblockparty.com BlockParty

    Thanks to Mr. Adjaye the diverse architecture and urban life of Africa is being unveiled to the Western world.
    A very heartfelt exhibition that we would thoroughly recommend to everyone!

  • http://www.koffi-diabate.com issa diabaté

    the best kept secret about sub-saharian africa is its urban culture!

  • http://www.exat.net orietta sloth

    exciting… and inspiring … bold… strong … makes me happy … somewhere-on-earth–are-ideas-implemented-… we-need -ideas… o.

  • Tamara

    full of spirit ,works are alive