Architect David Adjaye

Architect David Adjaye tops list of UK's most influential black people

News: architect David Adjaye has topped a list of Britain's most influential black people, ahead of Olympic athlete Mo Farah, the shadow business secretary and the Archbishop of York.

The sixth annual PowerList, which ranks the top 100 black professionals regarded as role models in their field, also named make-up artist Pat McGrath and The Wire actor Idris Elba in its top 10.

Adjaye, who rebuilt his practice, Adjaye Associates, after entering a company voluntary arrangement in 2009 to avoid bankruptcy, is the first creative professional to be awarded the number one spot.

In the accompanying PowerList report, the architect described his joy after winning a "once in a hundred years" project to build the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., currently under construction. "We had to present to the most illustrious board, including Oprah Winfrey and Colin Powell. I was shaking like I'd just walked into the epicentre of the universe," he said. "But we won unanimously. It was extraordinary."

The announcement is another accolade for the Tanzanian-born architect, who was named Designer of the Year at Design Miami in 2011 and awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to British architecture. Adjaye was also shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2006 for the Whitechapel Idea Store, a glass-fronted community building in a deprived part of east London.

Earlier this year we reported on two libraries completed by Adjaye Associates in Washington D.C. – a timber and glass building with a chequered facade and an elevated concrete structure with yellow timber fins.

We also previously recorded a Dezeen podcast with Adjaye to coincide with Urban Africa, an exhibition of his photographs of African cities at London's Design Museum in 2010.

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Photograph is by Ed Reeve.