In 2016, David Adjaye saw the opening of a major cultural project in Washington, D.C., won the commission for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Latvia, and received the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours. As of December 30, the British architect can add earning a knighthood to his long list of accomplishments.
The founder of Adjaye Associates and lead architect of the National Museum of African American History and Culture—one of RECORD’s Top Ten projects of 2016—will receive the Knight Bachelor Award in recognition of his work as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List. The biannual award, which honors the achievements of “extraordinary people across the United Kingdom,” effectively makes him Sir David Adjaye.
Born in in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, the London-based architect’s other notable projects include the Sugar Hill residences, a low-income housing development in Manhattan; the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo; the Idea Stores in Tower Hamlets, London; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.
“I am truly honoured and humbled to receive a knighthood by Her Majesty the Queen for my contribution to architecture,” said Adjaye in a statement. “I see this not as a personal celebration, but as a celebration of the vast potential—and responsibility—for architecture to effect positive social change, that we as architects have to bring something positive to the world. I am proud to continue to work in service of this mission as a global cultural ambassador for the UK.”
In addition to Adjaye, people of color, including Gold medal-winning distance runner Mo Farah and Cambridge chemist professor Shankar Balasubramanian, represent 9.3 percent of the New Year 2017 Honours recipients—the awards’ highest number of minority recipients to date. Other notable winners include Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, and The Kinks frontman Ray Davies.
Adjaye and the other winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony later this year.