There has been a tendency to shy away from who you are, and I don’t want to deny who I am. If a Japanese architect talks about Shintoism, everyone goes, “Wow.” If an African architect talks about an African village, it is somehow weird in the Western context. I find that hilarious. What’s the difference?London-based, Ghanaian architect David Adjaye was born in Tanzania and educated at the Royal College of Art. His 2005 Whitechapel Idea Store-- he designed several "Idea Stores," which are not at all unlike Japan's one-stop culture shop community centers-- in London won the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) First Prize Bronze Medal (photo just below). Adjaye also creates stunning private spaces-- including James Casebere and Lorna Simpson's four-story Fort Greene studio (bottom photo), which you may remember as the subject of a 2006 Times article.
Adjaye is all of 42 years old.