| is there a user's manual for this
| type of thing? we see Adjaye has
| gone from 'young enthusiastic talented'
| to 'architect for/and the people' stage
| this was quick. from 'brilliant young' architect
| to the 'robin hood' of architecture in one week.
| by far, the best star-making-media-blitz we have
| seen so far (and the most predictable too, see
| our mail of 21-01-2006)
The joyful world of a modern Robin Hood
Always look - and always learn. That's the philosophy that has turned
David Adjaye into one of Britain's hottest architects - and one whose
work is marked by a great generosity of spirit. As an exhibition of his
work opens, he talks to Benjamin Secher
"I'm afraid I'm a stalker," says David Adjaye, shifting awkwardly from
one foot to the other. "In the middle of the night you might see me
standing in the street, looking through the windows. I sometimes worry
that the police will arrest me." They needn't bother: the object of
Adjaye's obsessive gaze is purely architectural; the windows he peers
through are his own.
two tower blocks extravagantly clad in brass and bronze. "The property
market devalues social housing, and that affects how people perceive it.
So I wanted to cover these buildings in materials that are connected
This Robin Hood-like gesture is typical of Adjaye: in his second Idea
Store, he fought for the space on the top floors with panoramic city
views - "like what a CEO gets in his office" - to be reserved for a
public café. "I said we have to give the best part of the building to
the most social use," he says. "It's this idea of giving an advantage
back to people: simple things like that are very important."
This generosity of spirit is what links each of Adjaye's diverse public
projects into a coherent group. With bright murals and doorless
thresholds, he is forging a public architecture founded on optimism, and
of faith in the people for whom the building are designed.
Nowhere is this more explicit than in the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo,
Adjaye's greatest achievement so far. The brief was not easy - to design
a public front for a world-renowned organisation in an awkward, "French
chateau-style" railway station. "At first we wanted to knock down the
building only to find out it was listed," he says, laughing. "It's an
absolutely ugly building and everybody in Norway knows it, but it's the
only building left in that whole downtown area that wasn't levelled by