Adjaye Wins Jefferson Medal

John Hill
27. February 2018
David Adjaye (Photo: Knoll)

While there is no direct correlation between the Jefferson Medal and Pritzker Prize – they share many names, but sometimes the recipients of the former follow the latter and sometimes vice versa – the news of Adjaye's Jefferson Medal comes just one week before the Pritzker Architecture Prize is slated to be announced. (Precisely, the Pritzker laureate will be revealed on March 7th at 10am EST, per its website.)

It's hard not to speculate on Adjaye's chances of winning the Pritzker, especially coming a year and a half after his critically lauded National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, DC, and about a month after the same building was named the Beazley Design of the Year. (Those interested in more speculation can head to my personal blog and vote in a Pritzker Prize poll.)

Comments from UVA architecture dean ​Ila Berman echo the importance of this building:

Named among TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world and knighted by the Queen for his contributions to architecture, Sir David Adjaye is one of the most prominent and truly creative designers of his generation. As the lead architect for the award-winning Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture located on the Mall in Washington D.C., he has enabled architecture, through its strong symbolic and physical presence, to embody and give a voice to histories that have remained buried for many years since the founding of this nation. Monolithic and monumental, yet as ephemeral as a materialized shadow, this work is an astounding and sublime jewel – a long-awaited treasure for the nation as a whole.

Adjaye will receive his Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal on April 13th, the anniversary of Jefferson's birthday, when he will also give a public talk at UVA.

Recent recipients of the Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, which was created in 1966, include Rafael Moneo, Laurie Olin, Toyo Ito, Herman Hertzberger, and 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara of Grafton Architects.

National Museum of African American History and Culture (Photo: Brad Feinknopf)

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