Internationally renowned architect Sir David Adjaye will receive the International Humanities Prize on Monday, October 29, 2018, in recognition of his distinctly humanistic approach to designing major public spaces such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Sir David Adjaye to Receive Washington University International Humanities Prize
In fall 2018, the Center for the Humanities will award the 2018 Washington University International Humanities Prize and Medal to internationally renowned architect Sir David Adjaye. Recipients receive a $25,000 prize thanks to an endowment from David and Phyllis Wilson Grossman. Sir Adjaye will spend time with the Washington University community and give a public lecture.
Selected by a subcommittee of the humanities center’s executive committee and members of the St. Louis community, David Adjaye is a leading architect of his generation, known especially for his work on major public spaces in North America, Europe and Africa. When the Adjaye-designed National Museum of African American History and Culture opened last September, the New York Times named it the cultural event of the year. Thirteen months later, his project team won the commission for the UK’s National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Center. It’s projects like these that were recognized with knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in January 2017 for service to the field of architecture and that earned him a spot on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people that same year.
But it’s Adjaye’s humanistic approach to design that has set him above and apart from his contemporaries. As Thelma Golden, the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, another Adjaye design, notes in her essay on his work for Time: “His work – deeply rooted in both the present moment and the complex context of history – has envisioned new ways for culture to be represented and reflected in the built environment.”
The International Humanities Prize and Medal are awarded biennially to a person who has contributed significantly to the humanities either through a supremely well-crafted work or an entire body of work that has dramatically changed how we see or understand a particular place, event, person, idea or field of expression, or through courageously persevering in a humanities pursuit in an atmosphere of persecution. Past winners are Orhan Pamuk (2006), Michael Pollan (2008), Francine Prose (2010), Ken Burns (2012), Marjorie Perloff (2014) and Bill T. Jones (2016).
The ceremony will take place Monday, October 29, 2018. The humanities center will share more details about the event as additional plans unfold.