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David Adjaye: A House for an Art Collector Hardcover – March 22, 2011
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"A new book David Adjaye: A House for an Art Collector, published by Rizzoli, documents every room wall and basement nook of the Lindemann Dayanhouse revealing both garish taste and a formal inventiveness that hasn't been seen in a private New York residence since the days of Paul Rudolph." ~New York Magazine
“David Adjaye is the Michael Maltzan of British architecture, fusing the cerebral and the tactile, collaborating with artists and collectors, and creating buildings at both ends of the price spectrum. The National Museum of African Art in Washington DC will make him a household name when it’s completed, four years from now.” ~Form
“It is rare to have an entire book devoted to one single-family residence. However, this is a special case, a New York carriage house built in 1898 and expanded over a period of five years… the house is eccentric as hell.” ~Interior Design
“The 128-page House for an Art Collector opens with construction shots, elevation diagrams and blueprint-like plans: not your ordinary coffee table book. it gradually guides readers through the process of transforming the classic Upper East Side carriage house into an innovative home replete with ideal spaces to showcase a rotating art collection alongside room for an expanding family.” ~New York Observer
About the Author
David Adjaye is the principal of Adjaye Associates, London, New York, and Berlin. Adam Lindemann is the author of Collecting Contemporary. Robert Polidori is an award-winning photographer, and his work is the subject of twelve books.
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Architects are renown for wandering - especially certain ones having an affinity for design, form, or structural characteristics, married with art, not necessarily trendy styles! From my own early childhood, architectural design and engineering were second career choices - an enduring passion in spite of pursuing a very good career within aviation - similar to Adjaye, I am also well traveled, having visited 68 countries as well as being deeply inspired by cultural arts, with an indelible African expression within my soul.
David Ajaye was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He comes from a lineage of Ghanaian rural villagers, but his parents were the first to break that traditional mold. Adjaye declares that his childhood travelogue left a lasting impression: ".. always very aware of the atmosphere of places", recalling about the African continent: "There were these incredible new skylines as towers were being built out of the forest, and a metropolitan urbanism was emerging. I was smack in the middle of that."
His family arrived in London during 1979 when he became a teenager, and Adjaye soon discovered that his sophisticated upbringing clashed with the backwoods / territorial perceptions of his English schoolmates; for the first time he encountered racism. Kids would tell him to "Go back to Africa." And, while attending an international school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, his family were treated as working-class immigrants, despite the fact that his father was a diplomat. "There was a huge disconnect", Adjaye explained. "I wanted to fit in and couldn’t." A stint in art school eventually led him to architecture, which, connected him to the profound things he loved as a child - a memory of places. These are other personal experiences of Adjaye's which I can astutely identify and relate with.
"Architecture schools taught only from the canon of the West, and Africa was left out of the conversation - except for the pyramids" and "I thought the whole notion of my upbringing and where I came from was not relevant to this discourse. And I was very traumatized by that." In the year 2000, Adjaye found his way forward while traveling back to Africa. His designs appear inspired by both Africa and America, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as the porches of the Old South and tribal Yoruban art.
... A few years ago collector Adam Lindemann and his wife, Amalia Dayan, an art dealer, began thinking about a new home for themselves and their sizable collection of contemporary art. Lindemann, a private investor and a son of billionaire George Lindemann purchased a dilapidated carriage house in Manhattan (East 77th Street) leaving only the building’s land-marked facade in place. During their first meeting with David Ajaye, the architect told Lindemann and Dayan that he probably wouldn’t take the job... He wasn’t convinced Lindemann wanted to make a project that explored ideas about art and architecture, or if he just desired a stylish home designed by a trendy architect.
Adjaye didn’t want to become involved with "stylish" homes. He became convinced to take on the Lindemann-Dayan house as a result of the couple’s kinship to the artists who are among his closest friends. “Amalia mentioned all the right names,” he says, punctuating his conversation, as he often does with jovial laughter. He felt that Amalia empathized with his language. Adjaye avoids high-end materials while favoring simple and familiar ones such as; concrete, plaster and glass - believing that "material lack of refinement" packs a visceral punch.
Ajaye launched "Adjaye Associates" in 2000, and his rise resembles nothing short of sudden brilliance, especially in a profession known to award big-ticket commissions late within an established career. He also made a point to visit all 53 capitals on the African continent, intent on photographing its overlooked modernity and variety.
David Adjaye has now become "the model of the new architect."