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LIVING SPACES

IT’S NO LONGER just a boom but a fact of life: The global explosion in museums has become a cornerstone of urban and economic development everywhere, with the so-called Bilbao effect changing the ways in which cities grow and culture is created and experienced. At the same time, art and architecture have become increasingly close—with the most ambitious new efforts in each field often shaping one another. Museum architecture is on the front lines of these shifts, and everyone has a stake: artists and architects, curators and collectors, scholars and critics, politicians and the public. Here, Artforum inaugurates a series of critical conversations on the topic with the world’s leading architects—beginning with DAVID ADJAYE, whom senior editor Julian Rose interviews about his pioneering designs for exhibition spaces, in cities from London to New York to Beirut, and their far-reaching social consequences.

Adjaye Associates, National Museum of African American History and Culture, 2016, Washington, DC. Photo: Alan Karchmer.

JULIAN ROSE: More than any other architect working today, you have your roots in the art world. Many cutting-edge architects have defined themselves by using art as a model, but in your case, the connection seems more social and intellectual than aesthetic. Le Corbusier borrowed ideas about composition from Picasso, Zaha Hadid was famously inspired by the geometric language of Constructivism, and Herzog & de Meuron have cited early encounters with Donald Judd’s work as formative for their own minimalist style—but you went to school with artists; you were part of the same scene in 1990s London. How did those early contacts influence your conception of architecture?

DAVID ADJAYE: The thinking I encountered in the art world became the bedrock of my practice, because it actually helped me take a position about why I wanted to work in the built environment. I was not interested in

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