• UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

"We understand this in artists, that when an artist moves to a different context they think differently, or as they engage with different things they explore differently but in architecture we do not have this." Sir David Adjaye

Photography By Hugh Fraser

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

David Adjaye explored a returning to the renaissance in African architecture yesterday at the University of Johannesburg Graduate School of Architecture in an engaging heart to heart with Lesley Lokko where he implored upon the need to radically explore architecture from always the new rather than projecting upon them before the actual solution, deeper meaning or discussion of the situation is found.

.UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

The event, moderated by Professor Lesley Lokko from University of Johannesburg Graduate School of Architecture delved into a more personal life and approach of Adjaye.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

The event organized in conjunction with Boogertman + Partners and University of Johannesburg Graduate School of Architecture explored the architect's work through a lens of integrated approach that focused on earlier days and current commissions, life, trials and the coming of age of one of Time's top 100 most influential people of 2017.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

Extracts from the Talk:
"Architecture is a continuous thing that is moving, and it is profoundly important to gain from the sensation and the intellectual investigation of architecture that is continually being re authored. This idea of continuity, and not being schizophrenic, that is becoming something that I am not and rather completely the person that is working through it.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

We understand this in artists, that when an artist moves to a different context they think differently, or as they engage with different things they explore differently but in architecture we do not have this, and I just find this particularly bizarre. The maturity shouldn't be that I need to repeat. 

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

My highs and lows have been varied. From trying to talk to a school teacher and getting the response that your family does not come from the background of the arts and so you shouldn't do it. Maybe you should go to the sports or something like that. That moment has still not left me and i still go back to that. This carries right through to my second low.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

We are trained as architects to be really good at this version of building but we are not trained as businessmen and the problem is we have to act as businessmen in a world where we are not conditioned to because we have bank managers, accountants and clients who support this. And learning how to run a business is something architects have to do publicly, rise or fall and I nearly went bankrupt.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

"This was profoundly the most depressing moment of my life because i wanted to make my father proud and i had chosen an art from where he could not help me, and there was not understanding of this as he was a politician. so it sort of felt like he was letting me go try it out, without chastising me and i never wanted to let him down. We won a dozen competitions but did not realize the concept of repeating work.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

The recession and diminishing patrons just left me in a free-fall that I do not recommend on anyone going through. Luckily with tenacity, I simply retooled myself and forced myself to become an architect of the world, picking up bags and entering competitions in Denver, New York, Middle East and wherever i needed to go...and this is that economies are fragile and you need to be local and also in the world. 

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

Essentially, the double, triple consciousness of Africans from slavery, into forced immigration and the history of Africa has forced Africans to develop a double consciousness to deal with the conditions that we are in and have had to be metropolitan right from the 15th Century. And most prejudices are based on lack of knowledge and lack of reality and that kind of engagement lets and forces you to let go of your prejudices and this makes you insert and remove yourself anywhere in the world.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: David Adjaye on Unlearning Everything and Redoing it Again

©Hugh Fraser

"Ultimately, the continent of Africa needs visibility, its been a continent that has been too invisible for too long. It has incredible creativity, it has incredible opportunities. It is not about the technology. Architecture is about the mind, and not the tools you are using. Yes we need the tools but ultimately the best architecture comes from the mind."

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