"What constitutes a monument and a memorial at the beginning of the 21st century?"
Celebrated architect David Adjaye, Hon. FAIA, poses that question to the public with his new exhibition, "Making Memory,” currently on display at the Design Museum in London. “The monument is no longer a representation, it is an experience of time and place that is available to everyone,” he says in a press release. "Whether it’s for a nation, a race, a community, or a person, it is really used as a device to talk about the many things facing people across the planet.”
The exhibition features seven of Adjaye's major works, three built and four unbuilt.
Space dedicated to the recently completed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., includes the Yoruban sculpture that inspired the building's design. A full-scale section of the Sclera pavilion originally built for the 2008 London Design Festival is also represented. The third built project is the Gwangju River Reading Room, completed in 2013 on the banks of the River Gwangju in South Korea. Adjaye, in collaboration with writer Taiye Selasi, designed it in response to that city's "10-day pro-democracy uprising in May 1980," according to the release, and the massacre of Chonnam National University students that followed the demonstration. The dedicated museum space in London will be a replica of the pavilion in South Korea and will act as a public reading room complete with selected texts from the original Gwangju River Reading Room, which were curated by Selasi for the exhibition.
The unbuilt projects featured include the National Cathedral of Ghana, which is under construction in the country's capital of Accra. The museum's design includes traditional Ashanti umbrellas that, according to the release, are meant to reflect the fact that the proposal's architectural influence comes from both contemporary Christian principles and traditional Akan culture. The three other unbuilt projects on display are the U.K. Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London designed in collaboration with memorial architect Ron Arad Architects and landscape architect Gustafson Porter + Bowman, the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory for the Isle of Portland in the English Channel, and the Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial for Boston.
"Making Memory" opened on Feb. 2 and will run through May 5.