Ground-breaking Design Born of Christian Architectural Principals
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The design of the National Cathedral carves an identity for architecture rooted in African culture, in Ghanaian heritage and is a ground-breaking architectural expression of African Christianity. The concept for the National Cathedral is born of Christian architectural principles. These principals frequently articulate proportion and orientation in multiples of twelve as a reference to the twelve apostles. The National Cathedral's draped roof form draws from the great symbols of the chieftaincy institution and culture, such as the opulent boaman ceremonial canopies and umbrellas, traditionally used to shade and protect royalty. The National Cathedral takes these symbols of royal and religious veneration ad democratizes them from the individual to the people.
The Cathedral's color palette and Adinkra-influenced gardens express a natural harmony and countenance to both Christian orthodoxy and Ghanaian cultural traditions. Three main colors are utilized throughout the scheme. Red, black and white reference the Holy Trinity whilst speaking of the Ghanaian nation - Red representing the blood, black the spirit and heart, and white symbolizing the power of the Ghanaian people. Red has also been adopted for the new state ceremonial route connecting the Cathedral with Independence Square.
Design: Architectural Expression of African Christianity
Sir David Adjaye OBE
Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities.
In 1994, he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000. The firm now has offices in London, New York and Accra with projects in the US, UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His largest project to date, the $540 million Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in fall of 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times.
Other prominent completed work include the Idea Stores in London (2005), which were credited with pioneering a new approach to library services, the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (2010), the Sugar Hill mixed-use social housing scheme in Harlem, New York (2015); and the Aishti Foundation retail and art complex in Beirut (2015).
Sir David Adjaye OBE
Prominent ongoing projects include a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, a new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar, and the just-announced National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London.
In 2017, Adjaye was recently knighted by Her Majesty the Queen for services to Architecture, following the previous award of an OBE in 2007. The same year, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME magazine. He has additionally received the Design Miami/ Artist of the Year title in 2011, the Wall Street Journal Innovator Award in 2013 and the 2016 Panerai London Design Medal from the London Design Festival.
National Museum of African American History, Washington