Welcome to our new podcast series, Inside the Creative Mind, featuring in-depth interviews with leading cultural figures, recorded at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos 2014.

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In the fourth and final episode, Marc Spiegler of Art Basel interviews award-winning architect David Adjaye, whose projects include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, the Skolkovo School of Management in Moscow (pictured below) and the soon-to-open Smithsonian National Museum of African History and Culture in Washington, DC.


Adjaye talks about visiting every capital in Africa, the power of architecture to build new traditions, and the moral responsibility of architects today.

“I realized that geography was playing a much more fundamental role in the way these cities were being formed than the citizens themselves realized. It was that overview that made me start to understand and bring geography much more to the centre of my practice. Geography for me was… realizing that the ecology of each place really profoundly and psychologically and subconsciously affects even generic building systems.

“I am ultimately interested in happiness in the built environment. I want people to be happy in the buildings and to have a sense of wonder.

“We should think of libraries as lifelong learning centres … the idea of having a multi-generational public realm is profoundly important … so libraries are no longer these static tombs, they are actually devices that have maybe a 20-year shelf life and have to move again as the economics of urban environments change.

“The extraordinary thing about architecture is that we have to work with not only the citizenship that is there but also an imagined citizenship in the future, and speak to a past .. that has already come. We are in a sort of future-past-present construction.”

 Other podcasts in the Creative Mind series

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Images: Portrait of David Adjaye and the Skolkovo School of Management in Moscow, both copyright Ed Reeve.