When David Adjaye set out to document African architecture in metropolitan cities across the continent, he did so informally. He’d hop on a plane, show up — often for the first time — in a city like Nouakchott or Accra or Harare, jump in a cab and ask the driver to show him around. It’s from solo trips like this, 54 in total, with 54 taxi drivers’ wisdom, that the British-Ghanaian architect constructed his latest exhibit: Urban Africa, currently showing in San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora.
What you’ll find at the small but intriguing exhibit are Adjaye’s photographs — shots of buildings big and small, fancy and simple from the Cape to Cairo and everywhere in between. They’re curated from his 397-page photo essay book Adjaye, Africa, Architecture, a lustworthy coffee table book in its own right that chronicles his insights from a decade of travel across Africa.