AA School Of Architecture Tutor Stephen Ajadi Wins The 2023 Vice Chancellor’s Award

In a significant achievement, Stephen Ajadi, Principal Partner of Ruban Office, a Nigerian architecture firm, and an esteemed tutor at the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture in the UK, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Vice Chancellor’s Award at the University of Cambridge.

The Architectural Association, founded in 1847, is the oldest independent school of architecture in the UK, known for its commitment to advancing the design of contemporary culture, cities, and the environment. The school emphasizes inclusivity, offering financial support to talented students, ensuring that one in five students receives assistance from scholarships, bursaries, or the AA Hardship Fund.

Stephen Ajadi’s recognition comes as a result of his groundbreaking research impact and engagement. The Vice Chancellor’s Award is the highest accolade for research impact at the University of Cambridge, highlighting the significance of Stephen’s contributions to the field. Additionally, he was bestowed with the 2023 Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) Prize for the most outstanding PhD thesis, emphasizing his commitment to research excellence.

Stephen’s research focused on the spatial impact of extreme conflict and violence on open spaces in Nigeria and the Sahel region, with a specific emphasis on the vulnerability of informal open markets. The study, which included the largest ethnographic study ever conducted in a volatile African city, involved over 7000 physical interviews.

Stephen Ajadi Portrait

Over the past 4 years, I have led the largest set of ethnographic studies ever in one of the most unstable cities in Africa, physically interviewing nearly 7000 people in all its neighbourhoods, and two large open markets in another city of similar risk. This is in addition to various other large-scale data generated. With boundaries of knowledge pushed in conflict theory, methodology and policy, my study shows …..

The findings of Stephen’s research have unearthed critical spatial and policy gaps, providing practical strategies for engagement. The implementation of these strategies has already commenced on a small scale in Nigeria, with recommendations for broader impact.

The acknowledgment of Stephen Ajadi’s work not only reinforces his dedication to advancing architectural research but also reflects the commitment of the AA School in nurturing innovative ideas that challenge and shape the future of architecture. As Stephen continues to make strides in his field, the recognition from the University of Cambridge serves as a testament to the impactful and far-reaching contributions emerging from the Architectural Association.

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