Episode Nineteen – Rashid Ali

Our guest this week is the architect Rashid Ali.  Rashid grew up in Hargeisa in Northern Somalia and then in Manchester in Northern England. He went on to study architecture at Greenwich University and Bartlett School of Architecture, as well as City Design at the LSE. He subsequently worked for Karakusevic Carson Architects – and then at Adjaye Associates – the practice which had been recently founded by David Adjaye – where he worked on a number of high profile projects including the Stirling Prize nominated Idea Store Library in London and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Denver.

After five years at Adjaye Associates he left to pursue a number of other projects including teaching, research, architecture and urbanism – all encompassed by his practice, RA Projects.

Rashid Ali (c) Hanan Bihi

The practice – now know as Rashid Ali Archiects – works on a range of scales and typologies, from one-off houses to cultural centres and exhibition design – and also research work in London, Somalia and across Africa.

Rashid was shortlisted for the Young Architect of the Year Award in 2008 and again 2011.  In this week’s episode we discuss the practice’s work on Fin House in London for fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic; we talk about the difficulties and benefits of balancing teaching with practice,  as well as the practice’s increasing range of work back in Hergesia in Somalia and across Africa.

I first met Rashid when his practice, then known as RA Projects, took a place in the RIBA Incubator for emerging practices which I had just launched.

For today’s episode I started by asking Rashid what’s in a name – and how RA Projects became Rashid Ali Architects.