“Champion of Fairness and Inclusion” Lesley Lokko Receives the 2024 RIBA Royal Gold Medal
Ghanaian-Scottish architect, educational, and curator Lesley Lokko has been introduced because the recipient of the 2024 Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), changing into the primary African lady to obtain the award. Lokko shouldn’t be a practising architect, however as a trainer, author, and curator she has fought to widen entry to the occupation and to convey ahead voices which have been disregarded for a lot too lengthy. Because the curator of the 2023 Venice Structure Biennale, she has shifted the main focus to Africa and its diaspora, exploring the complicated themes of decolonization and decarbonization. For all her contributions to the occupation, Lesley Lokko might be formally introduced with the medal in Might 2024 by Muyiwa Oki, RIBA’s first black president.
Born in Dundee, Lokko’s roots are a mix of Ghanaian and Scottish Jewish heritage. Raised in Accra, she initially pursued Hebrew and Arabic research at Oxford, earlier than shifting to the US, to dedicate 5 years to sociology, legislation, and in the end structure. She graduated from the Bartlett Faculty of Structure in 1992 earlier than shifting again to Ghana in 2000. Past her architectural pursuits, Lokko delved into literature whereas additionally pursuing a practice-based PhD, marked by developing her mud-brick home, a testomony to her multidisciplinary journey and dedication to each creativity and academia.
Lokko’s profession has been widely known for invaluable contributions to architectural training, dialogue, and discourse, bringing a International South perspective within the attempt to mannequin inclusivity and fairness within the discipline. Her educational profession continued as she turned an affiliate professor on the College of Johannesburg in 2014, founding the primary postgraduate structure college in Africa there the next yr. She additionally based the Architectural Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana, in 2021 to develop into a “pan-African suppose tank.” Initially conceived as an accredited structure college, Lokko modified course recognizing the necessity for a brand new mannequin of training. This yr it would launch a nomadic studio in Morocco, centered on Maghrebi id and migration.
“Cultural Identification is Central to Structure”: In Dialog with Lesley Lokko
As the primary architect of African descent to curate the Venice Structure Biennale, she challenged the worldwide occasion to develop into a platform for rising and established African architects and designers. Beneath the theme “The Laboratory of the Future,” a six-part exhibition centered on highlighting the discourse of beforehand unheard voices. Beneath her curatorship, Nigerian artist, designer, architect, and grasp builder, Demas Nwoko turned the primary Black individual to be awarded the distinguished Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement on the Worldwide Venice Biennale.
A fierce champion of fairness and inclusion in all points of life. Her progressive strategy to structure training gives hope for the longer term – a occupation that welcomes these from all walks of life, considers the wants of the environment, and acknowledges a broad vary of cultures and views. […] She stays a humble revolutionary drive, together with her ambition and optimism etching an indelible mark on the worldwide architectural stage. – Muyiwa Oki, RIBA President
This marks the second yr when the RIBA Gold Medal doesn’t go to a conventional practising architect, in favor of innovators who discover new methods of addressing a few of the most urgent challenges of our instances. Final yr, the distinguished award acknowledged Yasmeen Lari, probably the most highly effective voices in Pakistan and worldwide by means of the affect of her humanitarian work. Earlier than this, Balkrishna Doshi earned the dignity in 2022 for his visionary city planning and social housing tasks, seamlessly mixing modernism with Indian vernacular. In 2021, Sir David Adjaye acquired the award for his groundbreaking and worldwide interventions.