Lesley Lokko to receive top architecture award presented on behalf of the King

Lesley Lokko to receive top architecture award presented on behalf of the King
Lesley Lokko to receive top architecture award presented on behalf of the King (Debra Hurtford-Brown, PA)

Lesley Lokko will receive the 2024 Royal Gold Medal, one of the world’s highest honours for architecture, the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) has announced.

The medal, approved by King Charles, recognises Lokko’s commitment to “championing diverse approaches to architectural practice and education” and will be formally presented in London on May 2.

Her work to “democratise architecture” over two decades has been hailed by the Riba Honours Committee as a “clarion call for equitable representation in policies, planning, and design that shape our spaces”.

Lesley LokkoLesley Lokko said the award came ‘as such a surprise to me’ (Murdo Macleod, PA)

“It came as such a surprise to me, this was never on the cards,” Ghanaian-Scottish architect, educator, author and curator Lokko said.

“I’m delighted to be considered alongside some of the great past winners of the Royal Gold Medal.

“Although this is a personal award, this isn’t merely a personal triumph, this is a testament to the people and organisations I have worked with that share my goals.

“I came into architecture seeking certainties, looking for answers.

“Instead, I found questions and possibilities, far richer, more curious, and more empathetic ways to interpret and shape the world.

“Architecture gave me language, in all its forms — visual, written, built, performed — and that language, in turn, has given me such hope.”

Lesley LokkoLesley Lokko founded the African Futures Institute (AFI) in 2021 (Debra Hurford-Brown, PA)

In 2021, Lokko founded the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana, aiming to be a new model of education, research and public dialogue that unites the arts, humanities and sciences.

Riba President, Muyiwa Oki said: “A fierce champion of equity and inclusion in all aspects of life, Lesley Lokko’s progressive approach to architecture education offers hope for the future – a profession that welcomes those from all walks of life, considers the needs of our environment, and acknowledges a broad range of cultures and perspectives.

“A visionary agent of change, Lesley has dedicated her life to championing these values, not only through academic endeavours, but through her work as an author and curator.

“She remains a humble revolutionary force, with her ambition and optimism etching an indelible mark on the global architectural stage.”

Last year, Lokko was awarded an OBE for services to architecture and education.

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