RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture Winner 2024, Professor Lesley Lokko OBE Architect Honours, Ahmedabad Studio

RIBA 2024 Gold Medal for Architecture Winner – Professor Lesley Lokko OBE

5 May 2024

Lesley Lokko receives King’s Royal Gold Medal for Architecture

At a celebration at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) London headquarters, Professor Lesley Lokko OBE formally received the 2024 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.

Professor Lesley Lokko OBE RIBA 2024 Gold Medal for Architecture

Photo © Morley von Sternberg

Professor Lesley Lokko OBE RIBA 2024 Gold Medal for Architecture Winner

Presented by RIBA President, Muyiwa Oki, on behalf of His Majesty the King, the Medal recognises Lokko’s commitment to championing diverse approaches to architectural practice and education.

For over two decades, Lokko has devoted her career to amplifying under-represented voices and examining the complex relationship between architecture, identity and race.

Her work to “democratise architecture” was hailed by the RIBA Honours Committee as a “clarion call for equitable representation in policies, planning, and design that shape our spaces”.

Professor Lesley Lokko is the 45th recipient of the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, which has been awarded since 1848.

Acknowledging the achievement, RIBA President, Muyiwa Oki, said:
“Lesley Lokko is a true agent of change who has successfully shifted the dial and pioneered a more equitable approach to architectural education, dialogue and discourse. By acknowledging and encouraging diversity of thought and embracing a broad range of cultures and perspectives, she has shown us how architecture can reach its full potential. Through her work as an educator, author, and curator, she offers us hope for the future of architecture – a profession and practice that welcomes and delivers for people from all walks of life.”

On receiving the Medal, Lesley Lokko said:
“To be ‘seen’ across the full spectrum of the discipline, from its margins to its very centre, is a special and unique kind of recognition.”

The event at RIBA’s 66 Portland Place, London headquarters saw over 400 people gather to celebrate Professor Lesley Lokko’s achievement. Guests of honour included H.E Harriet Thompson British High Commissioner to the Republic of Ghana, and H.E. Madam Rita Tani Iddi, Deputy High Commissioner of the Ghana High Commission.

The 2024 RIBA Honours Committee citation can be found below.
Professor Lesley Lokko is an educator, author, and curator. A luminary architect and renaissance figure who has etched an indelible mark on the global stage. For over two decades Lokko has been rightly recognised for her groundbreaking contributions to architectural education, dialogue, and discourse from a Global South perspective – relentlessly pursuing inclusivity and equity in the field. Not only is Lokko the first African woman to receive this honour, but she also now takes her place among architecture’s defining figures.

One of her crowning achievements is the Architectural Futures Institute (AFI) nestled in Accra, Ghana – an architectural education centre, that reimagines Africa as a crucible of the future, where novel urban forms are collaboratively conceived. The AFI stands as a beacon, acknowledging the contributions of women from the African diaspora. It extends an invitation to embrace opportunities and exalts courageous and creative voices.

A guiding force for creativity, Lokko’s curatorial prowess shone brilliantly in her recent stewardship of the Venice Biennale 2023, a groundbreaking event that united African and Africa-related architectural expressions for the first time. It was a platform where emerging and established African architects and designers converged to create ‘The Laboratory of the Future’, a six-part exhibition igniting the discourse on decarbonisation and decolonisation. Under Lokko’s curatorship Nigerian artist, designer, architect and master builder, Demas Nwoko was the first Black person to be awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the International Venice Biennale.

Her pivotal role on the board of the pioneering New Architecture Writers program in London, dedicated to supporting “professionals of colour who are under-represented across design, journalism and curation”, underscores her commitment to diversity. Remarkably, Lokko’s seminal work White Papers Black Marks was published over two decades ago in 2000.

In 2020, she was awarded the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education for her impactful leadership, passion and an unwavering commitment to architectural education and research, in particular her lectures and published works focusing on the subjects of race, identity and architecture.

While Lokko’s impact extends beyond architecture, this honour acknowledges her prodigious contributions to the architectural domain. Her work champions diverse approaches to practice, and pushes the boundaries of what architecture is, and what it can achieve.

She ardently advocates for individuals from all walks of life to partake in the tapestry of architecture; and her interpretation of architecture as culture, an art form that fosters public dialogue centred on ideas and content rather than only function, democratises architecture, making it accessible to all.

Lokko’s work is a clarion call for equitable representation in policies, planning, and design that shape our living spaces. Her pedagogical footprint spans diverse cultural landscapes, from the United States and the United Kingdom to South Africa and Ghana.

This medal honours Lokko’s resounding voice. It is a testament to her unwavering commitment to advancing architectural education and redressing imbalances by amplifying the voices of underrepresented people in shaping our built environment.”

Photography © Morley von Sternberg

Professor Lesley Lokko OBE RIBA 2024 Gold Medal for Architecture Winner images / information received 050524

Location: UK

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RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture recent selection below

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2008: Ted Cullinan Architect

2007: Herzog and de Meuron Architects

2006: Toyo Ito

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