Lesley Lokko, a UK-trained, Scottish-Ghanaian architect, academic and best-selling novelist, is named the Dean of the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York. Lokko’s appointment is effective in December 2019.
“This is an incredible opportunity and such an honour. It’s an exciting and challenging time to be joining the school’s conversations around architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture,” said Lokko.
“CCNY’s diverse staff and student communities, its location in one of the world’s greatest urban environments and its commitment to architecture as a tool for social change place it firmly at the center of global conversations about the role, scope and responsibilities of architects worldwide.”
Lokko has taught and practised architecture for the past 25 years in schools across the UK, US and South Africa. She is best known for her work on the relationship among race, cultural identity and the speculative nature of African architectural space, and she has lectured widely in Europe, the US, Australia and across Africa.
“Lesley Lokko brings a global perspective on architecture to a school with a scholarly and creative tradition that grounds New York’s international influences in local community dynamics,” said City College President Vince Boudreau.
“The Spitzer School’s distinctive perspective on urbanism, combining as it does classic approaches to architecture with a deep concern for the lived experience of the whole people, makes it the perfect home for someone with Dean Lokko’s abiding civic commitments.”
She is currently the director of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, a school she set up in 2015 with 11 postgraduate students, which has grown in the past four years to over 100 students making it Africa’s largest dedicated postgraduate school of architecture.
Lokko trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture from 1989–95 and earned her doctorate in architecture from the University of London in 2007, and for the past decade, has successfully juggled two careers as a full-time novelist and academic.
“Dr. Lokko’s broad global experience and fresh perspectives will be a major asset to the school and the college, further moving the Spitzer School toward its mission of preparing students to conceptualize and design sustainable, equitable and beautiful buildings, neighbourhoods and cities,” said Gordon Gebert, interim dean of the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture.
“I, along with the entire faculty, staff and student-body, am looking forward with great anticipation to Dr. Lokko’s arrival at City College. She is exactly the leader we need to bring renewed energy and define an exciting new vision for the Spitzer School as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding.”
Lokko is the editor of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000); editor-in-chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture and is on the editorial board of ARQ (Cambridge University Press).
She is a regular juror at international competitions and symposia, and is a long-term contributor to BBC World. In 2004, she made the successful transition from academic to novelist with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion, 2004), a Guardian top 40 best-seller, and has since then followed with 11 best-sellers, which have been translated into 15 languages.
About The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture is deeply committed to creating a just, sustainable, and imaginative future for a rapidly urbanizing planet. Through innovative research and interdisciplinary collaboration, the degree programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, and Sustainability in the Urban Environment seek to educate a diverse student body to become engaged professionals, both reflecting and enriching the complex communities of local and global environments. The School acts in the spirit of the City College of New York’s historic Ephebic Oath: “To transmit the city, not only not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its role at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by The Chronicle of Higher Education out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for world University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.2% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.