Lesley Lokko Named Dean

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 December 2019.

“This is an incredible opportunity and such an honor. 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 practiced architecture for the past twenty-five years in schools across the U.K., the U.S. 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 U.S., Australia and across Africa. Her appointment at CCNY also includes the title of Professor.

“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 and that has since grown to more than 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 to 1995, 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, neighborhoods 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 UK-Guardian top forty best-seller, and has since then followed with eleven best-sellers, which have been translated into fifteen languages.


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