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One of the world’s highest honours in architecture goes to architect, educator, author and curator Lesley Lokko.

Professor Lesley Lokko, Royal Gold Medallist 2024. Credit: Murdo Macleod

Professor Lesley Lokko, acclaimed Ghanaian-Scottish architect, educator, author and curator, will receive this year’s Royal Gold Medal 2024, one of the world’s highest honours for architecture. Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work and presented on behalf of His Majesty the King, the Royal Gold Medal is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence on the advancement of architecture. 

As the 2024 recipient, Lesley Lokko is being recognised for her commitment to championing diverse approaches to architectural practice and education. For over two decades, Professor Lokko has devoted her career to amplifying under-represented voices and examining the complex relationship between architecture, identity and race, profoundly impacting architectural education, dialogue and discourse.

In 2021, Lesley 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. Prior to establishing the AFI, Lokko taught around the world and reframed architecture courses to democratise, decolonise and progress architectural education. Notable roles include Founder and Director of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg and Dean of The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York. In 2023, she was awarded an OBE for services to architecture and education and was appointed curator of the 18th International Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Lesley Lokko: “It came as such a surprise to me. This was never on the cards. 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.”

RIBA President, Muyiwa Oki: “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 endeavors, 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.”

The Royal Gold Medal 2024 will be formally presented to Lesley Lokko in London on 2 May 2024.

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