The Bartlett School of Architecture


Professor Lesley Lokko Awarded 2020 RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education

7 January 2021

Congratulations to Lesley, who received the biennial award for her role as an educator, pioneer and advocate in architectural education around the world.

Lesley Lokko - photo by Debra Hurford-Brown

The prestigious prize was established in 2000, and is awarded by RIBA to individuals who “have made an outstanding contribution to architectural education in a higher education institution”. The estate of architect Herbert Spink bequeathed the Annie Spink Memorial Trust to RIBA in honour of his wife, for the “advancement of architectural education”.

Lesley is an architect and an academic advocate. She trained as an architect at The Bartlett during the 1990s. She completed her PhD at The Bartlett in 2007 and is now a Visiting Professor for the School. In 2014 she founded and led the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, and has also taught at Iowa State University, University of Illinois, Kingston University, University of Westminster, University of North London and most recently the Spitzer School of Architecture in New York. 

This year she will begin building the African Futures Institute in Accra, Ghana, which will be an independent postgraduate school of architecture. Growing up in Ghana and Scotland, the intersection of race, identity and architecture has been at the heart of Lesley’s practice; she has lectured and published widely and cultivated critical debate on the subject. She has also written ten bestselling novels.

I am deeply humbled by the jury's decision. This award is for everyone who came out in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, which put such difficult and challenging questions on the table for us all. It is also dedicated to the teachers and students at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, whose tenacity and inventiveness have charted a new path for architectural education. Together with the profound intellectual generosity I experienced as a student at the Bartlett School of Architecture in the 1990s, they remain crucial touchstones in my teaching practice, now and in whatever comes next.”

- Professor Lesley Lokko

Lesley's impressive career in architectural education has spanned decades, and she has established herself as an internationally renowned educator. Lesley has demonstrated impactful leadership, passion and an unwavering commitment to architectural education and research.

- RIBA President Alan Jones

More information

Image: Debra Hurford-Brown