Architect, teacher and writer, Lesley Lokko investigates the boundaries between identity, gender, cultures and spaces. In search of the languages of the future (not just architecture)

The curator of the Architecture Biennale 2023, Lesley Lokko, was born in Scotland, raised in Africa, educated in the United States and England ( where he holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of London and a BSc Arch and MArch from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL-University College London) and has taught architecture in the UK, USA, Europe, Australia and now mainly in Africa .

Lesley Lokko: a curriculum like a journey between the old and the new

Specific place from which to look at the rest of the world to understand everything else - as you explained on the occasion of your appointment as curator of the 2023 Biennale - Africa is a continent that really has a lot to give to architecture as well </ strong>.

Here the average age is under twenty, against 40 in Europe, the variety and complexity that distinguish it make it a continent with undoubted potential for architecture. Thanks to her commitment to education, Lokko has come into contact with the imagination of the latest diverse generation of young Africans, who are not only black, but also Indians and whites.

Her curriculum is an intercultural journey between the old and new continent, which sees her simultaneously engaged in the activity of writer (from 2004 to today she has published 11 novels set between Africa, America and Europe), an opportunity to tell about gender, identity, integration, as well as love.

«My female characters are all strong because I don't know any other way to be a woman» says the author.

Decarbonization and decolonization of architecture

As a researcher in the field of architecture, Lokko focuses on the concepts of decarbonization and decolonization of architecture, as an opportunity to bridge a gap by working around the idea of adding and not subtracting.

And to achieve these objectives it is necessary to evolve the language of architecture, enriching it until it is truly universal. In an effort of openness and innovation she passes through the places of training in which she is personally immersed.

The theme of the 2023 Architecture Biennale

For the Architecture Biennale 2023, Lesley Lokko has chosen the theme The Laboratory of the Future.

The 2023 Architecture Biennale starts from Africa but it will not be about Africa: instead it will investigate the possibilities of creating a collective and relevant tomorrow by treasuring the experiences of that continent. Who has always, even out of necessity, confronted the burning issues of the contemporary world, tackling them concretely.

See also: The theme of the 2023 Architecture Biennale, explained

Cover photo: Lesley Lokko, Photo Jacopo Salvi. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia