Born in Scotland and raised in Ghana, Lessley Lokko’s multifaceted career encompasses architecture, literature, and academia – bridging cultures and disciplines through her work she explores and commits to diversity and social justice. Throughout her career, she’s dedicated her work to identity, race, and cultural diversity themes deeply influenced by her multicultural background and experiences  – paying homage to her homeland’s heritage. 

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Lessley Looko_© Janik M., Harvard University, 2022

Ghana’s rich cultural tapestry became a playground for Lokko to draw inspiration from. Immersed in the world of vivid colors and patterns traditional to West Africa she used them as seeds of inspiration for her architectural design and writing – shaping her narratives and aesthetic sensibilities to curate her approach to design and story-telling. After completing her secondary education in Ghana, Lokko moved to the United Kingdom where her passion for architecture grew. Studying at the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture in London, she perfected her skillset and developed a keen interest in exploring the social dimensions in the world of Architecture. Lokko continued her academic journey by earning a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of London where she dug deep into theories and research topics that examined the intersection of architecture, identity, and urbanism. This academic foundation acted as the root of her professional practice and literary works, positioning her as a radical out-of-the-box thinker in terms of design and literature today.

Architectural Practise

Innovative with her approach to design, Lessley Lokka makes it a priority to include sustainability, community engagement as well as inclusivity in her design works. With projects spanning a wide range of scales and typologies – consisting of urban neighborhoods to large-scale master plans for cities, over the years her work has positioned her as a thought leader in the field of architecture and cultural studies. One of Lokko’s notable projects includes the African Cities Reader, which was an initiative to reimagine the African urban landscapes through a lens of literature, art, and design, It was made possible with the collaborative thinking and efforts of multiple artists, writers, and urban planners allowing Lokko to challenge the traditional narratives that surround African cities and precipitate alternative visions that embrace the diversity and dynamism that remains prevalent in their culture today.

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Architectural Works  Lokko House _© Lessley Lokko

In her Architectural practice, Lokko gives the utmost importance to contextually responsive design solutions to address the specific needs and regional aspirations that these communities may have. Architecture should be participatory, with Lokko’s approach residents of local communities are not only heard but are actively involved in the design process, thus, respecting their cultural heritage. With a belief that design has the potential to transform communities, she uses it as her tool to address pressing societal issues such as inequality, poverty, and environmental degradation. 

Literary Endeavors

Lessley Loko enriches the world with her knowledge in multi-faceted ways. In addition to her architectural practice, Looko is also an accomplished author having several novels to her name. Her ethnic background and experiences serve as inspiration for her literary works, which frequently examine issues of identity, migration, and belonging.

Characters in Lokko’s novels, such as “Sundowners” and “Saffron Skies,” traverse intricate social dynamics and historical legacies against the backdrop of many cultural settings. Employing her narrative, Lokko illuminates the obstacles and possibilities present in mixed communities, providing diverse viewpoints on matters of race, class, and identity.

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Lessley Lokko _© The Architect’s Journal, Fultcher M., 2023

Ideology & Philosophy

Lokko works to harness the power of creativity as a force for social good through her architecture profession and literary activities. She advocates for narratives and designs that prioritize the needs and ambitions of all people, regardless of their circumstances or background.

The idea of “hybridity,” which embraces the blending of cultures, ideas, and identities, is fundamental to Lokko’s strategy. She views diversity as an inherent source of creativity and strength, and she incorporates this perspective into her literary and architectural works to capture the rich complexity of the human condition. The great importance of accepting all viewpoints and opinions, promoting inclusion and understanding in a world growing more interconnected by the day, as demonstrated by Lokko’s efforts.

Furthermore, Lokko promotes solutions that are sensitive to the distinct cultural, social, and environmental settings of each community. This is done by supporting an inclusive approach to architecture and urban planning. She rejects homogenized design methods and works to tell tales and build environments that are true to their surroundings while respecting the unique histories and identities of various locations. Lesley Lokko’s worldview, on its whole, emphasizes how storytelling and design have the power to influence society and make it more compassionate, just, and equal.

In conclusion, Lesley Lokko’s forward-thinking ideology emphasizes the capacity of literature and architecture to act as catalysts for constructive societal change. Through her unrelenting dedication to social justice, ethnic diversity, and inclusivity, Lokko disrupts social norms and encourages a rethinking of the narrative landscape and constructed environment. Through his endorsement of contextually responsive design solutions and his embracement of the “hybridity” idea, Lokko is a proponent of a more just and humane approach to urban development and storytelling. Her creations remind us that creativity has the ability to unite people, elevate voices, and create a more inclusive and peaceful society. Her work is a beacon of hope.


Fulcher, M. (2023) Lesley Lokko: ‘Venice Biennale to spotlight Africa for the first time’, The Architects’ Journal. Available at: (Accessed: 12 February 2024).

Janik, M. (2022) Nexus Podcast: Lesley Lokko on the Relationship between Fiction Writing and Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design. Available at: (Accessed: 12 February 2024).

AFI: Founder and Director: Lesley Lokko (no date) African Futures Institute. Available at: (Accessed: 12 February 2024).



As an innovative Multi-Disciplinary Artist, Creative Director, and Architect, Mehr excels in intertwining diverse artistic forms—poetry, painting, music production, and design. Her work, deeply rooted in sustainable principles, showcases a unique blend of creativity and nature, crafting narratives that resonate with the essence of spaces and the broader artistic spectrum.