ArtsUNC Charlotte

Charlotte SOA Lecture: Mae-ling Lokko April 3

April 3, 2024 – 2:00 PM

UNC Charlotte Boardman Auditorium/Storrs 110

Mae-ling Lokko is not just reshaping the landscape of architecture with her innovative use of agrowaste and renewable biobased materials; she is rewriting the narrative of ecological design through a lens of generative justice. A native of Ghana and the Philippines, Lokko’s interdisciplinary work stands at the confluence of architecture, science, and activism, challenging conventional practices of extraction and consumption.

In her pursuit to redefine the materials that compose our built environment, Lokko’s work meticulously deconstructs historical narratives of architectural material use, advocating for a future where production is distributed and participatory. Her designs are not merely structures; they are statements in the ongoing dialogue about sustainability, equity, and community empowerment.

Educated with a Ph.D. and Master of Science in Architectural Science from the Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), along with a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, Lokko has honed her expertise in ecological design and material lifecycle integration. Her academic career has seen her influence the minds of future architects at prestigious institutions such as Cooper Union and RPI, where she contributed significantly as the Director of the Building Sciences Program and an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and CASE.

Beyond academia, Lokko is the driving force behind Willow Technologies, Ltd., a venture based in Accra, Ghana, that transforms agrowaste into biobased materials for building and water quality treatment. This work not only represents a leap forward in material science but also in the democratization of building practices, making sustainable materials accessible and affordable.

Lokko’s contributions to architecture and sustainability have not gone unnoticed. Her work has been recognized with nominations for the Visible Award and the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, and she was a finalist for the Hublot Design Prize. Currently, her research enjoys the backing of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the SOM Foundation Research Prize, among support from other prestigious organizations.

As Mae-ling Lokko continues to push the boundaries of architectural science and design, her work remains firmly rooted in the principles of justice and community collaboration. Her vision for a sustainable future is not just about creating eco-friendly materials but about reshaping the very foundations of how we think about building our world.

MORE >>>