Lesley Lokko + Sumayya Vally, Counterparts: This Fragile Condition - Architecture, Autonomy and Allegiance

Lesley Lokko and Sumayya Vally present the 2021 Eleanore Pettersen Remote Lecture.

March 30, 2021

Recorded on March 30, 2021.

Presented by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union and The Architectural League of New York.

In this video, Lesley Lokko and Sumayya Vally present Counterparts, a dialogue that has been developing between the two architects and educators for the last six years. Over the course of the discussion, Lokko and Vally touch upon race, gender, identity, difference, and diaspora and their vexed relationship to architectural canon.

Lesley Lokko trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture, where she also earned a PhD. She was the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg from 2014-2019. She recently resigned from her position as dean of architecture at the Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY, and is now building the African Futures Institute, an independent postgraduate school of architecture and event space in Accra, Ghana. She is currently a visiting professor at The Cooper Union and the Jaquelin T. Robertson Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia.

Sumayya Vally is the founder and principal of Counterspace. Her design, research, and pedagogical practice is committed to searching for expression for hybrid identity and contested territory.  Vally is currently the unit leader of Unit 12: An African Almanac, which she co-taught with Lokko for three years at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. She is also a visiting critic with Lokko at the University of Virginia.

The lecture was introduced and moderated by Nader Tehrani, Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union.

The Eleanore Pettersen Lecture, established through a generous gift to The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, is dedicated to the voices of women in architecture as a lasting tribute to Ms. Pettersen’s significant impact in the world of architecture and her love of The Cooper Union.


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