Architects Marina Tabassum and Lesley Lokko, the world’s "100 Most Influential People of 2024"

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Marina Tabassum

Marina Tabassum, was born, lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is Founder and Principal Architect of Marina Tabassum Architects MTA in Dhaka and is a pioneer of what she describes as ‘the architecture of relevance’.

Her practice focuses on designing buildings in tune with their natural environments (in particular, working with local materials and communities) while also embracing the design challenges of sustainability, environment, and our collective impact on the planet. She is currently working in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, in south-east Bangladesh, and designing mobile modular houses for ultra-low-income people in the country’s coastal areas.

Her notable buildings include the minimal, sun-dappled Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, opened in 2012, the Independence Monument of Bangladesh and the Museum of Independence. She was winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016. In 2018, she took part in Freespace, the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale for Architecture, where she explored the Bengali courtyard.

She is Visiting Professor at the BRAC University in Dhaka. She runs undergraduate studios at the University of Asia Pacific, and has given lectures and presentations at a number of other educational institutions and conferences having been the Director of Academic Program at Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements since 2015.

Lesley Lokko

Lesley Lokko. Born in Dundee, United Kingdom, in 1964, is a Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, and novelist. Trained at the Bartlett School of Architecture and with a PhD in Architecture from the University of London where Lokko’s knowledge base and capability as an educator was built, her academic career was initially honed at Kingston University, University of East London, London Metropolitan University, University of Greenwich, the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) and later at the University of Westminster. These experiences were followed by a number of visiting professorships in North-American and African higher education institutions.

Throughout her career thus far, Lokko has established a durable and international legacy in terms of her voice and the courses to which she has contributed, most notably between 2014 and 2019, as the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture of the University of Johannesburg, a school which – in its independence and ambition – has been transforming not just the content but the narrative of architectural education in South Africa and the continental region.

She has pioneered for, and cultivated, critical debate about identity in architecture. The innovation and passion in her teaching is matched by an unfaltering commitment to ensuring that architectural education and research run in parallel with the contemporary anthropological, artistic, technological and literary public debates. In tandem with this approach, she questions, defines and enhances the role the architect plays in shaping contemporary global and local communities. This professional stance not only makes her a most deserving winner of this award but also confirms that we are to expect many forms of achievement and of well-deserved recognition in her future career steps.



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