Leslie Lok

Leslie Lok is an assistant professor at Cornell University in the Department of Architecture and directs the Rural-Urban Building Innovation Lab. Working with non-standardized and natural materials, her research and teaching explore the intersection of technology, novel material methods, and urbanization. By studying regional behaviors from spatial transformation to material resources, her work contextualizes design strategies with computational protocols and mixed reality (MR) technologies to develop novel forms of making and adaptable housing designs in rural-urban contexts.

Lok is also a cofounder at HANNAH, an experimental design practice working across scales. HANNAH's work utilizes innovative forms of construction, from 3D printing to robotic fabrication to advance building practices. The work aims to mine the tension between machine means and architectural ends.

HANNAH is the recipient of the 2020 Architectural League Prize, named Best New Practices 2021 by ArchDaily, and named Next Progressives by Architect Magazine in 2018. Lok also currently serves on ACADIA's board of directors. Her work has been published internationally by FABRICATE, Rob|Arch, and ACADIA, as well as featured in Architectural Record, Architect Magazine, The New York Times, Dwell, and others. Her contributions were exhibited at the Total Museum of Contemporary Art in South Korea, the 2020 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, the 2022 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Shenzhen, Art OMI, and The Momentary. Lok received her Master of Architecture at MIT.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Architectural design
  • Architectural practice¬†
  • Architectural technology
  • Cities
  • Housing
  • Material practice
  • Sustainability
  • Urbanism
  • Visual representation

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Classes (Selected)

  • ARCH 4101/5101/7912 Option Studio: The Sectional City — Urban Housing Fabric for Chongqing
  • ARCH 4101/5101/7912 Option Studio: Fabric Urbanism — Strategies for Urban Mat-housing and Fabrication
  • ARCH 6408/6509 Spatial Tensions — Mapping Global Spatio-politics Through China
  • ARCH 2101 Design III Material SenseStudents develop an understanding of context and precedent in the construction of architectural form, and are introduced to contextual and programmatic densities in addition to circulatory, spatial, and organizational strategies in the design process.
  • ARCH 4509/6509 Special Topics in Visual Representation: Drawing City ManifestosThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of Visual Representation. The instructor(s) of the course are drawn from the permanent and visiting faculty who may either broadly or narrowly define the course's scope and content. For precise content, please see the Architecture Department webpage.

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Additive Architectural Elements: A New Robotic Brutalism, Pinkcomma Gallery, Boston (2018)
  • Digital Vernacular, UIA (International Union of Architects) World Congress, Seoul COEX Convention Center (2017)
  • Micro, ABC:MTL exhibition, with Gilles Saucier, Canadian Centre for Architecture (2013)
  • Constructing Future Cities, 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB) Shenzhen, China (2019)

Publications (Selected)

  • Lok, Leslie, and Jiyoon Bae. "Timber De-standardized 2.0: Mixed Reality Visualizations and User Interface for Processing Irregular Timber". In 25th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia, RE: Anthropocene, Design in the Age of Humans, CAADRIA 2022
  • Lok, Leslie, Asbiel Samaniago, and Lawson Spencer. "Timber De-standardized: A Mixed Reality Framework for the Assembly of Irregular Tree Log Structures". In ACADIA 2021: Realignments toward Critical Computation.[Paper Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)], (2021).
  • Lok, Leslie. "Re-defining the Rural-urban: Discovering Spatial Patterns of Chinese Rural Development". In 2020 ACSA 108th Annual Meeting: Open, Global Urbanism Session [Proceedings of the 108th ACSA Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)], (2020).
  • Zivkovic, Sasa, and Leslie Lok. "Making Form Work — Experiments along the Grain of Concrete and Timber", Jane Burry, Jenny Sabin, Bob Sheil (Ed.), FABRICATE 2020: Making Resilient Architecture. London, UK: UCL Press. 
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