Sekou Cooke

Associate Professor and Director of Master of Urban Design Program

Sekou Cooke comes to UNC Charlotte from Syracuse, New York, where he was an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. Born in Jamaica, Sekou went on to receive his B. Arch from Cornell University, and his M.Arch from Harvard University. In his professional practice, sekou cooke STUDIO, he brings thoughtful processes and rigorous experimentation to a vast array of project types – from public, non-profit, and residential works in New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, to mixed-use projects and tenant improvements in California, to speculative developments locally and internationally.

Cooke’s current research centers on the emergent field of Hip-Hop Architecture, a theoretical movement reflecting the core tenets of hip-hop culture with the power to create meaningful impact on the built environment and give voice to the marginalized and underrepresented within design practice. This work has been widely disseminated through his writings, lectures, and symposia and is the subject of his monograph, Hip-Hop Architecture.


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Cooke participates with “We Outchea: Hip-Hop Fabrications and Public Space”, in the exhibition "Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America" at the Museum of Modern Art MoMa in NY. His project is an expansion of his work in hip-hop architecture into urbanism and urban history.

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Examining the present and the future of Hip-Hop Architecture, Cooke's publication "Hip-Hop Architecture." also explores its historical antecedents and its theory, placing it in a wider context both within architecture and within Black and African American movements.

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Cooke has designed and built an installation, “Grids + Griots”for the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America. The pavilion represents a concept explored in his recent book, Hip-Hop Architecture.