School of Architecture names new Master of Urban Design director

Architect, researcher, educator and curator Sekou Cooke is the new director of the Master of Urban Design (MUD) program; he will join the architecture faculty in August.

Jamaican born, Cooke comes to UNC Charlotte from Syracuse University, where he is currently an assistant professor in the School of Architecture. Through his professional practice, sekou cooke STUDIO, he brings thoughtful processes and rigorous experimentation to a vast array of project types, from public, nonprofit 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 upcoming monograph, “Hip-Hop Architecture.”

Cooke’s work is featured in the landmark exhibition, “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America,” currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art through May 31. (Read an article in the New York Times about the exhibition and the Black Reconstruction Collective.)

“Sekou Cooke is a rising star in the architecture world and has a national reputation based on his innovative, activist-based approaches to elevating Black voices in the field,” said School of Architecture Director Blaine Brownell. “With his hire as the new director of the Master of Urban Design program, we anticipate that his scholarship on hip-hop architecture and urbanism, pioneering installations like MoMA’s recent ‘Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America,’ accomplished teaching at one of the nation’s top architecture programs and prodigious leadership potential will contribute immeasurably to our school, college, University and the city of Charlotte.”

Cooke holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University; he is licensed to practice architecture in the state of New York.