Mae-ling Lokko

Mae-ling Lokko, Hack The Root, 2018. Installation view at RIBA North, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Bal

Mae-ling Lokko, Hack The Root (film still), 2018. Image courtesy the artist and Cinetecture

Mae-ling Lokko, Hack The Root, 2018. Installation view at RIBA North, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Bal

Mae-ling Lokko (b. 1987, Taif, Saudi Arabia) lives between Accra, Ghana and New York, USA. Trained as an architectural historian and building-material technologist, Lokko is an Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA. Her work centres on the upcycling of agro-waste and biopolymer materials into 'high' performance building material systems. Inspired by emerging multidisciplinary research on next generation biocomposite green materials as well as Ghanaian contemporary art waste upcycling, Lokko often integrates into her architectural work a broad range of technical, environmental, political and cultural criteria that questions contemporary material-value systems and evolves material upcycling criteria.

Hack the Root is a newly commissioned installation by Mae-ling Lokko, consisting of an architectural structure grown from agrowaste-fed mycelium (mushroom) panels and an accompanying exhibition at RIBA North. Drawing on historical and contemporary material practices, Hack the Root’s life cycle proposes an alternative to the notion of the root – a system that displaces all around it, consuming its surrounding resources to grow and expand. Through a series of Grow-It-Yourself workshops, modular biomaterial building panels made from a fungus developed by Ecovative have been grown in large-scale grow chambers in the gallery and installed in the exhibition’s entrance tunnel. Visitors can find out more about the process in an accompanying film exploring the prototyping of these unique tiles, as well as understand the project’s proposition for generative upcycling economies.

Recent exhibitions include ANO Institute of Contemporary Arts, Accra, Ghana (2017); Mmofra Foundation Climate Change Exhibition, Accra, Ghana (2017); Chale Wote Festival Accra, Ghana (2016); Rotch Golden Cube, Troy, USA (2016); and Advanced Energy Conference, New York, USA (2016).

Mae-ling Lokko at Liverpool Biennial 2018

Hack the Root
, 2018
Mycelium, hemp, plastic, wood, video
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and RIBA North
Exhibited at RIBA North

Supported by

Public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts


RIBA North – National Architecture Centre
21 Mann Island
L3 1BP

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