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Dr. R.L. (Rixt) Woudstra

Dr Rixt Woudstra is an historian of modern architecture, material culture and colonialism, with a specific focus on the global circulation of ideas, knowledge, and materials. She is currently an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in architectural history at the University of Amsterdam in the department of Art History. In Amsterdam, she teaches a variety of BA and MA-courses on architectural and urban history, and is affiliated with the Amsterdam Center for Urban History. Previously, she taught at New College of Humanities in London and was a postdoctoral research associate at Liverpool University’s Department of Architecture, where she worked Leverhulme-funded project on the architectural and urban history of the United Africa Company in British West Africa in the 19th and 20th century. She completed her Ph.D. in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is working on her first book based on her dissertation, titled Modern Architecture and Anti-Colonial Protest in ‘British’ Africa, 1945-1957, and another collaborative book project on the architecture of the United Africa Company in West Africa. Her work been supported by fellowships and awards from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, and the MIT Africa-Program.
Faculty of Humanities
Capaciteitsgroep Kunstgeschiedenis

Visiting address
  • Turfdraagsterpad 15
  • Room number: 2.16
Postal address
  • Postbus 94551
    1090 GN Amsterdam
  • Profile

    Rixt Woudstra is Assistant Professor in Architectural History at the University of Amsterdam

    She is a historian of modern architecture, material culture and colonialism, with a specific focus on the global circulation of architectural ideas, knowledge, and building materials. At the University of Amsterdam, she teaches various BA and MA courses on architectural and urban history and is affiliated with the Amsterdam Center for Urban History. Previously, she taught in the art history department of New College of Humanities in London (part of Northeastern University in Boston). As a postdoctoral research associate at Liverpool University, she worked on a Leverhulme-funded project exploring mercantile architecture in West Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth century. 

    She completed her Ph.D. in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is currently working on her first book based on her dissertation, titled Designing Stability: Modern Architecture and Anti-Colonial Protest in ‘British’ Africa, 1945-1957, as well as another collaborative book project on the architecture of the United Africa Company in West Africa, with Iain Jackson, Ewan Harrison and Michele Tenzon. Her research has been supported by fellowships and awards from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, MIT's Aga Khan Program and the MIT Africa-Program.

  • Publications

    2018

    • Woudstra, R. L. (2018). Exhibiting Reform: MoMA and the Display of Public Housing (1932–1939). Architectural Histories, 6(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.5334/ah.269

    2019

    • Woudstra, R. L. (2019). Countering Independence: Architecture, Decolonization and the Design of Stability. In M. Yoon , & I. Chernyakova (Eds.), Architecture and Action (pp. 130-131). The MIT Press.

    2018

    2015

    • Woudstra, R. L. (2015). De Portugese Synagoge in Amsterdam. Bulletin (KNOB), 114(2), 125-126.

    2013

    • Woudstra, R. L. (2013). Mahnaz Shah, Le Corbusier's Venice Hospital Project: An Investigation into its Structural Formulation. London: Ashgate, 2013. xxv + 222pp. 133 figures. £65.00 hbk. Urban History, 42(1), 175-177. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926814000704

    Award

    Journal editor

    Talk / presentation

    • Woudstra, R. (invited speaker) (5-2022). Tropical Timber, Modern Interiors, and the United Africa Company in Twentieth Century Britain, Cornell University.
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2022). Liquid Crystal Concrete: Postwar Colonialism, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art . https://www.paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk/whats-on/forthcoming/postwar-colonialism
    • Woudstra, R. (invited speaker) (2022). Build Your Own House": Betty Spence's Design-Research in 1950s South Africa, ETH Zurich. https://ethz.ch/students/en/details.build-your-own-house-betty-spences-designresearch-in-s-south-africa.64543.html
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2021). Imperial Objects, Digital Scholarship Group & NULab Fall Welcome 2021.
    • Woudstra, R. (invited speaker) (2021). Architectural History and the Colonial Archive, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design .
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (11-2020). Architecture, Democracy and Decolonization, University of Toronto.
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2020). 'Build Your Own House’: Betty Spence’s Design-Research in 1950s South Africa, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain and Institute of Historical Research Seminar, London. https://www.sahgb.org.uk/whatson/rixt-woudstra-hannah-le-roux
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) & Le Roux, H. (speaker) (2020). 'Build Your Own House’: Betty Spence’s Design Research in 1950s South Africa, V International Congress Architecture and Gender, Lisbon . https://warch.iscsp.ulisboa.pt/en/v-ciag/
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2019). Inter-African Cooperation: Housing Design and Decolonization, Centring
      Africa: Postcolonial Perspectives on Architecture, Addis Ababa. https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/events/65996/centring-africa-seminar
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2019). Designing the 'Multi-Racial' City: Leonard Thornton-White’s 1948 Plan for Nairobi, Conflicted Narratives, Future Trajectories: Rewriting Critical Architectural and Urban Histories of Nationalism, Colonialism, and Modernity, Cambridge .
    • Woudstra, R. (invited speaker) (2018). Public Housing on Display: MoMA, U.S. Housing Authorities and the Debate about ‘Architectural Excellence, University of Bremen.
    • Woudstra, R. (invited speaker) (2018). ‘Culture Comes to Kampala’: Ernst May’s Designs for the African Postwar City, Vrije Universiteit.
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2018). Minimum Standards: Housing ‘Nie-Blankes’ in South Africa, 1947-1952, Annual Conference Society of Architectural Historians, Saint Paul , Saint Paul .
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2017). Building the Minimum House: The South African Building Research Institute and the Social Survey, 1947-1952, European Architectural History Network, Delft.
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2017). Otto Koenigsberger and the United Nations’ ‘Housing Mission’ to the Gold Coast, 1954, Design and Displacement, Twenty-Sixth Cooper Hewitt/ Parsons Annual Graduate Student Design Symposium, New York .
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2017). Minimal Standards: The South African Building Research Institute at the NE51/6 House, 1947-1952, Standard Architecture: From Jean-Nicolas Louis
      Durand to BIM, Frankfurt .
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2016). Categorizing Architecture: Exhibiting Housing at MoMA, On the Role of Twentieth Century Exhibitions in Shaping Housing Discourses, Milan. https://exhibitinghousing.wordpress.com/paris-may-13-2016/program/
    • Woudstra, R. (invited speaker) (2015). Een Globale Architectuurgeschiedenis?, KNOB Studiemiddag , Amsterdam.
    • Woudstra, R. (speaker) (2014). The City of the Future: Le Corbusier and Addis Ababa, Fourth Conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies, Helsinki.

    Others

    • Woudstra, R. (organiser), Rifkind, D. (organiser) & Strozek, P. (organiser) (2014). Imagining an Avant-Garde Utopia in Italian-occupied Ethiopia (Panel at Fourth Conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies), Helsinki (organising a conference, workshop, ...).

    2020

    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities