Rixt Woudstra

Rixt Woudstra is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture program in the Department of Architecture at MIT. She studies the history of architectural modernism, with a specific focus on the circulation of architectural knowledge between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research interests include the intersection of architecture with colonialism, histories of housing, and the politics of display. She has presented her work at various conferences, such as the Society of Architectural Historians, the Parsons/Cooper Hewitt Symposium and the European Architectural History Network. Her writing has appeared in journals such as Urban History, Thresholds and Architectural Histories (forthcoming). She is currently a contributor to the Systems and the South: Architecture in Development project of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative.

Her dissertation, provisionally titled “Minimal Needs, Minimum Standards: Housing, Welfare and Decolonization in British Sub-Saharan Africa” explores the emergence of large-scale housing projects across British Africa between the 1940s and ‘60s, and the politics of decolonization. Her dissertation research is supported by a 2018-2019 Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University, and a 2018-2019 Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council (IDRF – SSRC) supporting further research in the UK, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. During the fall of 2017, she held a Junior Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London. She has been the recipient of the MIT Presidential Fellowship, the MIT Hyzen Travel Fellowship, the MIT-Africa Initiative, MIT International Studies Summer Study Grant, and the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Graduate Student Conference Fellowship.

She received a BA and MA in art and architectural history from the University of Amsterdam (both cum laude). Before coming to MIT, she worked for Studio Lukas Feireiss in Berlin on publications and exhibitions. She contributed to OfficeUS, the American pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennial in 2014 and is a member of the Storytelling Space Group.