Rixt L. Woudstra F'19

Rixt L. Woudstra
Doctoral Candidate
Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2019
Doctoral Candidate
History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Countering Independence: Architecture, Decolonization, and the Design of Stability in British Africa, 1945-1963

This dissertation examines how in the 1940s and 1950s, a time marked by the rise of anti-imperialist protests, British architects profoundly reorganized rapidly growing colonial cities such as Nairobi, Kampala, and Accra by constructing large-scale government-funded housing projects for African laborers and their families. While the political process of decolonization is often characterized as a moment of rapid change, too often overlooked is the way the struggle for self-government in the two decades leading up to independence transformed urban environments in British Africa. Exploring the spatial strategies architects devised to build stability, this dissertation traces how housing was touted as an instrument to counter—or postpone—the looming prospect of independence.