Dr. R.J. (Rachel) Lee

Dr. R.J. (Rachel) Lee


In her research, Rachel explores histories of colonial and postcolonial architecture and urbanism. She investigates how constructed space intersects with migration and exile, transnational practice, heritage, mobility, and gender. Focusing mainly on South Asia and East Africa, she is committed to collaborative, interdisciplinary research that is often supported by digital methods and tools.

From 2015-2017 she directed the interdisciplinary research project Simulizi Mijini/Urban Narratives. Exploring urban heritage “from below”, the project brought together numerous academics, activists, educators, students, artists and writers in Berlin, Germany and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Since 2017 she has contributed to the ERC-funded research project Relocating Modernism: Global Metropolises, Modern Art and Exile (METROMOD). Her research has focused on contact zones in Bombay (now Mumbai) in the mid-twentieth century.

Currently, she is a Mellon Fellow with the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s Centring Africa project. Picking up on her interest in “tropical architecture” she is investigating “Tropical Architecture Made in Bavaria? The Institut für Tropenbau and the Making of Social Infrastructure in Africa” together with Monika Motylinska.

With Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi she has developed and curated the ongoing Feminist Architectural Histories of Migration project with dossiers collected on three open access platforms: On Margins (ABE), On Diffractions (CCA) and On Collaborations (Aggregate).

Her work has been published on a diverse range of platforms, from high-ranking, peer-reviewed journals such as CSSAAME to online media outlets, including the widely-read Scroll.in. She is committed to open access and to working with local publishers as far as possible. Rachel has been invited to present her work around the world and embraces the opportunity to engage audiences beyond academia.

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Academische achtergrond

Rachel studied Architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, University of Glasgow, graduating with a BArch(hons). At the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee she attained a Diploma (Master’s equivalent) in Architecture before completing a Doctorate in Engineering at the Habitat Unit, Berlin University of Technology.

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