Liebermann - Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture


Dr. Wanda Katja Liebermann


Harvard University
Doctor of Design

University of California Berkeley
Master of Architecture

University of California Berkeley
BA, Architecture


Wanda Katja Liebermann is an architectural and urban historian and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma. She is a licensed architect who practiced for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Liebermann’s research focuses on theories and practices of architecture and urbanism in relationship to social justice movements in the United States. Her work investigates disability and racial politics, examining the recursive dynamics between identity and belonging, the built environment, and environmental design. Her current project is a book manuscript for Routledge, called Architecture’s Problem with Disability. This is the first scholarly monograph to critically analyze the complex relationship between architecture and disability rights in the United States across pedagogy, policy, and practice in order to understand the discipline’s narrow response to disabled access, and to explore creative alternatives.  

A second strand of her research centers on historical and contemporary forms of unequal urban and infrastructural development of the New River in Broward County, Florida. Part of the vast South Florida water management project, the region is a sprawling landscape of nearly two million people and diverse wildlife. Examining bridge, waterfront, and hydrology design, this research contributes to the literature on race and space by foregrounding the vastly different material outcomes produced by White-dominated institutions in this region’s unique culture and ecology. 

Liebermann’s writing has appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Future Anterior, the Journal of Architecture, the Journal of Design History, and several edited anthologies. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, a UC Berkeley Arcus Endowment, the Arnold J. Brunner Grant, and Graham Foundation Grant. Liebermann received a Doctor of Design from Harvard University and a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. 

Liebermann has extensive teaching experience, including design studio, and topics in architectural history and contemporary theory and criticism. Her teaching is informed by an interdisciplinary social historical lens, which connects theory with empirical, concrete case studies, thereby offering students vivid tools for formal exploration and criticality in both design and research.  

Selected Publications

2020 Liebermann, Wanda Katja. “Architecture, Science, and Disabled Citizenship.” In Making Disability Modern: Design Histories, edited by Bess Williamson, and Elizabeth Guffey, 113- 130. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

2020 Liebermann, Wanda Katja. “Whose heritage? Architectural preservation and disabled access in Boston and San Francisco.” Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism, 16 (1):35-56.

2019 Liebermann, Wanda Katja, “Teaching Embodiment; Disability, Subjectivity, and Architectural Education,” Journal of Architecture, volume 24, issue 6.

2019 Liebermann, Wanda Katja, co-authored with Lina Eklund and Isabell Stamm, “The Crowd in Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing as a Pragmatic Research Method,” First Monday, vol 24, issue 10.

2018 Liebermann, Wanda Katja, “Reforming the Dutch disabled body: architecture and citizenship in Jaap Bakema’s design for Het Dorp, Netherlands,” in Architecture and the Body, Science and Culture, Routledge, Edited by Kim Sexton.

2016 Liebermann, Wanda Katja. “Humanizing modernism? Jaap Bakema’s village for disabled citizens,” The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, June 2016.

2015 Liebermann, Wanda Katja, “The right to live in the world: Architecture, inclusion, and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Spatializing Politics: Essays on Power and Place, Harvard University Press with imprint by Harvard Graduate School of Design.

2013 Liebermann, Wanda Katja, “Crossing the threshold: Problems and prospects for accessible housing design.” Electronic publication, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, prospects-accessible-housing-design; August.

Professional Credentials

Licensed Architect, California C31573 (2008-Present).

Selected Awards

Graham Foundation Individual Grant, book project Architecture’s Problem with Disability.

Visiting Faculty Fellowship in Design for Spatial Justice and the Walsh Visiting Professorship in the School of Architecture & Environment in the College of Design at the University of Oregon, for winter & spring terms (declined).

Arnold W. Brunner Grant, AIANY, Center for Architecture

National Science Foundation Science and Technology Studies Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant

John R. Meyer Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University

Harvard University Real Estate Academic Initiative Grant

Penny White Award, Harvard Graduate School of Design

AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal & Certificate, sole recipient, master of architecture