Supporting a new generation of women in architecture
With the opportunity to put their stamp on the buildings in which we live, work, and learn, more women are breaking into the traditionally male-dominated profession of architecture. Lending a helping hand is Frasers Property Australia’s Women in Architecture Scholarship, now in its second year.
One of the most famous names in contemporary architecture belongs to a woman—trailblazing Iraqi-British pioneer Dame Zaha Hadid. Dubbed the “Queen of the Curve”, her expressive designs can be found on an array of jaw-dropping buildings from London to Guangzhou to Azerbaijan. Hadid passed away in 2016, leaving a remarkable legacy and standard for future female architects to aspire to. Helping young women to follow in Hadid’s footsteps is the goal of Frasers Property Australia’s two-year,$60,000 Master of Architecture Scholarship for Women open to full-time and part-time students who have completed undergraduate studies in architecture at Western Sydney University. The second recipient to benefit from the scholarship is Maryann Aziz, a devotee of Dame Hadid’s work, and the first woman in her immediate family to study architecture
“Mum’s uncle was one of the first architects in my home country, who established many buildings there. So, it’s a huge honour to be doing this,” says Maryann. “I really hope that in the coming years, the industry is celebrated as much for its diversity as it is for its creativity.”
According to Nicholle Sparkes, General Manager Delivery and Operations at Frasers Property—one of the only property-related companies in Australia to achieve the WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Act) Employer of Choice certification—there’s an urgency to create more diversity and opportunity in the field. “Architecture, like the property industry more broadly, has long been a male-dominated occupation,” explains Nicholle. “Yet, diversity enriches everything we do, from our daily working lives to the built environments we create for current and future generations. That’s why initiatives such as the Master of Architecture Scholarship for Women are so important—to encourage and support more women into the profession.”
Paying it forward Dean of Western Sydney University’s School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, Professor Mike Kagioglou, commends Frasers Property for their ongoing commitment to the next generation of female architects. “Western Sydney University is incredibly proud to partner with Frasers Property Australia in support of this talented student,” says Professor Kagioglou
“The scholarship will connect Maryann to one of Australia’s leading property developers with strong connections to Sydney’s west, providing valuable support and professional development opportunities.”
Maryann is the second recipient of the Frasers Property Master of Architecture Scholarship for Women, after Sarah Abu Dareb was awarded the inaugural scholarship in October 2020. Now in the final stages of her Masters degree, Sarah also congratulated Maryann and wished her all the best with her studies. “The Scholarship for Women has helped shape my academic development, provided me with an opportunity to embark on my career as an urban designer, and heightened my confidence in the field,” says Sarah. “I have no doubt that Maryann, too, is able to use this wonderful opportunity for her academic growth and build her career in the design industry. ”Western Sydney University’s Master of Architecture(Urban Transformation)—led jointly by Chair of Architecture, Professor Paul Sanders and Professor Peter Poulet—is the only course of its kind in western Sydney and offers students access to real-world learning opportunities, including Australia’s once-in-a-generation infrastructure projects such as the Aerotropolis, set to transform the western Sydney region.