Student / Alumni
Azra Dawood

Azra Dawood is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art program and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. Before coming to MIT, Azra worked at architecture firms in Karachi, Austin, and New York City. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin (2001) and a Master of Science in Architecture Studies from MIT (2010). Her Masters thesis, titled “Failure to Engage: The Breasted-Rockefeller Gift of a New Egyptian Museum and Research Institute at Cairo (1926),” won the Department of Architecture’s 2010 thesis award. 

Her PhD research lies at the intersection of American architectural patronage and philanthropy between the First and Second World Wars; theological history; archaeology; and, colonial and postcolonial architecture and urbanism. Her dissertation project is titled “John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Architecture of Protestant Internationalism (1919-1945).” Other research interests include the historiography of collections and objects.

In the gap year between her Masters and PhD programs, Azra received the SOM Foundation's 2010 Travel/Research Fellowship in Architecture, Design and Urban Design, which allowed her to visit some of the sites and projects financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. across Europe and the United States, and to carry out related (preliminary) archival research.  Her research has also been supported by other generous organizations and awards, most recently by the Columbia University Libraries’ Research Award (2016-2017), the University of Chicago Libraries’ Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship (2016), the Rockefeller Archive Center’s Grant-in-aid (2015-2016), and The Aga Khan Student Travel Grant (2014-2015).

2010 SMArchS Thesis: Failure to Engage: The Breasted-Rockefeller Gift of a New Egyptian Museum and Research Institute at Cairo (1926)

Areas of Interest
Historiography, International Studies, Islamic Architecture, Modern Architecture, Postcolonialism, Theory of Architecture