Student / Alumni
Azra Dawood

Azra Dawood recently completed her PhD 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 as an architect in New York City. She has also worked in architecture firms in Karachi and Austin. Azra 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 Master's thesis, “Failure to Engage: The Breasted-Rockefeller Gift of a New Egyptian Museum and Research Institute at Cairo (1926),” won the MIT Department of Architecture’s 2010 thesis award. 

Focusing on the period between the First and Second World Wars, Azra's PhD research lies at the intersection of American architecture, the history of philanthropy, theological history, and postcolonial studies. Her dissertation is titled “Building Protestant Modernism: John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Architecture of an American Internationalism (1919-1939).” 

Her work has been presented at the “Entangled Urbanisms” symposium at Northwestern University (2018), the biennial Dissertation Colloquium at Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture (2017), and other venues. She has organized a panel on “Religion in Secular American Architecture” for the Society of Architectural Historians’ 71st Annual International Conference (2018), co-organized a workshop for the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative (2017), and curated an exhibition on New York University’s architectural projects and campus expansions at the Mamdouha S. Bobst Gallery (2017).

Azra's research has been supported by grants from 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). Between her Master's and PhD programs, Azra also received the SOM Foundation's 2010 Travel/Research Fellowship for Architecture, Design and Urban Design.

2018 Dissertation: Building Protestant Modernism: John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Architecture of an American Internationalism (1919-1939)

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

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

Education

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