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New Team Member: Ghada Ajami-Oliver

Ghada Ajami-Oliver

Senior Architect Ghada joined the PAUA team at the end of May this year.  Here is a little bit about her background and motivation for doing the work she does.

Nō hea koe? (where are you from?)

Originally from Lebanon; I have lived in NZ for 14 years.

How long have you been in the architecture industry? 

On and off 20 plus years.

What inspired you to become an architect?

Believing that living in well designed environments makes us better adjusted human beings.

Career highlight so far? (and why)

A project I worked on in Afghanistan decades ago designing and managing more than 1000 eathquake resistant self-built houses in Kabul.  The project highlighted the massive contribution of women to the vernacular housing sector and the need to tap on such a resource.  Acknowledging the contribution of women in that context is to this date the best reward I have ever achieved. 

If you weren’t an architect, what would you do?

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to navigate and combine between two disciplines I am passionate about: my profession as an architect and my humanitarian aid work.  If I were not an architect, I will be advocating for women rights to access health and education in countries that deny them these basic human rights. 

Another architect whose work you admire, and why.

Hassan Fathy, an Egyptian architect who championed the concept of ‘Architecture for the Poor’ and proved that improved indigenous techniques can still create beautiful living spaces.

What interests do you have outside of work?

Following international affairs;  studying new design trends;  food: sampling and creating;  travel.

Favourite building?

A tough question. Any space that makes me feel at peace when I enter it.

Favourite city?

Beirut - no place on earth makes me feel so alive..

What’s one thing you wish you knew/learnt earlier in your career?

To be more mindful. 

Best and worst things about the industry right now?

Best thing:  acknowledging that we have to take action to protect our planet. 

Worst thing: being slow at doing so.  However better late than never..


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