Meet Marziah Zad, an Iranian-American IAAC Alumna – Master in Advanced Architecture graduate, faculty of the Master in City & Technology (MaCT) and co-founder and director at Ashrafi & Zad Design, located in Tehran. The practice, established for approximately three years, engages in multi-scalar projects, undertaking design and construction projects both internationally and in Europe.

During a recent visit to IAAC, Marziah Zad shared insights about her career and memories of IAAC. Take a look!

How has IAAC prepared you for your current career?
I think that one of the things that I really learned from being at IAAC is how to be disruptive and question the system. In that questioning, I try to identify things that are not working and problems that exist. I think that IAAC has been really helpful in my career as a designer and an urbanist to try to identify ways that we can make our environments better. I think that I really learned this from how teaching happened at the IAAC.

How connected do you feel to the IAAC network?
I feel very connected to the IAAC network. It’s like a family that grows. With the students that we work together in the same year, we’re friends now, we’re colleagues, we work together. But then there’s also other people who come to IAAC and more opportunities to be more people, and they become part of that network as well.

Why do you think IAAC is special and different from other schools?
I think what is really great about IAAC compared to other places is just how democratic the structure is. It’s not so much a top-down system where there’s an instructor that teaches the students and there’s a structure of courses that you have finished, but rather there’s a dialog that happens between students and faculty, and it can be very proactive about how you want your academic career to be. You’re deciding which direction you want to take things and how you want to learn and what you want to learn, which is really different from typical academia.

Looking back, what’s your most special memory from your year at the IAAC?
I don’t think it’s one thing, but it’s one philosophy, maybe. The thing I love most about IAAC is actually the relationship between the faculty and the students. There’s this feeling that we’re learning and growing together. We’re researching, identifying ideas that we can create and explore. It’s not just students who are learning from the faculties, but the faculties are learning from the students. It has this sense of community that you feel all the time. I think that for me, it’s not one memory, but it’s just that sensation of being part of that that was really I think it’s incredible for me.

Which are the next steps you’ll take in your career?
I’m really pleased with how our office is growing, and I’m looking to expand a little more internationally, especially in the Middle East and potentially Africa, and maybe expanding our base to have a branch in Europe as well. I look forward to it.


About the Master in Advanced Architecture

The Master in Advanced Architecture is a unique programme that focuses on training architects, designers and engineers, acquiring multidisciplinary skills, to practice radical architecture that creates positive cultural, environmental and social impact.


Apply to the Master in Advanced Architecture today, the third Application Period for the Academic Year 2024/25 is now open.