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Meet Takbir Fatima, a young architect breaking culture stereotype

By Naveelah Ishteyaque
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Meet Takbir Fatima, a young architect breaking culture stereotype
Image: cindrebay

Takbir Fatima is now recognized as one strong and independent Muslim woman from Hyderabad. She is certainly an example of breaking the cultural and religious stereotype and relishing her dreams in the field which is way different from others.

She was awarded “NDTV emerging architect of the year award (2016) “for her brilliant contribution in the field of architecture. She was the first Muslim women from her state to win this award.Takbir Fatima did her B.Arch from CSIIT SAP Secunderabad and later she went to London to do her M.Arch. She completed M.arch from AA School of Architecture, London, regarded as one of the best Architecture College in the world.

After working with many reputed architecture firms, she decided to open her own firm named “DesignAware”. This multi-disciplinary architecture firm DesignAware is not like your regular architectural firm and does not boast of a vast expanse filled with employees glued to their workspaces. In a limited space, Takbir along with her sister Abeer Fatima and the team have managed to create an environment in such a way that not just the employees even visitors feel inspired to think out of the box.

Read More: UK hate crime: Muslim woman assaulted, hijab ripped off

In her recent interview with Munsif TV, she talked about her firm and difficulty she faced in establishing it. “We had a low budget and our focus was to custom design. We didn’t want to buy anything from the market. Everything you see here is custom-made except the chairs and computers,” smiles Takbir and reveals that the studio was initially a house, in a bad condition. “It was our first renovation project,” she recalls. “The entire building was in bad shape; the roof was falling and flooring was not properly done. We redesigned it and wanted the space to be a comfort zone which is conducive to productivity and also makes employees feel at home because one spends more time at the office than home.”

Talking about her experience of studying in London, she said, “London is different with an extremely liberal culture and open- minded people. The way of teaching is innovative and creative. Indian schooling having single solution syndrome, however, architecture is different. It does not go with this particular method and I learned this in London.”

She visions of educating girls of her community. To make this work, Takbir started a designing workshop in which she together with her team taught students on design thinking which is missing in most schools and colleges.

Takbir is one proud Muslim woman and believes in Islam and its practices. She has a message for all those girls who are reluctant in wearing Hijab or covering their head. She said, “ Hijab protects me. Both foreign and national media objectifies women, especially Muslim. But by wearing Hijab, I think I have shifted the focus of media and people on my work and not on my looks. Hijab is never an obstacle in your work. I have traveled Europe and seen women wearing Hijab making it to the top.”

Takbir is definitely an inspiration for millions of girls. Her firm DesignAware is also involved with the lot of projects that help Muslim Communities, including a mosque and a zakat-run school in Golconda, Hyderabad. This school is named as Bright Horizon Academy and is a coed school which follows the CBSE syllabus along with basic Islamic Education.

Well, Takbir, a salute to you for your bravery, intelligence, passion, determination, and contribution.