Sydney alumna makes a career at leading architectural studio

7 May 2021
From Iran to Australia, how our architecture grad became the Senior Architect at Cox Architecture
Jamileh Jahangiri speaks to the importance of architecture’s communal value beyond design and construction.

Some things just call for certain people, and for Jamileh Jahangiri, it is architecture. After studying architecture in Iran, Jamileh moved to Australia to pursue a Master of Architecture here at the University of Sydney to further her knowledge of Australian architecture. Since graduating in 2016, Jamileh is now the Senior Architect at Cox Architecture­–overseeing the “design and construction of some of the most exciting Sydney public and community buildings,”

“It is incredible to be part of a studio that has such a significant impact on the public architecture of Sydney and Australia,” says Jamileh.

Creativity, collaboration and passion are key elements Jamileh incorporates throughout her work. “My day to day job includes assisting directors with delivering the projects, connecting with the client and making sure their needs are captured while working with students and graduates,” she explains.

A visit to the University’s Architectural Graduation Exhibition was what made the call when deciding on her postgraduate study options – she was inspired by the way design and technology were reflected in the student projects and wanted to try for herself. While studying, Jamileh was exposed to the “broader interdisciplinary conversation via exhibitions, design studios, lectures, and guest speakers” which allowed her to have an authentic and holistic learning approach to architectural design.

“The memory I often remember is the Architectural Theory lectures by [Professor] Chris L. Smith and how he personalised the architectural philosophy and gone on a beautiful journey through personal perspective and connecting it to the architecture,” said Jamileh, “I wish I had recorded the lectures!”.

When asked about advice for prospective students­­­ to enhance their employability in the architectural space, her answer was simple but paramount for this role. “Communication is pivotal for us as architects regardless of the level of career we are in. Good communication leads to trust, and trust leads to an opportunity,”

“I encourage students and graduates to communicate more effectively during their time at the university and their capacity as a graduate team member”.

An advocate for the communal value of architecture beyond the technicalities, Jamileh feels a strong obligation towards our citizens and is always seeking ways to foster cultural and social values into her designs. Go to “a place where you get to learn and explore and the role that architecture plays within our culture and get a strong desire for holistic design,” says Jamileh, “so that you can strive to make responsible decisions that are environmentally, culturally and socially sustainable." For Jamileh, continuing to think of ways to enhance the value architecture has for the community is just as important as design and construction.

These words ring true to Jamileh’s own actions, she is passionate about giving back to the community ­– especially to emerging architects. She is a member of the Emerging Architects and Graduates Network (EmAGN), and the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) community group. These platforms help to give opportunities to graduates to work on large- and small-scale projects that promote gender inclusivity and sustainability.

Reflecting upon her time at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, Jamileh is able to utilise the knowledge and opportunities she gained then as an architect and an activist now.

“Since my graduation, I used the powerful and important skills we learned and explored during the university time in different ways from my involvement as an architect within the projects across the city or through advocacy and my involvement with the AIA and EmAGN as an overall.”

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