Ummehani Poonawala: Architectural Visionary and Community Beacon

Ummehani Poonawala of the Auckland Dawoodi Bohra community

On International Women’s Day, the Dawoodi Bohra community takes a moment to applaud one of its own shining stars in Auckland, New Zealand – Ummehani Poonawala. An architectural graduate with roots firmly planted in the rich soil of her heritage, Ummehani’s journey from Pune, India, to the scenic landscapes of New Zealand is a story of ambition, innovation, and communal support.

Ummehani’s academic foundation was laid at the Allana College of Architecture in Pune, setting her on a path to professional excellence. Her career began with Dar Al-handasah, a Lebanese firm renowned for its large-scale Gulf projects, where she honed her skills. This was followed by a stint as a technician with ALF Design Consultants, where she further refined her craft.

The move to New Zealand brought new opportunities and challenges, which Ummehani embraced with open arms. Her experiences in Auckland’s architectural domain, traversing both residential and commercial spheres, have been as diverse as they have been enriching.

But it’s not just her professional endeavours that define Ummehani; her dedication to community service is equally commendable. As a teacher of religious classes at Saturday School, she has contributed to shaping the young minds of her community, while regularly contributing to the Dawoodi Bohras’ Project Rise initiatives.

Today, Ummehani is the driving force behind Studio 5253, a business that began in 2018 specializing in architectural rendering and visualization.  Her expertise in crafting high-resolution visuals and animations has positioned her enterprise as a go-to for developers selling properties ‘off-the-plan’. With the objective to expand into Australia, her ambition knows no bounds.

Her involvement in designing Auckland’s first Masjid complex stands as a testament to her talent and commitment to faith. This project is not just an architectural endeavour but a spiritual milestone for the Bohra community in Auckland.

“I’ve always been passionate about all aspects of design,” says Ummehani, who aspires to lead her own design studio one day. Her vision for creating unique, thoughtfully designed spaces showcases her belief that architecture is not just about buildings, but about the communities they serve and the lives they touch.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s reflect on the words of the renowned architect Zaha Hadid: “I really believe in the idea of the future.” Ummehani embodies this forward-looking ethos, blending her passion for design with a keen sense of social responsibility.

Another quote that resonates with Ummehani’s journey is by the inspirational Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  Ummehani not only thrives in her field but does so while uplifting those around her, marking her as a true role model.

Ummehani Poonawala’s story is a beacon of inspiration for the Dawoodi Bohra community and women worldwide. Her dedication to her craft and her community serves as a reminder of the remarkable achievements that women are making every day, in every corner of the globe.

2 thoughts on “Ummehani Poonawala: Architectural Visionary and Community Beacon

  1. Sk.Mohammedali S.Bhavnagarwala says:

    Congratulations to Ms Ummehani Ben n her achievements is an inspiration to many young women of our community. This is one of d best example of Aqamaula tus blessings may Allah grant Him long long life in best of health for benefits of Dawoodi bohra community.Amin.

  2. Maryam M.Juzer Saifee says:

    Mabrook Ms.Ummehani ben.
    Feel proud about how you youngsters are leading innovators.
    Giving so much of of your time and talent to your family and society as a whole.
    Above all AALI QADR MAULA ni khidmat karwu Mubarak thajo.
    Doa you get invopved in further Masjid projects all over the globe.
    Jahan jahan mumineen rahe che

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