Zubaida Mosharraf was born on September 24, 1951,in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, women are often discouraged to pursue elite professions such as architecture. So after being introduced to architecture by her father-in-law while she was medical school, she decided to change course to study and become a licensed architect. The rest is Atlanta transportation architecture history.
Mosharraf retired from the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) after nearly 29 years as a transportation architect where she led a diverse architecture staff responsible for the design and construction of all transit station and facilities system-wide. She is a registered architect in four states – Kansas, Florida, Alabama and Georgia; and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Mosharraf has served as a panel member for several projects and initiatives on both the Transit Cooperative Research Program and the Georgia Tech University Panel for Arts Projects in Transit Stations.
After coming to the United States in 1974, she earned her Bachelor of Architecture Degree in 1977 and later came to Atlanta in 1984. It did not take long for Mosharraf to land her dream job as a transportation architect with MARTA, retiring as the manager of architecture for the authority in 2014. During her time at MARTA, Mosharraf was directly responsible for millions of dollars in design and construction, multi-million dollar upgrades of the total system, including over 35 stations to meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and development of all design construction standards system-wide. Over the course of her career, Mosharraf implemented innovative and leading edge vision that resulted in transformative Atlanta transportation projects to include the new Atlanta BeltLine, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international Airport projects, ADA transit station and facility upgrades, new Transit-Oriented Development projects and the new Atlanta Streetcar.
Mosharraf accomplished a high level of success while overcoming a host of barriers that included racial, cultural and gender discrimination to become a passionate and vocal champion for diversity and inclusion on public transit projects. During her StoryCorps interview, she recounts the worldwide impact of the Civil Rights Movement and especially in her country of Bangladesh. She states that even though she did not experience the movement directly, the essence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech inspired people all over the world. She discusses inequality and discrimination as a world issue, not just relegated to the United States.
Mosharraf shares stories of her personal relationship with Charles McAfee, FAIA, NOMA, widely known for tackling social justice issues and one of the most influential African-American architects of our time, and credits him with providing her the opportunity to stay in the United States in 1977. She developed a similar passion for social justice and proudly shares stories of her experience as an international architect and her efforts to ensure culturally and racially diverse design teams on multi-million dollar public transportation projects. Mosharraf offers a roadmap of how to go “beyond the quota” in public architecture to ensure more targeted efforts to increase minority involvement in major transportation projects. Finally, she outlines steps for the next generation of transportation architects and what they need to do to fulfill their dreams.
Today, Mosharraf is retired. In her leisure, she enjoys cooking and gardening. She is married to her husband Mosharraf Hossain and has a son, Imran, and daughter, Sharmeen.
Mosharraf’s strong design leadership and advocacy as a champion for greater diversity and inclusion on major public transportation projects in her career that spans nearly three decades embodies the essence of the Civil Rights Movement and truly makes her one of NOMA Atlanta’s Trailblazers of Change.
Author: Garfield Peart | May 10, 2015 | © NOMAATLANTA
Notable Atlanta/Georgia Projects:
Buckhead Transit Station ($23M);
Integrated Operation Center ($27M);
Laredo Bus Solar Canopy ($10.8M);
Atlanta Streetcar Project ($72M);
Browns Mills Bus Maintenance Facility Rehabilitation ($12M);
38-Station ADA Station Signage Upgrade System;
System-wide Visual Public Address System;
Fare Collection System Upgrade Facilities Modifications;
Five Points Station Plaza and Rehabilitation of Entrances;
Transit Orient Developments – Lakewood Station, Avondale Station, Arts Center Station;
MARTA Station Designs:
Trailblazer Photo Gallery: