Architecture graduate wants to design and build inviting structures

Photo courtesy of Sydney Maubert
By Barbara Gutierrez

Photo courtesy of Sydney Maubert

Architecture graduate wants to design and build inviting structures

By Barbara Gutierrez
Sydney Maubert, a first-generation college student, is credited with having a strong work ethic and passion for design.

For years, the friendly face of Sydney Maubert would greet all who came to visit the University of Miami School of Architecture.

“Most people know me as the secretary and receptionist at the School of Architecture,” said Maubert.

During her five years with the architecture program, Maubert, a Foote Fellow and first-generation college student, also worked as an employee at the University. She graduates with a Bachelor of Architecture with a Classical Certificate and double minors in art and writing. She will attend Yale School of Architecture in the fall.

“Honestly, it is an honor and a blessing,” she said of her graduation and academic achievement. “I did work hard, but I am also thankful for my parents’ support.”

Ana Regalado, associate dean at the School of Architecture, supervised Maubert in her years at the school and said she always had a strong work ethic.

“Sydney has demonstrated a consistent dedication and commitment to serve others throughout her five years at the U,” said Regalado. “I have seen her blossom and grow in many ways academically and professionally. One thing has remained constant, her passion for the academic career and her love and respect for family, values, and integrity.” 

Maubert’s parents, who work as a real estate agent and a paralegal, taught her to have religious values and to work hard to achieve any goal in life.

Her father gave her an additional gift. He taught her how to draw. That passion led her to architecture, she said. She drew and painted and learned how to “figure draw.”

She credits a study abroad semester in Rome, under the mentorship of Sonia Chao, School of Architecture research associate professor, as an experience that helped her to hone her talents.   

“I came back a stronger designer and artist,” she said, adding that all the students had to draw every day as they explored the artistic and architectural treasures in Rome, Venice, Florence, and other Italian cities.

Back home, Maubert realized that whenever she told anyone that she was studying architecture there would be a “moment of shock.”

“This happened with everyone and across all age groups,” she said. “I did not realize that, as a black woman who is also Latina, I fell into a group that numerically was very low in the architecture field.”

She was active in the student group Women in Architecture and that gave her the opportunity to attend a conference that was transformative. The conference focused on gender and race, she said.

“I got to hear people who were sympathetic to my cause and looked like me,” she said. The experience made her more determined to get her architecture certificate and continue with her studies.

Her interest is in equitable design and informal housing that accommodates all kinds of populations, she said. She wants to promote designs that are truly accessible to the disabled but also explore how buildings can be practical and inclusive to all ethnic groups.

“A building can impose a character or an idea to its visitors of how one should behave,” she said. She hopes her designs are friendly and open and are inviting to people just like her.