Malaysian-born architect misses out on top prize, says being nominated reward enough

Catharine Ann Arul Dass is not sad that she did not win the top prize in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (Real Estate, Infrastructure and Construction) on Thursday.

The Ipoh-born was also a finalist in the European Women In Construction and Engineering Awards (Digital Innovation) last month, but did not bag the top prize.

The architect, who has been living in the United Kingdom for over a decade, said being among the finalists for both awards is a reward in itself.

“As I always say, I am an Ipoh-mali girl. I come from humble beginnings.

“To be in such good company is already an honour,” said Catharine.

“The competition was too strong. Some of the nominees are doing life-changing work.”

Catharine said being a finalist in both competitions was an eye-opening experience, as she met “some amazing people”.

“I will never forget the thrill of being nominated and sharing the stage with them.”

Catharine was nominated for her digital conservation work on the Unesco Heritage site – Palace of Westminster and the British Parliament – for both the awards.

Catharine said she was surprised when she got the job at the House of Commons, as she had limited knowledge in conservation.

However, her background in digital construction and architecture helped her secure a spot on the team.

“I hope my humble journey inspires someone. Remember not to limit yourself by setting barriers based on age, gender, or origin,” said the former Politeknik Ungku Omar student.

“When you set your mind on something, go for it!”

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