Zeynep Ahunbay studied architecture at the Technical University of Istanbul (ITU), and became a member of the Faculty of Architecture (ITU) in 1971. Her PhD thesis was on “Seventeenth Century Ottoman Architecture” (1975). She attended the diploma course on Conservation of Historic Structures at the University of York during the academic year 1977/ 78; submitting a thesis on “Archaeology and Conservation in the Ancient City of Side/ Antalya, Turkey”.
She became a full professor at the Faculty of Architecture ITU in 1988 and retired in 2013. She lectured on Ottoman Architecture, conservation techniques for historic buildings and sites. She has taken part in several researches and conservation projects in Turkey, Bosnia and Kosovo. In Istanbul she has worked on the restoration of the Land Walls (1991-1994), Hagia Sophia (1994-2000) and Pantocrator Monastery Church (2001-2004). She is a member of ICOMOS Turkey and is on the scientific committee for Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and The Great Mosque and Hospital in Divriği, monuments which are on the World Heritage List.