2013 Award of Honor: Garage

Photo Credit: Amos Morgan Photography


Honors Archive: Dr. Sharon E. Sutton FAIA


Dr. Sharon E. Sutton FAIA, born 1941, holds degrees in architecture, music, philosophy, and psychology. For 3 years in the early 1960s, she played the French horn in a New York production of "Man of La Mancha," before pursuing interior design studies at Pratt and then architecture at Columbia.

She began her current career as an architecture educator in 1975, and has held positions at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Michigan where she became the first African American woman in the US promoted to full professor in an accredited professional degree program in architecture. She came to the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1998 as a Professor of Architecture, and Director of the Center for Environment, Education, and Design Studies (CEEDS) (which among other programs administers the Denice Hunt K-12 Internship, endowed by the AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable). At UW, she holds a joint appointment in Urban Design and Planning, an adjunct appointment in Landscape Architecture, and serves on the doctoral faculty in the School of Social Work.

Her teaching at UW includes a design studio, a thesis seminar, and a seminar on the ethics of professional practice; she also advises doctoral students, and assists teachers and prospective teachers to utilize design processes in K-12 education. In Spring 2000, CEEDS assumed leadership of the Architecture Department's annual spring charrettes, reorganizing them as interdisciplinary, intergenerational events serving communities in the Seattle area. Her most recent book, Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance: The Places, Power, and Poetry of a Sustainable Society, derives from a K-12 urban design program she founded while at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Sutton's research, focused on youth participation in community development, has received funding from the Aspen Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, Tukwila School District, University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and most recently the Ford Foundation. Formerly a Kellogg National Fellow and a Distinguished Professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), in 1997-1998 she served as President of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). She currently serves as a member of the Seattle Design Commission and on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Parks Foundation.

Professor Sutton frequently lectures at colleges and universities internationally, and keynotes professional conferences in several disciplines – architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, planning, and psychology – and has developed experiential workshops for several AIA components as well as national gatherings, including among others the AIA Diversity Conference. Her fine art has appeared in galleries and museums, and in the collections of business enterprises as well as colleges and universities.

The AIA College of Fellows inducted Sharon in 1995; Donald Watson FAIA of Ithaca sponsored her nomination. She has supported the successful nominations of Jay Farbstein FAIA, Max Bond FAIA, Lorri Sipes FAIA, and Donald King FAIA.


Dr. Sharon E. Sutton FAIA

Dr. Sutton's remarks on "Diversity Matters" at AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference 2006



Good design makes a difference

American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects