Back to Blog December 6, 2022

Professor Sally Harrison Honored at 2022 AIA Philadelphia Awards

Author: Emily Herbein

Professor of Architecture Sally Harrison is being honored with the 2022 Alan Greenberger Award from AIA Philadelphia. This annual award recognizes Community Design Collaborative leaders and AIA members for their commitment and service to the organization’s mission. Harrison is a registered architect, educator, and scholar. She is also co-founder of The Urban Workshop, a social impact design collaborative at Tyler School of Art and Architecture that engages underserved communities in creating environments that are beautiful, just, and sustainable.                                      

Harrison called her recognition from AIA Philadelphia a “great honor.” Having worked in social impact design for several decades, she reflected that “This kind of work is challenging, requiring as much imagination as any other work in the architecture field, especially when collaborating with people who are anxious to improve their physical environment under circumstances that some might find intolerable.” 

"Design in stressed communities is founded on building long-term relationships with people that trust that you as a professional architect are giving the highest quality of design that you can." Harrison recognizes how meaningful beauty of a place can be to a community; she seeks to offer a vision that may not have been thought possible." 

Harrison’s work is deeply connected to Tyler, and one of her proudest achievements is serving as the Director of The Urban Workshop, an initiative that takes on social impact design projects with students and faculty. Currently, the Workshop is engaged with Variety of Children’s Charity on a project to design an inclusive space for neurodivergent children. “A lot of interesting research has been done around how people with specific disabilities experience and relate to a space. What does a child with autism see? How do they respond to light, lecture and color? Recognizing our shared humanity, really brings home to me is how powerful and subconscious the experience of the built environment is for all of us. It affects our emotions and our understanding of our physical place in the world.” 

Harrison described today’s passionate generation of students as “quite open to issues of equity and inclusivity. They’re courageous, they want to engage. I hope that I’ve been able to serve as a mentor to them and that their careers in architecture or other design fields will be infused with this notion that you can do well and do good at the same time without sacrificing the highest quality of design that you can give.” 

The annual AIA Philadelphia Design Awards will be held on December 8.