Sharon E. Sutton
|Alma mater||Manhattan School of Music, |
University of Hartford
City University of New York
|Institutions||Pratt Institute, |
University of Cincinnati,
University of Michigan,
University of Washington
Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton (born 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is visiting professor at Parsons School of Design, adjunct professor at Columbia University, and professor emerita at the University of Washington, where she served on the faculty 1998–2016. She became an architecture educator in 1975, having taught at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Michigan where she became the first African American woman to become a full professor in an accredited architectural degree program.
Sutton was educated initially in music, studying French horn with Gunther Schuller at the Manhattan School of Music and latter at the University of Hartford. After earning a B.Music in 1963, she worked as a professional musician in New York City, most notably for Sol Hurok Attractions and in the original cast of Man of La Mancha. In 1967, Sutton enrolled in Parsons School of Design and then Columbia University, where she was mentored by J. Max Bond, Jr. She earned her M.Arch. in 1973 and opened a private practice in 1976. In 1981, Sutton received her MA in psychology from Hunter College; in 1982, she received her M.Phil and Ph.D. in psychology from the City University of New York.
Sutton's focus is community-based participatory research and design with a special emphasis on low-income and minority youth and other disenfranchised populations. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Tukwila School District, the University of Michigan, and University of Washington, among others.
Sutton is author of "When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story about Race in America's Cities and Universities"; Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance: The Places, Power and Poetry of a Sustainable Society; and Learning through the Built Environment. Additionally, she is author of numerous book chapters and journal articles, and is co-editor of The Paradox of Urban Space: Inequality and Transformation in Marginalized Communities.
Sutton is also a noted printmaker and collagist having studied graphic art in independent studios internationally. Her work has been exhibited in and collected by galleries and museums, business enterprises, colleges, and universities, and is part of the Robert Blackburn Collection at the Library of Congress.
A registered architect, Sutton was the twelfth African American woman to be licensed to practice architecture (1976), the first to be promoted to full professor of architecture (1994), and the second to be elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (1995). The ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) honored Sutton with the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award in 1995-96. Sutton received the "Life Recognition Award" from the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1997 and the national American Institute of Architects Whitney M. Young, Jr., Award in 2011. In 2014 and 2017 respectively, she received the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor and the AIA New York Medal of Honor, the highest awards chapters can confer.
Dedicated to improving the living environments of disenfranchised populations, Sutton is currently ethnographic consultant to design studio instructors at Parsons School of Design.