Sharon Sutton

Sharon Sutton

Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton (b. 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a professor of architecture and urban design, adjunct professor of social work, and director of the Center for Environment Education and Design Studies (CEEDS) at the University of Washington, where she has been on the faculty since 1998. She became an architectural 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, as a result of the civil rights era affirmative action efforts, was recruited to Columbia University where she earned her M.Arch. in 1973. In 1981, she 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 the University of Washington, among others.

Sutton is author of Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance: The Places, Power and Poetry of a Sustainable Society (Bergin and Garvey, 1996) and Learning through the Built Environment (Irvington, 1985), author of numerous book chapters and journal articles, and co-editor of The Paradox of Urban Space: Inequality and Transformation in Marginalized Communities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Sutton is also a noted printmaker and collagist. Her fine art 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 second African American woman elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1995. The ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) honored Sutton with the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award in 1995-96.[1] Sutton received the "Life Recognition Award" from the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2011 Sutton received the national American Institute of Architects Whitney M. Young, Jr., Award.


  • Sutton, Sharon E., and Kemp, Susan P., editors, The Paradox of Urban Space: Inequality and Transformation in Marginalized Communities, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2011 ISBN 978-0-230-10391-7
  • Sutton, Sharon E., Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance: The Places, Power and Poetry of a Sustainable Society, Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Westport, 1996.
  • Sutton, Sharon E., Learning through the Built Environment: An Ecological Approach to Child Development, Irvington Press, New York, 1985.


External links

  • AIA Seattle Honors Archive
  • on Whitney M. Young Jr. Award