harrison design architecture

Harrison Design Investing in a Brighter Future: The Valuable Relationship Between Architecture and Youth

March 25, 2017

Emily Tuttle and William Harrison – Atlanta, GA

Continuing a long standing tradition of giving back to young people, Harrison Design architects William (Bill) H. Harrison and Emily Tuttle attended local Northwestern Middle School for their annual 7th grade Career Day, joining other distinguished professionals in presenting a glimpse of the working world to the students.

Architect design William Harrison students

Bill Harrison describing design and the life of an architect

In The Classroom

At the request of two young ladies, students at Northwestern Middle School, the Harrison Design architects discussed architecture and what it is to be an architect; explaining what all an architect actually does. Emily had this to say:

“Architecture is more than just building buildings, being an architect is more than just designing them, it’s an all-encompassing lifestyle and your obsession should show through from the smallest detail to the largest.”

Emily enjoys interacting with students; having experience with students before, she’s comfortable interacting and challenging the kids. She has mentored middle school aged students for years and continues to search for new opportunities for youth outreach. She understands that there is value in getting young people involved with architecture; getting them to interact with and appreciate design.

“I think it’s important to see real life examples so students can start to understand their interest and hobbies can take shape into real careers someday.

Emily discusses Architecture Design to Students

Emily Tuttle discusses architecture with students at Northwestern Middle School

In The Community

Harrison Design enjoys a long standing relationship with bringing architecture and design to schools, investing in the future of the community as well as the future and diversity of the industry.

We appreciate the opportunity and thank Northwestern Middle School for extending the invitation to speak with their students.


Nic Charbonneau – Washington, DC

Harrison Design associate Nic Charbonneau recently taught with the ICAA initiative, New Heights, held at the National Cathedral school in Washington, DC. He learned about the pilot program over a year ago and was interested in being involved for a number of reasons, one of which is to reach the next generation and cultivate their interest for architecture.  His experience has shown that architecture is a profession that many people have a natural interest in, yet know very little about it.

“The irony is that the fruit of the profession is something we all experience, every day. The program offers a wonderful opportunity to reach a young crowd and get them to be more cognizant of the built world around them.”

Harrison Design architect teaches at New Heights

Harrison Design associate Nic Charbonneau teaches at New Heights

New Heights

Description of the New Heights program:

The program is for 7th and 8th grade students and will be held at prestigious National Cathedral School in Washington DC and is being facilitated by the Washington DC/Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA-WMA). This will be the 3rd iteration of New Heights. In 2015 and 2016, the national office of the ICAA ran a 10-week program and an intensive program, respectively, for 8th graders at Marymount School in New York City.

For National Cathedral School, the week-long intensive program will bring the students into the world of Classical Architecture and Traditional Urbanism, enabling them to see and understand the built environment through a new prism. The multi-disciplinary program will include interactive classroom sessions, hands-on art studios, and field trip studies, enabling the students to understand everything from the basic building blocks of Classical Architecture to its role in our society.

This will have been the first time the New Heights program was offered in the Washington, DC area, having been held twice already at the Marymount school in New York. It is also being offered in Southern California and Texas this year.

Nic’s Role at New Heights

The Harrison Design associate spoke about the sustainability aspects of traditional design on both the urban and building environments. Charbonneau says, “I gave a brief lesson on walkable and sustainable cities, and then on the natural ways traditional architecture naturally worked with the environment to heat and cool buildings.”

“Personally, I think the most important thing the children could take away is wonder; to wonder about the world they live in, how it got to be that way, and how they can participate in it.”

Charbonneau also led a sketching tour of John Russell Pope’s National Gallery of Art. Describing his tour, he says, “The students sketched the rotunda, did a shade and shadow study of one of the atriums, and then a scale and proportion study of some of the architectural elements in the building,such as columns, doorways, archs, etc.”

Nic Charbonneau talking architecture with students at New Heights

Nic Charbonneau talking architecture with students at New Heights

For the Future

Nic Charbonneau enjoys taking part in programs bringing architecture and design to a younger audience, and particularly New Heights. He says about the program, “With New Heights, the program is brought to a school, so all the students participate, and reaches individuals that otherwise might not have known they had a proclivity or interest.”

Charbonneau looks forward to attending future programs associated with ICAA, particularly those offered in the mid-Atlantic. He proudly serves on the education board for the ICAA.


Kristy Swann – Atlanta, GA

Harrison Design’s Kristy Swann is grateful for her opportunity to mentor local students at Winder-Barrow High School. Swann enjoys being active and interacting with future architects. She thinks it’s important to be encouraging to the young people interested in entering the field of design. Her role as mentor was to offer critique and guidance to a team competing in a shipping container-tiny house design competition.

Teams were required to feature shipping containers as the basic structure, while the designs must give the tiny house the capability to be dismantled and reassembled. Finally, the designs must meet LEED standards.

The Winning Design

The school’s Technology Student Association held an Architectural Design competition in which teams were required to accommodate the trends of today’s millennials who are seeking a simpler, streamlined lifestyle.

Shipping Container Tiny House 1

Angle 1 of Shipping Container Tiny House

Teams were to create a detailed model, while utilizing both indoor and outdoor living arrangements to maximize space. Kristy provided architectural knowledge, but also gave support to the team’s design and creative ideas. She helped the students not only be competitive, but actually receive first place in the competition.


Shipping Container Tiny House 2

Angle 2 of Shipping Container Tiny House


At Harrison Design, we are proud of the roles many of our employees and associates choose to play in their communities. We applaud the individual efforts made by these role models and share in their passion to bring architecture, design, and creative thought to our future generations.
These are important relationships to nourish and we continue to strive for a stronger, brighter, and diverse future for the architecture and design industry.

Special thanks go out to the schools, organizations, programs, and the parents that realize the value in design and help bring architecture to young people.


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