Harkness, Sarah Pillsbury

Sarah Pillsbury Harkness

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  • Smith College Graduate School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, M.Arch. - 1939.

Years of practice

1958–1988 (estimated)


  • Employee, Peter and Stubbins, Architects, Boston, MA - 1939-40.
  • Partner, Pillsbury and Vaughan - interior design office and distributors of Artek-Pascoe in Boston - 1940-41.
  • Founder, The Architect's Collaborative (TAC), Cambridge, MA - 1945-87.
  • Principal Emeritus, TAC -current

Professional organizations

  • Joined AIA in 1968
  • Became AIA fellow in 1979

Location of architect’s archive

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University [contents: 1 box, 1 oversize folder containing a book written in 1985; a booklet documenting presentations given in 1991; architectural drawings and photographs from 1996-97 of a house designed in Essex, MA]

Related websites


Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee


Early life and education

Born in July 8, 1914 in Swampscott, Massachusetts, Sarah P. Harkness is renowned for her sustainable designs in architecture and in the New England area.

Career in Architecture

Designer for Dan Cooper in New York (1941-43); Designer for Travelling Exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1943-44).

Major Buildings and Projects

  • New Main Library, Bates College (Lewiston, MA).
  • Olin Arts Center, Bates College (Lewiston, MA).
  • Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA).
  • Art School Addition, Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, MA).
  • C. Thurston Chase Learning Center, Eaglebrook School (Deerfield, MA).
  • Bank Design for the Architectural Form issue “Buildings for 194X” with husband John (1943)

Press and Awards

  • Boston Society of Architects Prize, with husband John Harkness (1941)
  • Special Mention in American Stove Competition with Louis McMillen and Benjamin Thompson (1946)
  • American Association of School Administrators Award (for her design of the Fox Middle School in Bedford, NY – 1967)
  • American Institute of Architects Honor Award (for her design of the Chase Learning Center of the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, MA – 1967)
  • The American School and University Louis I. Kahn Citation (for her design of the Olin Arts Center at Bates College in Lewiston, MA – 1987)
  • The Boston Society of Architects Award of Honor (1991)
  • Women in Design Award of Excellence (2003)


Harkness, Sarah P. Sustainable Design for Two Maine Islands. Boston, Boston Architectural Center, 1985. This book is cataloged for the Rare Book Room, Special Collections. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).

Institutional Affiliations

  • Distinguished Visiting Lecturer and Guest Lecturer, University of Arizona – School of Architecture (Tucson)
  • Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Visiting Critic, Princeton University – School of Architecture
  • Thesis Advisor, Lecturer, Critic and Honorary Member, Boston Architecture Center
  • Faculty Representative, Michigan Institute of Technology – School of Architecture
  • Professional Advisor, Oberlin College – Department of Ecological Architecture
  • Participant of “Design-In” – College of the Atlantic
  • Advancements Board, University of Tennessee
  • Review Committee in Architecture, Louisiana Board of Regents
  • Selection Committee, University of Virginia – School of Architecture
  • Juror, American Institute of Architects (AIA) Design Awards
  • Member – AIA (1968)
  • Fellow – AIA (1979)
  • Member of the AIA Board of Directors (1972-75)
  • Vice President of the AIA (1978)
  • Member of the Boston Society of Architects’ Board of Directors (1979-80)
  • President of the Boston Society of Architects (1985)