Oscar Harris held a presentation and book signing of his book, “The Memoir of A Master Architect,” at Florida A&M University’s School of Architecture and Engineering Technology on Wednesday.
Harris received his master’s degree in architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also serves as a member on the Board of Trustees. He is also the founder of Turner Associates Architects and Planners Inc., one of Atlanta’s leading architectural and planning firms.
His innovative work includes Concourse E and Atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta-Fulton County Courthouse, the Centennial Olympic Park and more iconic structures.
He is the founder of The Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry youth mentorship program that began in 2004. According to diversiitycompete.com, ACCI’s goal is to develop creative abilities to promote greater diversity in architecture, construction and engineering.
He started an architecture firm at 32 years old. As an entrepreneur, Harris created career opportunities for alumni through Turner Associates, OLH International, International Aviation Consultants and the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry.
Harris is an artist, author and mentor. Harris, born in Pittsburgh, Pa., spoke about his childhood, his interest in building and constructing ideas and education.
Harris said he was privileged to travel with his family and met Walt Disney. He showed his drawings to Disney and Disney said, “He is going to be somebody.”
“The Memoir of A Master Architect” explains his transition of becoming one of the most influential minority architects of his time. Through the book, Harris strives to educate and inspire students.
FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean Ann W. Kimbrough and Harris collaborated to tell his story. Harris served as her mentor while she was a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).
Kimbrough seeked advice from Harris on story ideas while at the AJC.
“Harris enjoyed the process,” Kimbrough said.
Harris said exposure is an important factor when it comes to having a successful career. He stated it is about your mind, passion, spirit and who you surround yourself with.
“Be aware of the people you surround with,” Harris said.
He suggested the students take opportunities offered during their matriculation of their college career.
“Build a solid foundation, so you can be an entrepreneur,” Harris said.
Harris is currently focused on his art. Drawing is his strength and jazz music is his inspiration. His art reflects a mosaic encompassing different colors, textures and themes.
Ijay Ogala, second-year architecture student from Lagos, Nigeria., said Harris set the bar for future entrepreneurs.
“Harris set the standards for architecture students when it comes to entrepreneurship,” Ogala said.
For information on “The Memoir of A Master Architect,” visit oscarharrisfaia.com.