Wallace K. Harrison

CFA Service: 1955–1959

The architect Wallace Kirkman Harrison’s work in the mid-twentieth century is characterized by large, modernist public projects and office buildings. As a young man, Harrison took classes in engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and in architecture at the Boston Architectural Club; he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in the early 1920s. He worked for McKim, Mead & White and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue from 1916 to 1923, and later formed a series of architectural partnerships until 1941, when he joined with Max Abramowitz to form the firm of Harrison & Abramowitz. Harrison participated with the architectural teams designing the art deco Rockefeller Center complex in New York City, which was completed in 1939. Through this project, Harrison met Nelson Rockefeller, for whom he would later serve as a designer and architectural advisor, notably in the years when Rockefeller was governor of New York. Among Harrison’s most noted projects are the United Nations complex, the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Empire State Mall in Albany. He also developed the design for the Pershing Memorial in Washington, D.C. Harrison’s honors and awards include a Rotch Traveling Scholarship in 1922 and an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1967.