Alumni Spotlight: Susan Harris Welker ’84, Architecture


Susan Harris Welker has been a principal and project architect on federal, institutional, and commercial projects for over fifteen years. She graduated with honors from FIU in 1984 with a B.S. in architectural technology and went on to receive a master of architecture degree from the University of Houston in 1999, where she graduated salutatorian.

Citing architects Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava as inspiration, Welker realized she was called to her line of work during an undergraduate architecture course when her lettering exercises were commended for their “incredible beauty” by her professor. In 2004, Welker founded Harris Welker Architects (HWA), which provides architectural and interior design services to clients, both commercial and residential, who have environmentally focused goals. Located in Austin, Texas, HWA prides itself on service that is consistently on time and on budget. A focus on the sustainability, the environment and responsible design is a cornerstone of Welker’s practice, and she speaks regularly on topics such as universal design and green building. The company often renovates institutional and commercial spaces into places that are healthier and more environmentally responsive, and projects include renovations at various schools, feasibility studies at the Austin Convention Center, and the revitalization of a recruit dorm at the U.S. Air Force Base in San Antonio. Welker founded the AIA Austin Architecture in Schools program, which brings architecture to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes in Austin, and the AIA Austin Small Firms Roundtable, which encourages small firms to discuss education, networking, and practice issues.

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