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Oscar Harris collection

 Collection — Box: 1-77, OS 1-34
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0151

Scope and contents

The Oscar Harris collection consists of materials related to the life and career of architect and artist, Oscar Harris. It includes personal correspondence, family papers for his wife, Sylvia Harris, son Todd Harris, and copies of his parents, Oscar, Sr. and Marjorie, pharmacy school degrees. The collection also contains items related to Harris’ memoir: Oscar: The Memoir of a Master Architect, such as book excerpts, a foreword by Asa Hilliard, and some proposal information. It includes journals for designing his home, “The Wildflower,” memorabilia, awards and certificates he received.

The collection also contains materials related to Harris’ career as an architect and his work as owner of Turner Associates Architects and Planners in Atlanta, GA. It consists of business files, correspondence and planners/appointment books, financial records and records from Harris’ other company, OLH International, and marketing materials. A portion of the collection consists of journals/workbooks that Harris kept on his work and activities at Turner Associates. They include notes and sketches for projects. The largest portion of the collection is made up of materials and items related to Turner Associates’ projects. They include proposals, contracts, and information on projects. Significant projects in the collection include designing the Look of the Olympics, the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, and the Atlanta’s Sam Nunn Federal Center.

Additionally, the collection consists of materials related to the organizations Harris participated in during and after his career. Notable organizations include the American Institute of Architects, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Urban Land Institute.

The collection also includes printed and published materials on Oscar Harris, his work, and his interests. Topics include Harris’ career and the field of architecture. Formats include newspapers, clippings, magazines, and programs.


  • Creation: 1921, 1946-2016, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1990-2005


Access restrictions

Due to the types of materials in the collection, photographs may not be taken of the materials in the collection and photocopies require approval. Please contact the Archives Research Center at about photocopies. Restrictions, where applicable, are noted at the series, sub-series, or file levels.

Rights statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright and/or are the property of the Robert W, Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Biographical note

Oscar Lewis Harris, Jr. is a notable architect, artist, mentor, and author. During his over 40 year career, he created and designed “symbols of civilization” as a part of the Atlanta skyline and other cities in the South.

Harris was born in 1943 in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA to Oscar and Marjorie Harris. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mathematics in 1967. After graduating, he enrolled at Howard University’s School of Architecture. In 1968, he would leave Howard to return to Pittsburgh and attend Carnegie Mellon University. In 1971, Harris received a Master’s in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon.

Harris began his career in Pittsburgh then moved to Silver Springs, MD in 1972. By 1973, he was offered a job from Parsons Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglass, later Parsons Brinckerhoff/Tudor, in Atlanta, GA. During his time at Parsons, Harris worked on designing the Five Points MARTA station. He also worked for JW Robinson Architects. He designed the John Lewis Recreation Center at Morris Brown College for JW Robinson Architects.

In 1977, Harris opened a satellite office of Turner Associates Architects and Planners in Atlanta, GA. The headquarters of the firm was in Washington, D.C. In 1980, Harris bought out ownership of Turner Associates Atlanta. For over 35 years, Turner Associates designed and created memorable structures in Atlanta and elsewhere. Notable projects include MARTA stations: Hamilton Holmes, Perimeter, and Doraville. Other significant projects include Underground Atlanta Revitalization, Fulton County Government Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Visitor Center, Kilgore Student Center at Morehouse College, Atlanta Airport Atrium, Concourse E Atlanta Airport, Centennial Olympic Park light towers, the Look of the Centennial Olympic Games, Olympic Field Hockey Stadium, Atlanta Courthouse, Sam Nunn Federal Center in Atlanta, GA, Augusta Richmond Courthouse in Augusta, GA, Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta, GA, and many more.

During his career, he founded OLH International, a program management company that worked closely with Turner Associates. He served in several organizations, such as fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Georgia State Board of Architects, the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, trustee at Lincoln University, and director and co-founder of the Urban Land Institute National Inner City Council program. Harris received multiple awards throughout his career for his projects included 2003 Small Business Person of the Year from the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneur of the Year from the Atlanta Business League.

Harris married Sylvia Harris in 1971. They had three children: Myka, Todd, and Tarik. Since retiring, Harris has continued to follow his passions and is an artist. His work is inspired by jazz and often feature depictions of buildings and skylines.


60.5 Linear feet (73 manuscript boxes, 3 record storage boxes, 12 pamphlet boxes, 34 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is divided into five series: 1. Personal Papers; 2. Turner Associates; 3. Organizations; 4. Printed and Published Materials; and 5. Audio Visual Material. All of the series are further divided into sub-series. The contents of the series are arranged alphabetically or chronologically. See series notes for each series for more details.

Oscar Harris Collection, 1921, 1946-2016
Finding aid prepared by Brittany Newberry, 2019 September
September 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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