Ben (DB) Harrison
I am honored and privileged to have been selected to be a Featured Artist for Putnam Arts Council (PAC) for 2022. I would like to thank the PAC officials and everyone involved.
Being an artist and an award winning Architect, I believe that art, culture, community, and public work are connected. I aspire to use my artistic skills and talents in striving to help in the social and cultural impact. Being an artist has influenced me as an Architect and vice versa, for it allows me to look at many different media types, materials, and assemblies to produce work in the two dimensional, three dimensional, and beyond.
Ben Harrison, also known as DB Harrison, pursuit for both art and architecture started at an early age while growing up in the Carolinas. At the age of five, Ben was studying different types of art along with Georgian and Gothic Architecture. Ben’s mother encouraged him to move forward with architecture by exploring art, design, and construction. She stressed the importance of using his skills and talents to give back to the community. Ben’s mother, an artist herself, showed Ben that being an artist can be done in different media, abilities, and skills.
Ben understood that to become an Architect one must be able to sculpt from the mind as well as the hands, so being able to decipher ideas into two and three dimensional forms of artwork would help in his development of architectural understanding. Ben was grateful for the help in his artistic growth from his middle school teachers and his high school’s Art AP class. These teachers helped Ben explore different styles and forms including ceramics, woodworking, and metal. During this time, Ben was still developing his architectural knowledge through different venues such as being the president of the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) to help not only himself, but others determine what majors to follow in college through engineering and architecture. Ben obtained both his Bachelors and Masters of Architecture degrees at Clemson University.
While at Clemson, Ben used his artistic skills in architectural projects, artwork, and furniture design. Ben was published with a team of students in two (2) Architectural magazines called Metropolis Magazine and Blueprint Magazine for a concrete desk design. Continuing art and design concepts outside of his architectural studios, Ben developed the FCA homecoming float one year, designed T-shirt logos for non-for-profit organizations, and worked with Clemson University Housing in developing master planning, art concepts, and “Green housing” concepts. One of the best collaborations of art, design, and construction was that Ben designed and built the first ever sand volleyball court on Clemson’s campus at the Shoebox Dormitories with Campus Housing officials and a multitude of other students.
Ben believes that the idea of art and architecture can be combined and intertwined in the development of different types of projects exploring this not only in the architectural projects, but also in different forms of art and its media. Ben’s early architectural work started in the South on educational, assisted living facilities, multi-family complexes, and commercial projects while still working on art projects in coordination with multiple colleges including artwork, sculptures, and stage designs. Then Ben moved to the Northeast to continue his experiences working in Boston on higher education and healthcare architectural projects while combining art and architecture to help non-for-profit organizations. Later Ben moved to New York where he worked at Perkins Eastman’s New York City (NYC) office in the healthcare studio on different projects including International projects. Ben wanted to continue to push himself in the different fields of architecture and continue to broaden his experiences in New York State through civil service work.
This led Ben to become Putnam County’s very first County Architect, as a County employee Ben worked with the development, renovation, and construction of projects throughout the County. Ben used his talents, skills, and experience to provide projects that not only benefited the employees but the public as well. Ben’s work for Putnam County includes Carmel Friendship Senior Center in Carmel, Philipstown Friendship Senior Center in Cold Spring, and renovation of Putnam County’s Golf Course in Mahopac. Ben’s work in Putnam County has pushed the County to new heights and led to Ben earning awards for Architectural design excellence. This was shown when Putnam County won an Architectural award for Tilly Foster Farm Educational Institute – Building #8 or “Tilly’s Table” in Brewster, NY which won a 2019 American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State (NYS) Excelsior Award of Merit for Public Architecture for Renovation/Addition. This award winning project was developed with the involvement of County officials, County departments, and facilities workers. Originally the building was a rustic barn which was transformed into an educational center for Culinary Arts Training and Bioscience Education for Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, an event space, and a “farm-to-table” restaurant.
Ben has been recognized individually by winning the 2020 American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State (NYS) Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Award, this individual award “recognizes licensed architects employed in the public sector in New York State whose work on projects within their jurisdiction has furthered the cause of design excellence in public architecture”. One of the remarks from the AIA NYS Rockefeller award was that “Ben Harrison has had a substantial impact on the built environment and creating design excellence within New York State, specifically in Putnam County, for multiple public projects.”
Recently, Ben received the 2021 American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State (NYS) Nelson Frederic Schwartz Community Development Award which recognizes individuals who have a substantial impact on the built environment within the various localities of New York State, or on the State as a whole. While Ben continues in his endeavors as an award winning Architect, he continues to create artwork and contributes to the art community.