Erin Carraher portrait
  • Associate Professor, School Of Architecture
  • Director of Strategy & Partnerships, Equitable Housing & Livability Institute
  • Ivory Fellow, Sorenson Impact Center
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, School Of Architecture

Research Summary

Research interests focus on collaborative, community-engaged projects that address systemic barriers to opportunity through the development of affordable housing, community resources, and alternative learning environments. Current writing focuses on emerging modes of pedagogy and practice that foreground integration and collaboration; community-based design and development of affordable housing; and developing evidence-based tools for material research and selection.


  • Bachelor of Architecture, Architecture, Virginia Tech
  • Master of Architecture, Architecture, Yale University


Erin Carraher (pronounced "CARE-ah-her") is an architect and a tenured faculty member at the University of Utah School of Architecture. A West Virginia native, Erin attended Virginia Tech (B.Arch ‘02) where she received the AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate for first ranking undergraduate and Yale University (M.Arch II ‘04) where she was awarded the Gene Lewis Prize for Excellence in Residential Design. As an associate professor, Erin focuses on collaborative, community-engaged projects in studio and associated courses that immerse students from the earliest stages of their education in the emerging issues of architectural practice.

Her professional and academic work has received top honors at the university, state, and national levels, including the University of Utah’s 2018–19 Public Service Professorship, a position meant to further strengthen community-engaged learning experiences tied to civic engagement through partnerships with local communities. Her research on collaboration and leadership recently resulted in the co-authored the book, Leading Collaborative Architectural Practice (Wiley 2017).

Erin recently returned from sabbatical where she focused on issues related to affordable housing and community resilience on Salt Lake City's Westside through the non-profit, EHLI, the Equitable Housing & Livability Institute, which she co-founded. EHLI partners with corporate, city, university, social service, and community organizations in order to collaboratively address systemic barriers to opportunity for Westside residents through the development of affordable housing, community resources, and alternative learning environments.

Honors & Awards

Ivory Fellow, Sorenson Impact Center - University of Utah, 2018-present

Ivory Innovations brings together stakeholders of public and private organizations to support solutions to the national housing affordability crisis. Through a diverse set of community focused initiatives Ivory Innovations works to empower local leaders to become a part of the national conversation on responsible and sustainable housing development. 


Public Service Professorship, University of Utah, 2018-19

one annual award given university-wide: ”This significant award is designed to help a faculty member strengthen community-engaged learning experiences and opportunities tied to civic engagement, and also foster stronger partnerships with the local community”


Early Career Teaching Award, University of Utah, 2017

up to four awards given university-wide for early-career faculty members who have “demonstrated distinction in teaching, demonstrated by activities that result in increased learning by students, such as the development of new methods or other curricular innovation”


Finalist for the International A+ Awards – Private House XS, Architizer, 2016 (with Jörg Rügemer)

for Girl Scouts of Utah Summer Cabins - The Architizer A+Awards is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products. Its mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life


New Faculty Teaching Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2016

one of three national awards intended to “recognize demonstrated excellence in teaching performance during the formative years of an architectural teaching career”


Young Architect Award, American Institute of Architects, 2016

one of twelve national awards given to architecture professionals who have been licensed ten years or less - “This award is given by the AIA to individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession in an early stage of their architectural career.”


Celebrate U: A Showcase of Extraordinary Faculty Achievements - Creative Works Award, University of Utah, 2016 (with Jörg Rügemer)

one of eight inaugural awards given university-wide for Project: Architecture - the Celebrate U awards honor faculty who authored a book, were primary contributors to a realized creative work, or were the top-funded researchers with their college


Emerging Faculty Award, Building Technology Educators’ Society, 2015

three awards granted in 2015 - biennial award honoring outstanding teaching ability and commitment demonstrated by an emerging faculty member who is early in their teaching career and display excellence and innovation in their teaching performance, methods, and subject matter


Regional Excellence in Wood Design Award, WoodWorks, 2015 (with Jörg Rügemer)

one of seven regional awards granted in 2015 nationally for Girl Scouts of Utah Summer Cabins -“The Wood Design Awards are an opportunity to recognize extraordinary buildings that exemplify, not only wood’s beauty, but the versatility and structural performance attributes that make it such an interesting material to architects and engineers,” said Jennifer Cover, PE, executive director of WoodWorks. “Collectively, this year’s award winning projects celebrate the kind of innovative thinking that continues to expand the possibilities for wood use—and bring wood’s cost, sustainability and other advantages to a wider range of projects.”

Young Architect Award, American Institute of Architects Utah Chapter, 2014

one award granted state-wide 


Design Honor Award (highest level of achievement in design) American Institute of Architects Utah Chapter, 2014 (with Jörg Rügemer)

for Girl Scouts of Utah Summer Cabins The AIA Utah Awards for Architectural Excellence recognize architects whose projects have exemplified architectural achievement: well-designed spaces that leave a positive impact on the client, the environment, and practice in Utah


Collaborative Practice Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2014 (with Jörg Rügemer)

one of four national awards granted for Project: Architecture - the intent of the award is to “honor the best practices in school-based community outreach programs...This ACSA award recognizes programs that demonstrate how faculty, students, and community/civic clients work to realize common objectives. Participation by professional practitioners and colleagues from other academic disciplines is encouraged”


Diversity Achievement Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2014 (with Jörg Rügemer)

one national award granted for Project: Architecture - this award recognizes “the work of faculty, administrators, or students in creating effective methods and models to achieve greater diversity in curricula, school personnel, and student bodies, specifically to incorporate the participation and contributions of historically under-represented groups or contexts”


State Juror Award (top prize), Design Arts Utah, 2014 (with Jörg Rügemer)

one state award granted in professional category for Project: Architecture - The Utah Division of Arts & Museums’ Design Arts Program is dedicated to the promotion of excellence in the diverse fields of design in Utah. We strive to help the citizens of Utah see, experience, use and value the art of design which surrounds us daily


Honorable Mention, Utah Public Interest Design Award, 2014 (with Jörg Rügemer)

one state honorable mention granted for Project: Architecture - the Public Interest Design Award recognizes “excellence in social, economic, and environmental design, the Utah Public Interest Design Awards represent the best example of design that demonstrates truly sustainable projects creating positive change in the world”


Professor of the Year Award, College of Architecture + Planning, University of Utah, 2013

one award given college-wide annually - nominated and voted on by students


Certificate of Excellence, University XCaliber Award for Contributions to Technology–Enriched Teaching and Learning, Virginia Tech, 2011


Award for Excellence in Architecture, Virginia Society American Institute of Architects, 2009 (with OnSite Architecture + Construction)

for Arritt Farm House (Consultant)


Award for Excellence in Outreach, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Virginia Tech, 2005 (with Ben Goslin)

for Co–Directing Virginia Tech’s Solar Decathlon Communication Team


Nominated for the HI Feldman Prize for Top Studio Project, School of Architecture, Yale University, 2004 (with Stephen Van Dyck)

one nomination per advanced studio in the School of Architecture


Gene Lewis Book Prize for Excellence in Residential Design, School of Architecture, Yale University, 2004

one award given annually


Nominated for the Pella Prize for Top Undergraduate Thesis, School of Architecture + Design, Virginia Tech, 2002

 four students nominated by department faculty from entire graduating class


Top Thesis Book Award, School of Architecture + Design, Virginia Tech, 2002