Sarah A. Zimmerman, architect, artist, and animal lover, died unexpectedly in her sleep on November 21, 2018. She was 61.
Born in New York City, Sarah spent her early childhood on the campus of Stanford University where her father taught law, sparking a lifelong love affair with California. Although the family relocated to Washington, DC in 1965, Sarah kept California in her sights, and moved to San Francisco following graduation from Vassar College in 1979 with a degree in English literature. After obtaining a Master’s in Architecture from UCLA, she worked for several prestigious architectural firms in the Bay Area and Los Angeles including Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Johnson Fain Partners, before launching a successful solo practice based in Albany where she has lived since 1991.
Sarah grew up with a sketchbook in her hand. She drew and painted landscapes, buildings, people, cats, dogs, and many horses. She was an avid rider in high school. She also loved to travel, spending a memorable rainy year in Dublin studying Irish literature, art and history, and a carefree sunny summer in Provence. She was exhilarated by recent trips to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Next to California, the place she loved most was Cape Cod, relishing summers in the small town of Truro and returning whenever she could to walk the beaches and swim in the Atlantic. At home in the Bay Area, she enjoyed the long views of Point Reyes and walking the foothills behind Stanford and in Tilden Park. She was passionate about animals, particularly her dogs, Merlin and Finnegan, and was a fixture of the local dog-owners’ community.
Her love of place and her artistic talent found a perfect synthesis in architecture and design. Over her 30-year career she worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from high rises and hospitals to educational, research and civic buildings. Private commissions for individual clients were what she enjoyed most. Her work can be seen in homes in San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin, Santa Cruz, Redwood City, Ojai, and Washington, D.C.
Sarah is survived by her brother, Lyle, of London, and her sister, Miriam, brother-in-law, Steve York, and niece, Rebecca York, all of Takoma Park, Maryland. Sarah’s parents, Edwin and Caroline Zimmerman, predeceased her. She is also survived by extended family and friends, and by her beloved dog, Finnegan.