Online Now: “A South Forty” in Venice — Exhibition Board & Essay

Frank Harmon Architect, Venice Biennale

Screengrab from the digital exhibition

All of the architects featured in the Venice Biennale’s tribute to contemporary architecture in the American South received an Exhibition Board for displaying photographs of select projects. The Boards also feature essays, written by the architects, that they feel capture the essence of their design sensibilities.

Digital versions of the Exhibition Boards are available online. To see Frank Harmon’s Board and read his essay — which includes a quote from a lecture by his mentor, Harwell Hamilton Harris —  click HERE 

Essay teaser:  “A simple pleasure I enjoy each day is drinking tea from a hand-made bowl…”

 

 

 

Frank Harmon, his buildings and principles, are on display now in the exhibition “A SOUTH FORTY: Contemporary Architecture and Design in the American South” in Venice, Italy

architecture exhibit

“Across the architectural profession, Frank Harmon, FAIA, is the face of North Carolina architecture…[He] has brought to a national audience a glimpse of the unique character and architectural culture of his home state.”

Architect Jeffrey Lee, FAIA, wrote that assessment in his letter to nominate Frank for the 2013 NCAIA Gold Medal. This year, Frank and the work he produced in his former firm Frank Harmon Architect (he is now retired) are included in a special exhibition coinciding with the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale entitled “A SOUTH FORTY: Contemporary Architecture and Design in the American South.” The exhibition is installed in the Great Hall at Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy.

The Venice Biennale, Italian Società di Cultura la Biennale di Venezia, is an international art exhibition featuring architecture, visual arts, cinema, dance, music, and theater. It is held in the Castello district of Venice every two years during the summer. On the preview days, 25,000 artists, collectors, curators, museum directors, and journalists attend, followed by 600,000 visitors in the months after.

The Fay Jones School of Architecture & Design at the University of Arkansas, along with the literary journal Oxford American and modus studio in Fayetteville, AR, organized A SOUTH FORTY “to provide an overview of the current vitality of contemporary architecture and design in the American South…” by looking at the work and principles of architects who practice in the region.”

The criteria for a regional architect’s work to be included in the exhibition reads like a brief narrative of Frank’s projects and the principles that guided him: “…place-based design, attentive to the necessities of climate, materials, labor, and purpose, but also attentive to overlooked or undervalued typologies, constituencies, and locales.”

Awakening

Frank credits his friend and mentor, the late Harwell Hamilton Harris, with his professional osmosis from a modernist architect to a modern regionalist architect who embraces the environmentally sustainable principle of designing houses and buildings based on the context, customs, climate, geology, geography, and topography in a particular region. Regionally appropriate structures use regionally practical materials and feature elements specific to climatic needs.

Harris moved to Raleigh from California in 1962 to teach at NC State University’s School of Design (now College of Design). According to Frank, Harwell taught his students that the most important assets of a region are “its free minds, its imagination, its stake in the future, its energy, and, last of all, its climate, its topography, and the particular kind of sticks and stones it has to build with.”

Frank, in turn, has shared this wisdom with his own architecture students at NC State (some are included in the Venice exhibition), with interns and staff in his former firm, and with fellow practitioners through multiple seminars at state, regional, and national AIA conventions.

sketches by Frank Harmon

From his book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See — Frank’s sketch of an old barn in Deltaville, VA.

Along with Harwell Harris’s influence, Frank credits his study of vernacular architecture, especially old barns and farmhouses throughout the rural South, with his dedication to sustainable, regionally appropriate design. “I’ve learned more about architecture from studying old barns than I ever did in a classroom,” he tells his audiences.

A prime example of his regionally appropriate methodology is the multi-award-winning  Iron Studio that Frank designed for the Penland School of Arts & Crafts in the North Carolina mountains in 2000. That project was featured in Architectural Record in 2014 and is showcased in A SOUTH FORTY.

The Venice Biennale runs through November 21. For more information, click here.

To see a full gallery of Frank’s work, visit www.frankharmon.com.

Frank Harmon residence Raleigh NC

AIA Indiana Welcomes Frank Harmon for CE Webinar “Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See”

Frank Harmon residence Raleigh NC

Frank Harmon residence, Raleigh, NC

From his home in Raleigh, NC celebrated architect Frank Harmon will join members and friends of the Indiana chapter of the American Institute of Architects (Indiana AIA) to discuss drawing, writing, and the making of architecture via a live, illustrated Zoom presentation on Thursday, May 13th, from 4-5 pm.

“My goal is to inspire other architects by offering a sense of hope and possibility in the closely observed world outside our windows,” Frank says as he continues engaging virtual audiences and fans of his book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, across the U.S. Most recently, he shared his book, work, and thoughts with over 90 participants when his own NCAIA section — AIA Triangle — kicked off Frank’s spring events on April 22.

Following his 45-minute program, Frank will lead what has proven to be a lively Q&A session for participants.

The May 13th webinar is approved for 1 AIA LU. Attendance is free but registration is required. Click here to go to the Eventbrite page to do so.

Comprised of four sections across the state, AIA Indiana is based in Indianapolis. For more information, visit aiaindiana.org.

 

Native Places

AIA Triangle Hosts Frank Harmon Lecture

Native Places

Frank Harmon (Photo by William Morgan)

April 22, 2021

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

1 LU credit

Celebrated architect and author, Frank Harmon, FAIA, wants to change the way we see. That’s why he started his online journal NativePlaces.org six years ago and more recently created his book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See. In this program hosted by AIA Triangle, Frank talks about drawing, writing, and the making of architecture.  “The goal is to inspire architects by offering a sense of hope and possibility in the closely observed world outside our windows,” according to AIA Triangle’s announcement.
Frank will present this illustrated lecture via Zoom from his home and garden in Raleigh, followed by a lively discussion and Q&A session.

Upon completion, participants will

  • Explain how drawing can truly change our perception and memory of space;
  • Identify techniques in which writing can help clarify our design ideas;
  • Identify new ways of communicating effectively with clients and public officials; and
  • Explain the concept that writing and drawing will help us discover and express the intangibles that produce good design.

  • Online program – registration required for CE credit
  • Deadline to register is 10:00 am on April 22, 2021. Click here to register.
  • Zoom meeting link will be emailed to registrants the morning of the program
Frank Harmon at Miami Dade College

‘Native Places’ Goes to College — Miami Dade College

Frank Harmon at Miami Dade College

 

Frank recently shared Native Places with a virtual classroom of design students (pictured here) in Miami Dade College’s School of Architecture & Interior Design. To hear the talk that inspired those students to truly see the world around them by sketching it, CLICK HERE.

 

office building Jacobs firm, Arlington, Va

“A Conversation with Esteemed Architect and Special Guest Frank Harmon, FAIA”

office building Jacobs firm, Arlington, Va

Jacobs in Arlington, Virginia

Jacobs, a global professional services firm, will present “A conversation with Esteemed Architect and Special Guest Frank Harmon, FAIA,” on Thursday, August 6, from 1-2 pm, for its Global Federal Architecture Team.

During this virtual event, Frank will share his book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See with  Jacobs team members across the United States and as far away as Kaiserslautern, Germany; Krakow, Poland; and Seoul, South Korea.

Frank’s talk is part of the firm’s Thursday afternoon Architecture Series that Stephen Wakeman, AIA, Division Vice President and National Design Principal, organizes and conducts from his office in Jacobs’ Arlington, VA, location.

“Frank Harmon has had a long, distinguished career as an award-winning architect, author, illustrator, teacher, public speaker and mentor,” Wakeman writes in his invitation to the international team. “His resume speaks volumes about his remarkable body of work. But when you join us on August 6, you will get an intimate look into who he is.”

Wakeman notes that the Raleigh-based architect and author “is a keen observer of nature and the built environment. His beautiful book is a treasure trove of watercolor sketches and meditations on the places he visits. Frank’s enthusiasm for how humans react with nature through architecture is boundless, and his joy for conveying what he sees and learns is contagious.”

He also calls Frank “a masterful storyteller in a world in need of a good story” and suggests that he “will inspire you to dust off your art supplies and get outside to start sketching, recording, and reconnecting with the world around you.”

Since COVID-19 halted in-person events, Frank Harmon has been in demand for the webinar version of his popular lecture on learning to truly see the world — architecture, landscape, everyday objects, and nature — through sketching. He shares excerpts from his book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See (ORO Editions, publisher) and answers questions from those in attendance afterward.

For more information on Frank Harmon’s virtual lectures and how to schedule one for your firm or organization, contact his publicist, Kim Weiss: blueplatepr@gmail.com.

Frank Harmon Native Places

Book Talks in the Time of Coronavirus: Frank Harmon Goes Virtual

Frank Harmon Native Places

FRANK HARMON, FAIA (photo by William Morgan)

On Thursday, May 21, from 5-6 p.m., Frank Harmon, FAIA, will discuss his book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, and his intent to change the way we observe the world around us, via an interactive webinar sponsored by American Institute of Architect’s Washington, DC. chapter.

Architects will receive LU credits by attending.

The virtual event is open to the public but registration is required. To register, click here then click on the red “Attend” button. Attendance fees range from  $10 to $25. How to attend Frank’s talk will be in the confirmation email following registration.

During his talk, Frank will read excerpts from Native Places. He’ll also discuss how sketching influenced his architectural work and taught him to truly “see” and appreciate th vernacular, no matter how ordinary.

The AIA | DC event is part of Frank’s year-long book tour. After traveling to book stores and other venues up and down the east coast and as far west as Tucson, Frank’s tour seemed to stop when the pandemic struck — until AIA | DC proposed a virtual version.

Frank will answer questions from attendees following his talk. He can’t sign books after that, but the AIA |DC  host will direct everyone to the “Buy Now” button on the book’s website: nativeplacesthebook.com

For all the details on the event, including the Learning Objectives, go to AIA | DC’s calendar.

Frank Harmon on US Modernist Radio

“And now for a few minutes with Frank Harmon…”

Frank Harmon Native Places

FRANK HARMON, FAIA (photo by William Morgan)

Beginning May 4th at 3 p.m., Frank Harmon, FAIA, will become a recurring guest on US Modernist Radio: Architecture You Love, the popular podcast hosted by George Smart and Frank King.

Once a month, Smart will introduce the Raleigh architect/author with the tagline “And now for a few minutes with Frank Harmon.” Frank will then read excerpts from his book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See.

“US Modernist Radio is a bright spot in my day,” Frank said. “What a wonderful way to keep in touch with architects everywhere.

Frank Harmon on US Modernist Radio

 About the Podcast:

George Smart, founder and president of the non-profit organization NC Modernist Houses, created US Modernist Radio to appeal to midcentury modern design enthusiasts.  In July 2019, it was included in Dwell magazine’s “Top 9 Design and Architecture Podcasts To Tune Into.”

US Modernist Radio “is both entertaining but informative, and hosts George Smart and Frank King spend each episode interviewing architects, designers, historians, preservationists, advocacy experts, museum curators, homeowners, and others—just about anyone who “owns, creates, dreams about, preserves, loves, and hates Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world.” Click here to listen via an assortment of apps. The live shows load at 3 p.m.

For more information on Frank and Native Places, visit nativeplacesthebook.com.

sketches by Frank Harmon

Special Exhibition of Original Sketches by Frank Harmon Opens at Rebus Works January 23

The Opening Reception will include a Gallery Talk and Book-Signing

Sketches by Frank Harmon

Steam Clock by Frank Harmon

​“I make my sketches very quickly because I’m not trying to make a pretty drawing. My aim is to record, and perhaps to understand, what I’m experiencing and seeing,” explains architect/author Frank Harmon, FAIA, in his book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See.

On January 23 from 7:30 – 9:30 pm, Rebus Works Art Gallery in Raleigh will celebrate the book and its author with an Opening Reception and Gallery Talk for a special exhibition of the same title. On display will be 21 of Harmon’s original/one-of-a-kind, framed, 5”x7” watercolor sketches published in the book.

Frank Harmon never intended to show his sketches as stand-alone artwork, he says. But at home in Raleigh and at every stop along his on-going book tour, he’s persistently asked when they’ll be available for purchase. He was finally talked into it.

The exhibition and sale at Rebus Works will run through February 20th.

Now in its third printing, Native Places, the book, is a collection of 64 sketches paired with very brief essays. The sketches, some of them 30 years old, convey the delight Harmon finds in ordinary places and everyday objects as well as architecture and nature. Inspired by the sketches, the essays convey in only 200 words his memories, insights, and fresh interpretations of what we tend to take for granted.

Harmon has kept a sketchbook in his pocket since he was a student at the Architecture Association in London, he says. “I’d discovered that if I took a photograph of a place, I would probably forget it. But if I sketched it, I remembered that place forever.” He still makes a sketch every day.

sketches by Frank Harmon

Mill Creek Boathouse by Frank Harmon

Through his book and now the Rebus Works exhibition, Harmon hopes to prove “that hand-drawing is not an obsolete skill” and, perhaps more importantly, “…to transform the way we see.” For more information and excerpts, visit nativeplacesthebook.com.

Harmon will give a Gallery Talk on the evening of the Opening. Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh will provide copies of the book and he’ll be happy to sign them, as well.

Rebus Works is located in the Boylan Heights neighborhood at 301-2 Kinsey Street, Raleigh 27603 (919-754-8452). For details and directions: rebusworks.us.

About Frank Harmon

Frank Harmon, FAIA, has designed sustainable modern buildings across the Southeast for 30 years. He discovered architecture as a child playing in the streams and woods of his native Greensboro, North Carolina. His work engages pressing contemporary issues such as “placelessness,” sustainability, and restoration of cities and nature.

A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Harmon is a graduate of the Architectural Association in London and a popular professor of architecture at the North Carolina State University College of Design. He has taught at the Architectural Association and has been a visiting critic at Harvard University, Yale University, and the University of Virginia. He continues to serve as a visiting critic at Auburn University’s renowned Rural Studio.

NC author Frank Harmon, Native Places

Frank Harmon Agrees to Show and Sell Original Sketches Through Two Raleigh Art Vanues

NC author Frank Harmon's Native Places

BROOKS AVENUE, RALEIGH

For the first time, and after receiving many requests, Raleigh architect/author Frank Harmon, FAIA, is about to make a limited number of his original 5” x 7” watercolor sketches available for purchase — drawings lifted straight out of his personal sketchbooks, many of which are published in his new hardback book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See (ORO Editions, publisher).

“At some point during nearly every stop along my book tour this past year, from Charleston to Austin, I’ve been asked when I’m going to sell some of my sketches,” Harmon explained recently. “Friends and colleagues have been asking the same question quite persistently. I’m delighted to finally do so, on a limited basis, through two of my favorite Raleigh art venues.”

NC author Frank Harmon, Native Places

VAN GOGH’S WINDOW

Abie Harrie Studio

On Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, from noon until 6 p.m., 10 of his original sketches will be part of a special event in architect/artist Abie Harris’s studio at 222 Hawthorne Road, Raleigh. Harmon’s drawings will be shown and sold alongside original work by four well-known Raleigh artists: Drew Deane, Corey Mason, Bert Sultz, and the show’s host Abie Harris.

Rebus Works

Also on December 8, from 1-5 p.m., Rebus Works in Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood will display 21 original sketches published in Native Places during the 2019 Boylan Heights Art Walk. Presented in related groups of three, the drawings will remain in the gallery and for sale from the 8th through, and after, an official Opening & Gallery Talk that Rebus Works is planning for January 23rd (details to be announced soon).

NC architect, author Frank Harmon, Native Places

RURAL STUDIO

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh’s leading independent book store, will make copies of Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See available at Rebus Works throughout the run of Harmon’s exhibition before and after the January Opening. Rebus Works is located at 301-2 Kinsey Street, Raleigh.

And where’s Frank?

That Sunday, Frank Harmon himself will be on hand for the two shows – at one time or another. “It will be very interesting,” he said with a smile. “And I can’t wait to see everyone at both.”