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
modern Sunday School in Charleston

Global Architecture Platform Includes “15 Iconic Projects” by Frank Harmon

modern Sunday School in Charleston

The modern, green Sunday School building for the oldest church in Charleston, SC (Photo by Richard Leo Johnson)

Rethinking The Future.com, an online platform that “encourages and promotes excellence in Architecture on a global scale,” recently added “Frank Harmon Architects – 15 Iconic Projects” to its collection of Design Studio Portfolios. From the introduction:

Frank Harmon Architects is a design studio of architects and designers known for their place-specific approach towards architecture to create universal impacts. Founded in 1983 by Frank Harmon, the studio is recognised [sic] as the makers of modern, sustainable, innovative and regionally appropriate designs…

modern green building Raleigh by Frank Harmon

The AIANC Center for Architecture & Design in downtown Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Tim Hursley)

The editorial team selected 15 of Frank’s projects “that present a blend of modernism and regionalism in their architecture.” CLICK HERE to read more and to see all 15 projects.

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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.

 

Frank Harmon Sketch Aries

Webinar Proposal + CE Credits: “Native Places – Drawing as a Way to See” with Frank Harmon, FAIA

 

Frank Harmon Sketch Aries

 

“I find my sense of hope and possibility renewed in these simple, evocative drawings and the wisdom that accompanies them.” – Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, AIA 2020 Gold Medalist

Celebrated architect and author Frank Harmon, FAIA wants to change the way we see. That’s why he started his online journal Native Places.org six years ago and, more recently, created his book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See.

Frank now offers a webinar free of charge to AIA Chapters. The webinar is about drawing, writing, and the making of architecture. Its goal is to inspire architects by offering a sense of hope and possibility in the closely observed world outside our window.

“Frank Harmon FAIA delighted our audience with inspired thinking while sharing easy tips to challenge the way we see the world.” — Scott Clowney, director of public programs, AIA Washington, D.C.

What, When & How

Through Zoom, BlueJeans, or another video conferencing platform, Frank presents a 40-minute illustrated talk from his home and gardens in Raleigh, North Carolina, followed by a lively question and answer session.

Dates will be scheduled to suit the Chapter’s schedule.

To book Frank’s “Native Places” talk for your Chapter,

contact his publicist, Kim Weiss, at blueplatepr@gmail.com,

or contact Frank directly: frank@frankharmon.com.

ORO Editions Releases ‘Triangle Modern Architecture’

Triangle Modern Architecture by architect/author Victoria Ballard Bell of Raleigh was officially released September 1 and should be available in area bookstores soon.

Published by ORO Editions*, the 250-page book traces the modernist architecture culture in North Carolina’s Triangle region since the late 1940s. It documents the work built here by such early mid-century luminaries as Eduardo Catalano and George Matsumoto; by renowned modernists in the ’60s and ’70s, such as Harwell Hamilton Harris and Jon Condoret; and those upholding the modernist ethos today, including Frank Harmon, Kenneth Hobgood, Phil Szostak, and many others.

A Preface by Frank Harmon (author and illustrator of Native Places) and an Epilogue by George Smart bookend Bell’s volume.

“Triangle Modern Architecture provides compelling evidence that a new generation of architects is building on the Triangle’s rich design legacy,” said David Hill, head of the School of Architecture at NC State University’s College of Design.

“Triangle Modern Architecture provides us a timely insight into the rich history and bold future of modern architecture in North Carolina,” wrote celebrated Arkansas architect Marlon Blackwell in his review, “reminding us that the modernist project in today’s North Carolina is alive and well and most vital in its interpretations and adaptations to local places and typologies.”

For more information on the new 9″ x 11″ hardbound book and to order a copy, visit ORO Editions or the book’s website: trianglemodernarchitecture.com.

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*ORO Editions is also the publisher of Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See.

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.

Luxe Magazine: “A Modern Raleigh Home All About The Outdoors Is A Leading Architect’s Swan Song”

PHOTO BY BRIE WILLIAMS

By J. Michael Welton

When Raleigh, North Carolina, architect Frank Harmon heard what his client wanted in her new home, it must have sounded like music to his ears. “I told him that light was very important, as was access to the outdoors,” says homeowner Sepi Saidi. “I wanted to feel like I’m living outside, with natural light and greenery that feels like it’s coming right into the house.”

As a graduate of NC State University—the same school where Harmon teaches architecture—Sepi was aware the architect had been pursuing that grail for most of his 50-year career. Striking up a friendship with fellow professor Harwell Hamilton Harris, a former protégé of uber-modernists Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, during his tenure left a lasting impact on Harmon, whose own architecture followed suit. His work has come to rely on living in natural light, merging structures and landscape and integrating spatial volumes—concepts he believes enhance the human experience.

The architect’s design for Sepi in Raleigh’s vibrant Cameron Village was no different. A civil engineer at the height of her career, Sepi requested a home that would center her—a retreat from her busy professional life. “Frank endeavored to create privacy in a very dense urban area,” Sepi says. “And he did: The home is simple, with clean lines, and calming.” READ MORE