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AIA Austin Welcomes Architect/Author Frank Harmon, FAIA, and His New Book “Native Places”

Austin Central Library

Frank Harmon, FAIA, a multi-award-winning architect from Raleigh, North Carolina, and the author of the critically acclaimed book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, will be in Austin Tuesday, November 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a lecture and book-signing event hosted by the Austin chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin).

As the architect of the modern, thoroughly sustainable AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design building in Raleigh, he will also address AIA Austin’s plans for a similar structure.

Frank Harmon’s appearance is part of AIA Austin’s “Design Talks” Luncheon Series held in the Lake | Flato-designed Austin Central Library.

“AIA Austin is thrilled to welcome an architecture and drawing master like Frank to Austin,” said Ingrid Spencer, Executive Director of AIA Austin and the Austin Foundation for Architecture. “Because Frank designed the only ground-up Center for Architecture in the country, and we’re striving to create such a place in Austin, we are extra excited for his visit.”

After a brief AIA Austin Annual Meeting, architect and professor Lawrence Speck will introduce Harmon, who will then discuss and read excerpts from Native Places and share his reasons for writing it. One of those reasons is his lifelong belief that drawing offers the opportunity “to transform the way we see” the world around us.

“Sketching allows us to see what we might not have noticed,” Harmon says. “It allows us to be present.”

Frank’s tiny watercolor set sits on the counter with ‘Native Places’

Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, nature, everyday objects, and ordinary places. The pairs first appeared in his popular online journal NativePlaces.org.

The sketches in Native Places, some of which are 30 years old, convey the delight the architect finds in these places and things. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.

Seattle architect Tom Kundig, FAIA, calls Harmon’s book “a masterful legacy on all levels.” Architect Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, offers this:

Native Places provides a reflective pause in my busy day to consider the humanity of buildings and places. I find my sense of hope and possibility renewed in these simple, evocative drawings and the wisdom that accompanies them.”

BookPeople, the leading independent bookstore in Texas since 1970, will make copies of Native Places available for purchase so attendees can get them signed by the author.

Advance tickets for the November 12 “Design Talks” event are $30 for AIA and Allied AIA members, $15 for Associate members and students, and $40 for non-members. Tickets purchased at the door November 12 will be $40 for AIA and Allied AIA members and $20 for Associate members and students. To register and secure advanced tickets click here.

Austin Central Library is located at 710 West Cesar Chevez Street, Austin, TX 78701 (512-452-4332). For more information on the November 12 event and AIA Austin, visit aiaaustin.org.

For more information on Frank Harmon and Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, visit nativeplacesthebook.com.

 

Readers' Favorite Review Native Places

Book Review: “Profoundly relevant observations about life and place”

by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite®, Oct. 26, 2019

Sketching is a fine art of suggestibility and essence, and it is not properly relegated only to the physical artist. In writing, sketching is done with quick vignettes, following the same imperatives: Suggesting briefly, catching the essence, engaging the imagination.

In Native Places, a most wonderful compilation and combination of physical and written sketches about life and place, Frank Harmon adds this personal observation: “But if I sketched it, I remembered that place forever.”

…a most wonderful compilation and combination of physical and written sketches about life and place…

Harmon is an architect. As such, he has a keen eye for the manner in which human beings reveal themselves in their buildings, including as equally important the manner in which they “context” these structures within gardens, trees, and other unique local environments. “I learned to trust the particular over the general,” he writes, “in many ways like writers who are more attuned to the particular.”

Frank Harmon’s observational eye is equal to his conceptual one. And in Native Places, he makes profoundly relevant observations about life and place. “Historians usually ignore what we’ve come to know as the vernacular. Yet the motives of the makers of vernacular buildings and places are practical, and the result is often aesthetic.” Chew on that one for a while, and appreciate the power of what Harmon refers to as “ordinariness”.

Spending quality time with the lovely sketches in this book – both physical and conceptual, painted and written – is like attending to daily meditations about spiritual matters, but without the guilt or sense of obligation. What remains is the pure, essential pleasure, if brief, of human celebration.

Book Rating: 5 Star
Readers' Favorite review 5 star seal

WALTER magazine: “Frank Harmon shares his sketches of North Carolina”

Hewitt Pottery, Pittsboro, NC, by Frank Harmon

Whether you’ve lived here for decades or just a few months, it’s easy to be oblivious to your surroundings. In Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, architect Frank Harmon reminds us to see beauty all around through a collection of sketches and notes he created over the years. “Since I was a boy, sketching has proved invaluable. If I took a photograph of a place, I would forget it. But if I drew it, I would remember it forever,” he says. By putting pen to paper, Harmon turns ordinary scenes into extraordinary ones and finds joy in the familiar. “I hope readers will share my delight and find some native places of their own… and perhaps even draw.” READ MORE

Charlotte’s Park Road Books Welcomes Frank Harmon and ‘Native Places’

Park Road Books, Charlotte’s oldest continuously operated independent bookstore, will host a presentation and book-signing event with celebrated Raleigh architect/author Frank Harmon, FAIA, and his new book  Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See on Sunday, April 28, 2-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, nature, everyday objects, and ordinary places, which first appeared on his popular online journal NativePlaces.org. The sketches convey the delight he finds in ordinary things. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.

Former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell describes Harmon’s unique book as “a sketchbook, a memoir, travel journal, aesthetic experiment, a collection of small familiar essays, and maybe in some respects even a manifesto,” adding, “Native Places…has afforded me happy pleasures, different from any that I have before derived from a book.”

Harmon is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a multi-award-winning practitioner, and a former professor at NC State University’s College of Design. His mission for Native Places is “to transform the way we see,” he says, and to promote his belief that hand drawing offers “an opportunity to develop a natural grace in the way we view the world and take part in it.”

Mission accomplished, according to Mike Welton, the architecture critic for the Raleigh News & Observer. In his review of the book, Welton suggests Native Places is “destined to change how we see this world.” And among praise from prominent architects, Tom Kundig of Olson-Kundig in Seattle calls Harmon’s book “a masterful legacy on all levels.”

Park Road Books is located at 4139 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28209 (704-525-9239). For more information, visit www.parkroadbooks.com.

To see a video about Frank Harmon and Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See and read excerpts from the book, visit the book’s website (nativeplacesthebook.com) and Facebook page.

Flyleaf Books Welcomes Architect/Author Frank Harmon and ‘Native Places’ February 10th

Multi-award-winning architect/author Frank Harmon, FAIA, who designed the NC Botanical Garden Visitor Education Center on Old Mason Farm Road, will be in Chapel Hill on Sunday, February 10, when Flyleaf Books hosts a special event to celebrate his new book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way of Seeing.

Free and open to the public, the event will begin at 2 pm when Chapel Hill architect Phil Szostak, FAIA, introduces his friend, colleague, and mentor. Harmon will then discuss the genesis of his book and his passion for sketching in a 20-minute presentation. After a Q&A session with the audience, he will sign copies of Native Places, which will be available for purchase at Flyleaf.

Delight in Ordinary Places 

Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with 200-word essays he’s written about architecture, nature, everyday objects and places that first appeared on his popular online journal NativePlaces.org. The sketches convey the delight he finds in ordinary places. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.

Harmon’s goal for Native Places is, in fact, “to transform the way we see,” he says, and to promote his belief that hand drawing offers “an opportunity to develop a natural grace in the way we view the world and take part in it.” He will explain both concepts in his presentation.

“Each essay and corresponding drawing helped me appreciate the beauty in all types of buildings and the natural world that surrounds them.”

What others are saying about Native Places

In a letter to Harmon, poet, author, and former North Carolina poet laureate Fred Chappell wrote, “Native Places…has afforded me happy pleasures, different from any that I have before derived from a book. It is unusual in many ways, one of which is that it defies strict classification. It is a sketchbook, a memoir, travel journal, aesthetic experiment, a collection of small familiar essays, and maybe in some respects even a manifesto.”

“It’s accessible and beautiful writing that’s thought-provoking, spiritual and uplifting. It’s like he knew what we needed,” said Julieta Sherk, landscape architect, professor, and J. William Fulbright Global Scholar.

And among the many positive reviews on Amazon, one reader offers: “This book is inspiring, educational and uplifting. Each essay and corresponding drawing helped me appreciate the beauty in all types of buildings and the natural world that surrounds them. During these troubled times, we need books like this to remind us to take time to appreciate our surroundings. The combination of Frank Harmon’s artwork and his well-written essays opened my eyes to a new and positive way of viewing architecture and nature.”

Flyleaf Books is located at 752 MLK Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill. For more information visit www.flyleafbooks.com (919-942-7373).

For more details on Frank Harmon and Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, visit the book’s website, nativeplacesthebook.com, and Facebook page.

WUNC 91.5: ” ‘Native Places’ Encourages Readers To Appreciate The Design Around Them”

By Laura Pellicer & Frank Stasio

Frank Harmon has made a career of designing buildings that reflect their owners and the landscape. In 2013, the architect started a blog to celebrate the beautiful and often humble designs he encountered. The process for the posts was rather simple…

CLICK HERE to go to the recording of host Frank Stasio interviewing Frank on “The State of Things.”

Scuppernong Books in Greensboro Welcomes Native Son Frank Harmon and ‘Native Places’ on January 27

Frank sketching

FRANK HARMON (PHOTO BY CHRISTINE SIMELOFF)

Multi-award-winning architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, grew up in the 1950s on Rolling Road in Greensboro. In the introduction to his new critically acclaimed book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, Harmon relates that he “discovered reading in the Greensboro Public Library” and that he “learned most of what I needed to know to be an architect” playing by his favorite stream, which “ran between rocky banks in East Greenway Park.”

A professor in the NC State University College of Design as well as a practicing architect, Frank Harmon has called Raleigh home for many decades. But on Sunday, January 27, he will return to his hometown when Scuppernong Books hosts a special book-signing event for Native Places and its native son. Free and open to the public, the book-signing event will begin at 3 pm.

Van Gogh’s window

Delight in Ordinary Places: 

Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, nature, and everyday objects and places that first appeared on his popular online journal NativePlaces.org. The sketches convey the delight he finds in ordinary places. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.

Harmon’s goal for Native Places is, in fact, “to transform the way we see,” he says, and to promote his belief that hand drawing offers “an opportunity to develop a natural grace in the way we view the world and take part in it.” He will explain both concepts in his presentation.

What others are saying about Native Places: 

In a letter to the Harmon, poet, author, and former North Carolina poet laureate Fred Chappell wrote, “Native Places…has afforded me happy pleasures, different from any that I have before derived from a book. It is unusual in many ways, one of which is that it defies strict classification. It is a sketchbook, a memoir, travel journal, aesthetic experiment, a collection of small familiar essays, and maybe in some respects even a manifesto.”

Mike Welton, the architecture critic for the Raleigh News & Observer, calls Harmon’s book “delightful” and suggests that it is “destined to change how we see this world.”

Tom Kundig, FAIA, of Olsen Kundig Architects in Seattle, WA, praises Harmon and his book for “reminding us in brilliant, thoughtful, quiet meditation our unbelievable luck to be alive and to think. A masterful legacy on all levels.”

Scuppernong Books is located at 304 South Elm Street. For more information: www.scuppernongbooks.coim (336-763-1919).

For more details on Frank Harmon and Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, visit the book’s website (nativeplacesthebook.com) and Facebook page.

Frank Harmon book signing at Edisto Art Guild

Edisto Art Guild to Host Architect/Author Frank Harmon and ‘Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See’

Frank Harmon book signing at Edisto Art GuildArchitect and author Frank Harmon, FAIA, who designed the modern, award-winning Sunday School addition to the historic Circular Congregational Church in Charleston and the “Seven Sisters” residence on St. Helena Island, will present his new, critically acclaimed book  Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See when the Edisto Art Guild hosts a book-signing event on Monday, January 14, in the Edisto Beach Civic Center.

Free and open to the public, the Art Guild’s event will begin at 6:30 pm when South Carolina architect Lloyd Bray introduces the Raleigh, NC-based author. Harmon will then give a presentation about his book and his passion for hand sketching. After a Q&A with the audience, he will sign copies of Native Places, which will be available for purchase in the civic center.

Delight in Ordinary Places:  Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, everyday objects and sites, and nature that first appeared on his internationally popular blog NativePlaces.org. The sketches convey the delight he finds in ordinary places. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.

Harmon’s goal for Native Places is, in fact, “to transform the way we see,” he says, and to promote his belief that hand drawing offers “an opportunity to develop a natural grace in the way we view the world and take part in it.” He will explain both concepts in his presentation.

What others are saying about Native Places: In a letter to the author, Fred Chappell, poet, author, and former North Carolina poet laureate, wrote, “Native Places…has afforded me happy pleasures, different from any that I have before derived from a book. It is unusual in many ways, one of which is that it defies strict classification. It is a sketchbook, a memoir, travel journal, aesthetic experiment, a collection of small familiar essays, and maybe in some respects even a manifesto.”

Mike Welton, the architecture critic for the Raleigh News & Observer, calls Harmon’s book “delightful” and suggests that it is “destined to change how we see this world.”

Tom Kundig, FAIA, of Olsen Kundig Architects in Seattle, WA, praises Harmon and his book for “reminding us in brilliant, thoughtful, quiet meditation our unbelievable luck to be alive and to think. A masterful legacy on all levels.”

The Edisto Beach Civic Center is located at 42 Station Court, Edisto Island, SC. (edistoartguild@gmail.com)

For more details on Frank Harmon and Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, visit the book’s website (nativeplacesthebook.com) and Facebook page.

Native Places

Review: How the Quick Daily Drawing Puts Humanity Back into Architecture

Native Places

(“Back to the Future in London” by Frank Harmon)

From COMMON \ EDGE by Michael J. Crosbie

First published Oct. 23, 2018

Architect Frank Harmon has a discipline: he tries to do a freehand drawing every day. He doesn’t spend much time on them. About five minutes. These short spurts of depiction have the effect of catching lightning in a bottle or, as Virginia Woolf once said about the importance of writing every day, “to clap the net over the butterfly of moment.” To capture these moments you must be fast. The minute moves. Harmon’s drawings feel loose, fuzzy at the edges. You sense their five-minute duration.

Architecture students often are terrified of the quick sketch because of this very looseness, a sense of relaxed attentiveness. They strive to make a “pretty” drawing instead of netting the butterfly. The pretty drawing is evidence of detailed observation, perhaps one’s skill in constructing perspective, the control of the instrument in your hand. But that’s not the point of Harmon’s drawings. Their freeness communicates a different value and goal: to be in the moment, sketching swiftly to seize the scene as it unfolds before you. Harmon’s flickering hand imparts great energy to his drawings, which are less documentary and more like a visual embrace—the kiss of his ink pen and watercolor brush.

Harmon has collected scores of his drawings in a new book, Native Places (ORO Editions, 2018)… READ THE FULL REVIEW

The Art of Native Places: FOUNDATION Hosts Opening Reception, Book Signing for Frank Harmon and Fall Exhibition

For almost a decade, the underground bar in downtown Raleigh called FOUNDATION (in all caps) has celebrated the wealth of artistic talent in the Triangle region by displaying local artists’ works on its walls beneath Fayetteville Street. The exhibitions change seasonally with one piece by the featured artist emblazoned on the cover of FOUNDATION’S menu during that season.

For its Fall 2018 exhibit, FOUNDATION will present a different type of show than usual. This one will feature a selection of hand-drawn sketches and the brief essays that accompany them in Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, a new book by renowned Raleigh architect/author/artist/professor Frank Harmon, FAIA.

Free and open to the public, the opening reception/book signing will be held this Sunday, September 30, from 2-4 pm. (Anyone under 21 will have to leave promptly at 4 when the bar begins selling alcoholic beverages.) The exhibition will run through December.

During the reception, Harmon will give a brief talk about Native Places and the many benefits of sketching, then sign copies of his book. The book will be available for purchase from a bookseller representing Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

FOUNDATION is located downstairs from the “American Underground @ Raleigh” awning at 213 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC 27601 (919-896-6016).

Native Places by Frank Harmon“To Change The Way We See”

Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 watercolor sketches paired with brief essays about architecture, landscape, everyday objects, and nature. The sketches convey the delight the author finds in ordinary places. The 200-word essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what readers might have taken for granted.

“My goal has always been to change the way we see,” Harmon said, referring to his popular blog NativePlaces.org, which inspired the book. “I’d like to enable people to notice what’s in their backyards. And it’s satisfying to give people something quiet in their morning inbox amongst the deluge of emails.”

Native Places is currently available on Amazon and at Quail Ridge Books. For more information, visit nativeplacesthebook.com and follow the Facebook page for future events and other news.