The Culture of Place: Architects Discuss America’s Regional Landscape

April 17, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) — For the fourth consecutive year, Raleigh, NC, architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, will present a major seminar at the American Institute of Architect’s National Convention and Design Exposition, to be held this year on May 15-17 in Boston, MA. Unlike his past seminars, however, which were entitled “Architects Discuss America’s New Regionalism,” his 2008 presentation will focus more squarely on “America’s Regional Landscape.”

“For architecture to embody the American spirit, it must conserve, protect and celebrate our rich, varied landscape and culture of place,” Harmon said recently. “Regional architecture engages climate, topography, vegetation and local materials. So we will explore contemporary regionalism’s influence on landscape and architecture, and the techniques used to satisfy social, cultural, economic and environmental needs for sustainability – arguably the most pressing issue of our time.”

Harmon, who is widely recognized as a leading practitioner of sustainable design, will be joined this year by Maryann Thompson of Maryann Thompson Architects in Cambridge, MA, and a member of the Harvard University architecture faculty; and Nader Tehrani of Office dA, Inc. in Boston. Tehrani is also an associate professor architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Each of the three panelists will use their own projects as case studies for the discussion.

“What makes the work important and timely is that the greatest potential for architecture today lies in regional locations – in the sheer number of clients, the variety of landscapes, and the particular ‘sticks and stones’ with which each region has to build,” Harmon said. “This regional manifestation has significance for the world outside itself, both nationally and internationally, as the need rises for every region to rely on its own resources and draw inspiration from its own context.”

Sponsored by Architectural Record magazine, Harmon’s seminar will identify the principles of innovative regional architecture and landscape with the intention of inspiring attending architects and building industry professionals to embrace these principles in their own work, he said.

The theme for this year’s National AIA convention is “We The People: Our Place In The World,” which the AIA website describes as “the right topic for a growing profession that has been challenged to engage the public in designing a more sustainable world.”

For more information on the Convention, visit For more information on Frank Harmon, visit


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