Frank Harmon Designs “Green” UNC-W Oyster Research Hatchery

Architect Frank Harmon, FAIA
Architect Frank Harmon, FAIA

January 30, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) — Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh is designing a thoroughly “green,” 12,000-square-foot Oyster Research Hatchery facility on the Coastal Marine Sciences campus at UNC-Wilmington for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.

The project is an outgrowth of a study Harmon worked on two years ago with the NC Aquarium Division. The study looked at the feasibility of establishing three oyster hatcheries in the state that would produce billions of eyed larvae to help reestablish the state’s oyster population and to educate the public on the oyster’s value to the quality of coastal waters. The hatchery at UNC-W is the first phase of implementing that study.

As with all Harmon-designed structures, the Oyster Hatchery will embrace all the principles of sustainable architecture, from “low tech” considerations, such as careful siting for natural ventilation and lighting, to state-of-the-art technology including geothermal pumps for heating and cooling. Harmon is especially interested in rainwater collection on the hatchery site to provide the water needed for flushing out the labs.

The building is also being designed to allow fresh air ventilation during good weather to eliminate the need for HVAC during spring and fall.

The primary construction materials will be steel and brick, the latter required on the predominately brick UNC-W campus. Recycled materials will be used wherever possible.

Construction should begin in June.

Frank Harmon has extensive experience with projects that blend architecture with enhancement of and education about natural resources, including the North Carolina Botanical Garden Visitors Center at UNC-Chapel Hill; Duke University’s Ocean Science Teaching Center in Beaufort, NC; the Walter B. Jones Center for the Sounds, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia, NC; and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Prairie Ridge Eco-Station. The firm is currently working on Merchants Millpond Outdoor Educational building in Gatesville, N.C., and the Walnut Creek Urban Wetlands Educational Park in Raleigh.

“We like to think that our work has both a soul and a conscience,” Harmon said. “The ‘soul’ is in the spirit of the design and the craft of construction. The ‘conscience’ is found in the fact that our buildings embody a positive union between natural and built environments, each demonstrating a rigorous commitment to sustainable architecture, and to leaving the land a better place than we found it.”

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