Frank Harmon To Moderate Atlanta Discussion, Present Lecture

Frank Harmon, FAIA

January 15, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – Award-winning architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, will serve as moderator for a panel discussion entitled “Architecturally Speaking: Discussions on Staying Current in Architecture Curricula” during the Winter Symposium presented by American Institute of Architects’ Atlanta, GA, chapter.

The symposium, including a question-and-answer session following the panel discussion, will be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture on Tuesday, January 19th, from 6-8 p.m.

Bringing together three schools of architecture in Georgia, the panelists include George Johnston, director of the Georgia Tech Graduate Program in Architecture; Brian Wishne, dean  of the School of Building Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design; and Tony Rizzuto, associate professor of architect at Southern Polytechnic State University.

The following evening, January 20th, Harmon will present a lecture entitled “Grits, Glass and Steel: The Evolution of Modern Architecture in the South.”

Harmon, an award-winning architect recognized nationally as a leader in modern, innovative, sustainable design, has spent decades studying vernacular buildings – what he calls “buildings with a conscience” — and lecturing on the lessons he has learned from them across the nation.

“Buildings with a conscience have existed in Southern farmhouses and barns for as long as farmers have erected them,” Harmon says. “These are simple structures built of wholesome, vernacular materials, perched on stone piers so rainwater flows under them. They nestle lightly into the hillsides without disturbing the land. They are rooted in their region and embody the principles of livability. And they speak of the Southern culture as eloquently as bluegrass music or clay pots.”

His lecture will examine the elements and themes that inform contemporary Southern architecture — landscape; materials and construction (the “sticks and stones” of a place); weather and climate; roof forms that shelter or collect; and clients — and illustrate the importance of ‘place’ in the process of creating innovative, sustainable, and appropriate contemporary design.

Harmon, who also serves as Professor in Practice for North Carolina State University’s College of Design, notes frequently that these vernacular structures were always “green,” or sustainable, because they had to be.

“Farmers had an instinct for understanding their land,” he said during a radio interview on “The Story” with Dick Gordon. “They never built on the best part of their land; they saved that for their crops, because that was their sustenance. They typically built on a low-rise for good drainage. They knew exactly where the breezes came from to cool their houses and their barns… They knew how to plant trees to shade their houses in the summer… All of these things the farmers did quite naturally. But it was also for survival.”

The AIA Winter Symposium will be held in Georgia Tech’s Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium. For more information contact Brian Buckner at 404-688-4990, ext. 27.

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit

About Frank Harmon Architect PA:

Frank Harmon Architect PA is an award-winning architectural firm based in Raleigh, NC, that was ranked 26th among the top 50 firms in the nation in Architect Magazine’s “Architect 50” ranking for 2009.  Frank Harmon, FAIA, founder and principal, is a frequent design awards jurist and a sought-after speaker on the subject of sustainable and regionally appropriate architecture across the nation. His work has been featured in numerous professional and shelter magazines and in international books on architecture. In 2008, a vacation home he designed in the Bahamas was included in a Wall Street Journal list of “the most influential and inspiring houses built during the past decade.” His firm has received more North Carolina design awards than any other firm in the state and recently won three national accolades: two Custom Homes Magazine’s 2009 Design Awards for residences in Raleigh, NC, and Charleston, SC; and an American Institute of Architect’s 2009 Housing Award for the Charleston home.

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