Frank Harmon Architect PA Completes New Lath House for JC Raulston Arboretum


The new structure will help young plants transition to the gardens.  


October 27, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – Frank Harmon Architect PA, an award-winning firm located in Raleigh, NC, well-known for designing projects that showcase and celebrate plant life, has completed the design and construction of the new Lath House at the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University in Raleigh.


The ten and one half-acre JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of plants, shrubs and trees adapted for use in Southeastern landscapes from over 50 different countries. Plants are collected and evaluated in an effort to find superior plants for use in southern gardens. Every October since the early 1990s, the JC Raulston Arboretum gives away literally thousands of rare and choice plants it has cultivated during its Friends of the Arboretum Plant Distribution event.


The Lath House is a key element within the Arboretum’s work. An open-air laboratory for horticultural research, the original structure sheltered approximately 700 young and tender plants that perform best in shade as they transition towards planting in larger gardens.  The new lath house may provide space for 1000 new plantings.


When the Arboretum’s previous lath house needed to be replaced, Frank Harmon, FAIA, volunteered his firm to design a new structure pro bono that would fulfill the specific light-to-shade ratio needed for the plants, using a screen of wood two-by-twos. According to Harmon, the new structure was designed an abstract of a tree that spreads its branches to protect the plants.


“Over the last three decades, the JC Raulston lath house nurtured some of the most successful plants for use in Southern gardens, including hosta, ferns, hydrangea and rhododendron,” Harmon said. “We were honored to be a part of the Arboretum’s mission by designing the new Lath House.”


Other projects the firm has designed that involve support and protection of plant life include the North Carolina Botanical Gardens Visitors Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Prairie Ridge Outdoor Classroom and Garden Pavilion at the NC Museum of Natural Science’s Prairie Ridge Eco-station in Raleigh. The firm is currently designing Prairie Ridge’s future Eco-Lodge, a residential dormitory for students, teachers and visiting researchers.


The design team for the Lath House included Frank Harmon, FAIA, Erin Sterling, AIA, and Will Lambeth, architectural intern. For more information, visit


Located at 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh, the JC Raulston Arboretum is largely built and maintained by NC State University students, faculty, volunteers, and staff. It is named for the founder, former director, and Horticultural Science Department teacher the late J.C. Raulston, Ph.D. For more information, visit



About Frank Harmon Architect PA:

Frank Harmon Architect PA, a multi-award-winning firm headquartered in downtown Raleigh, is recognized nationally as a leader in innovative, modern, and regionally inspired “green” architecture. This year the firm was ranked 13th out of the top 50 firms in the nation by Architect magazine, an annual rating that emphasizes ecological commitment and design quality as much as profitability. Recent projects include Duke University’s Ocean Science Teaching Center in Beaufort, the NC Botanical Garden’s new Visitors Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Merchants Millpond Outdoor Educational building in Gatesville, N.C. The firm’s work has been featured in numerous books, magazines and journals on architecture, including Dwell, Architectural Record, Architect, and Residential Architect. For more information, go to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s