Frank Harmon Discusses The New AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design in New Video

Harmon and landscape architect Gregg Bleam talk about the design process. 

The iconic AIA NC headquarters nears completion in downtown Raleigh.

December 6, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, of Frank Harmon Architect PA, recently posted a new video on his website (www.frankharmon.com) in which he and landscape architect Gregg Bleam discuss the design process behind the soon-to-be-completed AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design in downtown Raleigh.

Segments of the video will be updated as AIA NC (the American Institute of Architects North Carolina chapter) moves in and the landscape matures.

Harmon explains at the beginning of the video that the project is the result of his firm winning a professional design competition. One of the reasons Harmon won, according to the judges, was that his concept for a modern, thoroughly sustainable, and regionally appropriate Center embraced building and landscape as a single interdependent, interlocking whole.

“We knew this was a landscape problem,” Harmon says, because of the oddly shaped, triangular site and the parking requirements. As a result, he enlisted Bleam “before we drew a single line” and felt including Bleam in the video on the building was imperative.

Directed and shot by Allen Weiss of Allen Weiss: Works on Film and Paper in Raleigh, the video

Frank Harmon, FAIA

features Harmon in his warehouse-turned-office in Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood and Bleam in his office in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. It also includes a variety of footage of the building under construction; of Harmon and Bleam walking the site, looking over plans and laughing together; and behind-the-scenes moments in the construction trailer.

This is the first video that Frank Harmon, a multi-awarding winning architect and Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design, has done for his website. Why did he choose this particular project?

“Because of its design, the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design is destined to be an icon in downtown Raleigh,” said Kim Weiss, Harmon’s public relations coordinator. “It’s also the first from-the-ground-up, ‘green’ AIA headquarters in the nation.

“But equally important,” she continued, “is that the general public rarely gets to hear an architect talk about the process that lead to the design of a building, especially one as iconic as this one. Through the video, Frank is creating a rapport with his audience, whether that means students, clients, future clients, or folks just interested in architecture. Together, he and Gregg are communicating more than a written description could.”

She also pointed out that “videos are entertaining. It’s simply a fact that people today are more likely to click on a video than to read a written description.”

The man behind the camera, Allen Weiss, noted how comfortable Harmon and Bleam were in front of the camera. “There was no script,” he said. “They just started talking and were of such a similar mindset that I could easily cut from one to the other as they discussed the design process. I was impressed.”

The video opens and closes with audible off-camera voices. Weiss said he purposefully left the “chatter” in during the edit to give the piece a casual, relaxed feel, “unlike the garden-variety, industrial, talking-head videos that are dry and offer no clues into the personalities behind them. I don’t believe you can separate the product from the dynamic and interesting personalities that lead to its creation. My intention was not only to showcase this important structure, but to allow viewers to get to know Frank and Gregg in a simply, personal, human way.”

To hear Frank Harmon and Gregg Bleam discuss the design process behind the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design, visit www.frankharmon.com and click on AIA North Carolina Center for Architecture Design Video.” To read more about the project, click on “current” projects.

For more information on Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, go to www.gbla.net.

For more information on Allen Weiss, visit www.allen-weiss.com.

About Frank Harmon Architect PA

Frank Harmon Architect PA is an award-winning architectural firm that is recognized nationally as a leader in modern, innovative, sustainable and regionally appropriate design. Its competition-winning design for the AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design is currently under construction in downtown Raleigh. The firm’s work has been featured in numerous books, magazines, journals and online magazines on architecture, including ArchDaily.com, Dwell, Architectural Record, Architect and Residential Architect. The firm ranked 21st in Architecture magazine’s Top 50 firms in the nation this year and Frank Harmon, FAIA, founder and principal, was included in Residential Architect magazine’s first “RA 50: The short list of architects we love.” For more information, go to www.frankharmon.com.

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