FRANK HARMON (Photo by Christine Simeloff)
Multi-award-winning architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, grew up in the 1950s on Rolling Road in Greensboro. In the introduction to his new critically acclaimed book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, Harmon relates that he “discovered reading in the Greensboro Public Library” and that he “learned most of what I needed to know to be an architect” playing by his favorite stream, which “ran between rocky banks in East Greenway Park.”
A professor in the NC State University College of Design as well as a practicing architect, Frank Harmon has called Raleigh home for many decades. But on Sunday, January 27, he will return to his hometown when Scuppernong Books hosts a special book-signing event for Native Places and its native son. Free and open to the public, the book-signing event will begin at 3 pm.
Delight in Ordinary Places: Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, nature, and everyday objects and places that first appeared on his popular online journal NativePlaces.org. The sketches convey the delight he finds in ordinary places. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.
Harmon’s goal for Native Places is, in fact, “to transform the way we see,” he says, and to promote his belief that hand drawing offers “an opportunity to develop a natural grace in the way we view the world and take part in it.” He will explain both concepts in his presentation.
What others are saying about Native Places: In a letter to the Harmon, poet, author, and former North Carolina poet laureate Fred Chappell wrote, “Native Places…has afforded me happy pleasures, different from any that I have before derived from a book. It is unusual in many ways, one of which is that it defies strict classification. It is a sketchbook, a memoir, travel journal, aesthetic experiment, a collection of small familiar essays, and maybe in some respects even a manifesto.”
Mike Welton, the architecture critic for the Raleigh News & Observer, calls Harmon’s book “delightful” and suggests that it is “destined to change how we see this world.”
Tom Kundig, FAIA, of Olsen Kundig Architects in Seattle, WA, praises Harmon and his book for “reminding us in brilliant, thoughtful, quiet meditation our unbelievable luck to be alive and to think. A masterful legacy on all levels.”H
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Scuppernong Books is located at 304 South Elm Street. For more information: www.scuppernongbooks.coim (336-763-1919).