North Carolina “Starchitect” Frank Harmon, FAIA, Celebrates Career, Retirement Nov. 19

Frank Harmon, FAIA. (photo by William Morgan)
Frank Harmon, FAIA. (photo by William Morgan)

On Thursday evening, November 19, from 6-8 p.m., multi-award-winning architect, professor, author, and artist Frank Harmon, FAIA, will thank friends, colleagues, and clients for a 50-year career that saw him rise to the top of his profession when he officially announces his retirement during an oyster roast and champagne toast.

Harmon’s retirement party will be held at the thoroughly “green” Modern building he designed and where his office has been located for the past three years: the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design, 14 East Peace Street, in downtown Raleigh. Free and open to the public, the event is part of North Carolina Modernist Houses‘ “Thirst4Architecture” series. Anyone who wishes to attend should email

Since founding his firm in 1985, Frank Harmon has received dozens of local, regional, and national design awards and other professional honors, including the 2013 F. Carter Williams Gold Medal, the highest honor the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects presents.


See AIA NC’s 2013 Gold Medal presentation,which includes a history of Frank Harmon and his work:


An AIA Fellow and Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design, Harmon has built his illustrious reputation on designing modern, innovative, sustainable, and regionally appropriate buildings of all types, especially environmental education facilities. As another AIA Fellow, Jeffrey Lee, once wrote of his friend and colleague:

“Across the architectural profession, Frank Harmon, FAIA, is the face of North Carolina architecture. Through his words, his deeds, and the work of his firm, he has brought to a national audience a glimpse of the unique character and architectural culture of his home state [and his work] is an architectural presence so deeply rooted to the influence of place that one can hardly imagine it existing elsewhere.”

When asked why he’s decided to retire now, Harmon grinned. “I don’t think one ever retires. You simply do other things. But one of our goals in life is to be happy, right? I’ve decided to pay attention to that. I realize now that a visit from my daughter, a trip to London to see my son, a simple dinner with friends, or the shape of a flower in my garden gives me more happiness than designing another building.”

Yet he admits he’ll miss his practice:

“Of course this is bittersweet. I’ll miss coming to the office each day to work with bright young people and to work with craftsmen and builders I respect. But they will continue to do new and better things, which I will enjoy. The future of architecture is good in their hands.”

For the past few years, Harmon has acquired a devoted following for his blog “Native Places,” a collection of thoughts and hand-drawn sketches that illustrate the value of looking closely at buildings and places. (Custom Home Magazine features Native Place on its website.) More recently, he began writing a similar monthly piece for Midtown Magazine that he calls “Everyday Places.”

Perhaps both columns were foreshadowing: After a rewarding 50-year career as a practicing architect, Harmon is now ready to express his thoughts and values through those endeavors, rather than design and construction:

“I think that what I want to say in architecture can be done with a pen and watercolor brush,” he said recently. “I don’t need an office to do that.”

For more information on Frank Harmon’s life and work:

Modern, Green Playhouse Designed To Inspire Imagination

Frank Harmon Architect PA participates in Playhouse Parade fundraiser, auction. 

Color scheme, elevations

September 20, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Award-winning architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, believes “the best toy is one that allows the greatest freedom. Lego is a good example, a child under a table with a tablecloth surrounding her is another, and nothing is better than a muddy stream.” That’s why the custom-built playhouse his firm has designed for the upcoming Playhouse Parade in Raleigh is about creating spaces that will inspire a child’s imagination.

The Playhouse Parade is a collaboration among the City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation Department, Cameron Village Shopping Center, the Triangle Builders Guild, and a variety of designers, architects, businesses, and individuals to raise funds for the Sassafras All Children’s Playground, a new playground in Laurel Hills that will be accessible for children with special needs.

Frank Harmon’s design team is well-known for modern, sustainable and regionally appropriate

Exterior under construction

architecture, and this playhouse – like the Dog House the firm designed in 2005 to raise funds for Triangle Beagle Rescue of North Carolina — is no exception.

In modern architecture, form follows function. But in the playhouse, form follows play — to allow children’s imagination the greatest freedom.

Rather than designing a themed playhouse — a pirate ship or a firehouse, for example — Harmon’s playhouse “lets a child use his or her imagination,” he says, “from tea parties to puppet shows and even making mud-pies.”

The tall, narrow structure features a covered porch/stage, a lower-level playroom with two windows, and a loft level with a balcony or ”Juliet” window. On the first level, behind the ladder that rises to the loft, is the “kitchen,” where a shelf with buckets sits ready for mud-pie making. Sliding shutters at both lower windows open for puppet shows but close to keep out rain — and imaginary forces attacking a fort. The

Interior showing upper level loft.

large main door at the front of the playhouse can be thrown open for stage productions. In its closed position, a smaller door-within-a door allows children to enter and exit, and a “peep hole” window above the small door allows sun light in and serves as a “spy portal.” A planter in front of the porch/stage invites children to grow flowers and vegetables.

“How important is it,” Harmon asks, “for children to learn where a tomato comes from?”

In keeping with the principals of green, or sustainable, design, the structure is composed of locally available materials: painted wood (plywood and 2x4s and 2x2s), metal (galvanized pipe), and translucent corrugated polycarbonate for the roof. The windows provide natural ventilation and lighting, and the deep roof overhang protects the interior from the hot summer sun.

Harmon and his design team consulted with a child psychologist and several children during the design process, and built the playhouse to the scale of a three- to seven-year-old child.

“It’s real, but small,” says Courtney Evans, Harmon’s architectural intern, who spearheaded the project.

Twelve design teams are designing, building, and donating playhouses that will be displayed in Cameron Village on two Saturdays, October 8 and 15, then auctioned off on October 22 during the “Night Under

Window with sliding shutter.

The Stars Playhouse Parade Gala.” Proceeds from the auction will be used to restore the city’s one-of-a-kind playground that gives kids, no matter what their abilities, the chance to play. For more information:

For more information on Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit

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, 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

Graduation at Harvard: Splendor On The Grass

By Frank Harmon, FAIA

I recently attended my daughter Laura’s graduation at Harvard University, where

Sketch by Frank Harmon

more than 7200 fellow students received their diplomas and honors in a daylong ceremony attended by family and friends.

Like many commencement ceremonies, there were speeches, recognitions, honorary degrees, and closing remarks. Graduates received advice about life, the world, jobs, work, and career during the three-hour commencement, and much of what was said will be forgotten. But the ceremony was held outdoors in Harvard Yard, and that will be unforgettable.

Laura’s previous graduation ceremonies were all held indoors. Her high school graduation took place at the convention center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her college commencement was held at Philharmonic Hall in Lincoln Center in New York City. And the university where I teach holds commencement in a 19,000-seat indoor sports facility.

By contrast, Harvard’s commencement was held in the very same college yard that the graduates have walked through so many times.

How can this familiar yard, its name even suggesting the everyday, fulfill our need for the pomp and circumstance befitting a great university?

On graduation day, my wife and I entered Harvard Yard at eight in the morning to take our seats in white lawn chairs laid out on the grass, along with about 15,000 other parents, alumni, and friends. The day was sunny and warm with no sign of rain (although the tradition is to hold the ceremony outside regardless of the weather). At about nine o’clock, the graduates began to arrive, marching in rows from many directions to take their seats with us in the yard. Crimson banners dotted the lawn, a breeze flowed through the trees, and the sound of the Harvard band echoed off the academic buildings that surround the yard. Many of the alumni wore top hats, which, combined with the faculty’s crimson robes, lent a theatrical air to the occasion. At 9:45 the commencement ceremony began. As the ceremony continued through the morning, shadows changed, the leaves on the trees cast a pattern on the graduates, and we moved our chairs to escape the sunlight.

At times when the ceremony verged on tedious, my daughter sent me irreverent text messages. I noticed my wife reading the New Yorker. There was no coffee available, so I found myself daydreaming…

…Of Henry David Thoreau, also a Harvard graduate, walking under the same trees that shaded us.

…Of the crimson banners leading this cohort like a Roman legion into the future (part of the commencement was in Latin).

…Of the wind that rustled the trees coming to us from the Gulf of Mexico and continuing out over the North Atlantic to places as distant as those from which these scholars had come from and to which they would soon disperse in their individual journeys.

At noon, the band began to play, the graduates threw their mortarboard hats into the air then rose to march away.

Despite the occasional tedium and the hours spent sitting in a skimpy lawn chair, the experience was unforgettable.

Why is that? Was it memorable because it happened in plain daylight? We have become so accustomed to theatrical lighting that we forget the power of daylight and how democratic it is. Theatrical lighting obscures the audience. In daylight, speaker and audience are one.

Or was it memorable because it was held beneath spreading trees? The word “academy” comes from the akademeia, located just outside ancient Athens, where Plato made the gymnasium famous as a center of learning. The sacred space, dedicated to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, had formerly been an olive grove, hence the expression “the groves of academe.”

Here, in a grove of New England maple trees, we watched an odyssey begin. It all seemed so natural: Whoever heard of having a revelation indoors?

Another everyday outdoor space that is witness to the extraordinary can be seen in London, where, each year on November 11, the British nation observes Remembrance Day for the over 1.5 million British subjects who lost their lives in the two World Wars. They hold the solemn ceremony not in Westminster abbey, nor in the mighty St Paul’s Cathedral, but in the middle of a street. The event is disarmingly simple. The Queen, Prime Minister, and other dignitaries lay a wreath at The Cenotaph, an empty tomb located in the middle of Whitehall, a street near the Houses of Parliament. When Big Ben strikes 11 a.m. a two-minute silence follows. For the rest of the year, cars, taxis and lorries rush past the stone Cenotaph. But on this day the street is closed. Thus, one of the busiest thoroughfares in London, closed down for Remembrance Day, becomes a symbol of a nation’s gratitude — a pause to remember. Far from being trivialized by its location, the ceremony is made poignant by its connection to the mundane life of the street.

As the graduates filed out of Harvard Yard after commencement, one could sense both anticipation and apprehension as they left academia for an uncertain economy and a brave new world of technology and planetary challenges. How appropriate, then, to experience a simple outdoor ceremony that would have been recognizable to Thoreau and even John Harvard.  It seems as though Harvard Yard was designed in some unconscious way to be the only appropriate space on campus for graduation.

About the author:

Frank Harmon, FAIA, is principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design, and a veteran speaker at AIA and other design conferences. Recognized as a leader in modern, sustainable, regionally appropriate design, Harmon’s work ranges from small sheds to 70,000-square-foot corporate headquarters, and has been published in many national and regional periodicals and books on the subject and exhibited in the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. In 1995, he received the North Carolina Architecture Foundation’s Kamphoefner Prize For Distinguished Modern Design Over A Ten-Year Period. In 2005, he received one of only 10 Business Week/Architectural Record International Honor Awards for a project at the Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, and, his firm was named “Top Firm Of The Year” by Residential Architect magazine. In 2008, his firm won the architectural design competition for the future AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design now under construction in downtown Raleigh. In 2009, his residential designs received both a National AIA Housing Award and Custom Home Design Awards from Custom Home magazine. In 2010, his design of a thoroughly “green” addition to a historic church in downtown Charleston received a national design award from the AIA Interfaith Forum on Religious Art & Architecture. In 2011 his firm was ranked 21st among the top 50 firms in the nation by Architect Magazine. He lives with his wife Judy, a landscape architect, in the modern house and gardens they designed together in Raleigh.

Oak Alley: “Gone With The Wind” That You Can Rent

By Frank Harmon, FAIA

I went to see Oak Alley plantation in St James Parish, Louisiana, because of its shadows. An architect friend told me that the pattern of light and shade cast by its

Oak Alley's alley of trees. Sketch by Frank Harmon

double row of 300-year-old live oak trees was unforgettable. The Mississippi River flows past one end of the alley of trees, which is about the length of two football fields. At the other end stands the plantation house, three stories high and wrapped in dusky pink columns that appear like trees of stone surmounted by foliage and dappled in shadow.

Few buildings are as evocative of the Deep South as the pillared mansion preceded by an alley of live oak trees. These ante bellum houses represent a gracious way of life, of languid afternoons on shaded porches, of mint juleps and magnolias, of a world of well-being.

Yet behind Oak Alley’s columns lie some practical strategies for coping with long, hot

Sketch by Frank Harmon, FAIA

summers, such as porches that shade the mansion’s rooms, and the symmetry of spaces that allowed the family to inhabit rooms on the east side in summer to escape the afternoon sun, and to live in west-facing rooms in winter when the sun’s heat was welcome. Tall ceilings allowed hot air to circulate upward, and the legendary oak trees, planted 100 years before the mansion was built, shade the house and help steer the breeze through the house’s tall windows.

Today, Oak Alley’s plantation house is a flourishing events center where visitors arrive for business retreats, hold reunions, dine at sorority luncheons, and shop at crafts fairs. And then there are the weddings: Marriage ceremonies are as common at Oak Alley as magnolia blossoms, as are the preceding bridal showers, catered luncheons, engagement parties, bridal photographs and, later, anniversary dinners. Think Gone With the Wind that you can rent. Columns, trees and the river vista create a perfect wedding backdrop, suggesting a life of Southern charm, beauty and perfection.

It is easy to idealize a place as beautiful as Oak Alley, and the lives of the people who lived there. Perhaps our sense of a lost world is part of its fascination.

Yet the irony of Oak Alley is that life there was very different than we imagine.

Built in 1841 by a Creole planter for his bride, it suffered a series of misfortunes. First, the bride hated the remoteness of the house and refused to live there, preferring the social life of New Orleans. And of course, the entire enterprise was founded on human bondage. Also, the man who built it died of pneumonia after living there only seven years. His wife died two years later. Indeed many of its inhabitants lived short lives as a result of malaria, cholera and yellow fever. In fact, one of the 20 rooms was a mourning room to shelter the deceased prior to burial.

After the Civil War, the children who inherited Oak Alley were forced to sell it at auction for a pittance. The house stayed empty for decades until it was restored in the 1920s to begin its present life as a wedding backdrop and tourist attraction — just in time for Margaret Mitchell’s epochal Southern novel Gone With The Wind.

One might say that Oak Alley has a far happier life today than the life that originally took place there – a life we have romanticized over time.

Twenty-eight columns surround the house just as there are 28 trees that form the alley. Trees and columns cast shadows that vary daily and seasonally, much like a sundial. There is something timeless about this uniquely American dream house and its enchanted grove of trees.

In London recently, another enchanted grove of trees adorned the great stone nave of Westminster Abbey for Kate Middleton’s and Prince William’s royal wedding. Elizabeth Sinclair, the wife of the recently disgraced Dominique Strauss Kahn, wrote of the royal wedding, “I can understand those who didn’t want to miss a crumb. As if, quite simply, we were children who, before going to sleep want a tale, a story with a princess and a dream, because real life catches up with you soon enough.”

Late on the May afternoon when I visited Oak Alley, one wedding was in progress

Oak Alley in relation to the Mississippi River and its levee.

while another was queuing up — pretty girls in gowns laughing, young men in formal wear chafing each other. Hopes for the future contrasted with a more troubling reality at the other end of the alley, where the levee held back the Mississippi River, now surging at a level higher than the roof of the plantation house. Perhaps its witness to slavery, plague, war, and flood makes the beauty of Oak Alley more poignant. As evening fell and the wedding candles were lit, none of that seemed to matter. We were bathed in the shadow of romantic art.



By Frank Harmon, FAIA

Few building forms are more familiar than the one-story gabled roof. The earliest

St. Paul's Covent Garden, by Frank Harmon

Greek temples feature this form, as do 19th century tobacco warehouses, churches, and government buildings. Our own state Capitol in Raleigh, designed by Town and Davis in 1840, is adorned by the upright columns and V-shaped roof of the earliest Greek temples.

Many architectural historians consider the temple form a descendent of an earlier forest dwelling, created by primitive builders who pulled tree branches together to create a canopied shelter. The 19th century French critic Viollet-Le-Duc thought this bowered structure of trees was the origin of all architecture.

In a swamp beside a pond in Mississippi, the esteemed architect Fay Jones, FAIA (1921-2004), who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, added to the history of the venerable building type with an open-air pavilion called Pinecote, which was constructed in 1986 as part of the Crosby Arboretum. Like Wright, Jones believed “the nature of the land must be the generator of the architect’s work.”

I visited Pinecote in mid-May, 2011, when the magnolia trees in southern Mississippi

Pinecote sketch by Frank Harmon

were just coming into bloom. Located incongruously next to a strip mall, Crosby Arboretum was created by landscape architect Edward L. Blake Jr. (1947-2010) on 800-plus acres of pine and wetland forest. The charms of Crosby Arboretum are quiet: a forest habitat mottled in shadows, the home of pitcher plants, river otter, and bay laurel.

From one end of the mile-long arboretum to the other, the earth falls only three feet, yet 36 inches of level change creates an entire shift in habitat, from pine forest to hardwood swamp. Compared to the Grand Canyon, which is more than a mile deep, Crosby Arboretum is shallow, yet it is no less satisfying — a subtle pleasure like the song of a wood thrush.

Fay Jones’ contribution to the quiet beauty of Crosby Arboretum is less a building than a structure that frames nature. His open-air pavilion is used for picnics, gatherings, reunions, conferences, and weddings, or simply for the study of nature outside its four open sides. The inside of Pinecote is about the size of a small church sanctuary and is covered by a broadly sloping gable roof. The roof ridge runs 40 feet above a brick floor from north to south, with the south gable end opening to a view of the pond.

Above the pavilion roof swamp oaks, maples and pine trees form a secondary roof of twigs and leaves. So hidden is Pinecote that the visitor doesn’t see it until entering — like coming upon a fawn in the forest.

Jones built Pinecote almost entirely of wood, with a few ingenious steel connectors that are as light as a wedding ring.

Although the pavilion can accommodate up to 200 people, the majority of its wood pieces are less than one-and-a-half inches thick and the wood columns are small enough to put your fingers around. Rising up from the brick floor, columns branch outwards to hold the roof, like a waiter’s fingers supporting a tray. When you look up to the underside of the roof, you see through a glass ridged skylight into the sky. Descending down from the roof ridge, rafters end as slender sticks — feathers against the leaves. A shaft of sunlight creates patterns on the floor.  Breezes flow easily through the shelter. The whole has the delicate scale of the forest. Wood is left to turn silver- grey, like the tree trunks, and the shingle roof is dappled by the shadows of the forest.

A short walk along a forest path brings you to a clearing on the far side of the pond where sky and forest are reflected as olive-green and blue slivers in the dark brown water. Merging with the pond, Pinecote hovers, wide and snug, set back in the shade beneath broad eaves. Next to it, a green heron stands motionless.

Many people visiting a redwood forest remark on how they are reminded of a cathedral. The gothic cathedral is another manifestation of the gabled temple form with its clustered columns reaching heavenward. Perhaps Fay Jones had these precedents in mind when he sat down at the drawing board to design Pinecote.  Regardless, he designed a building of reverence for nature.

However dated this idea might seem in an age of cool buildings produced digitally, there is something about Pinecote that is endlessly satisfying. Fay Jones made a modest building that is just as moving as something far grander.

Frank Harmon To Address Texas Audience for AIA Lecture

Raleigh architect will discuss modern, sustainable design in San Antonio

Frank Harmon, FAIA


March 1, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of Frank Harmon Architects PA in Raleigh, will be the featured speaker for the AIA Lecture Series in San Antonio, Texas, on March 30, beginning 6 p.m. in the historic Pearl Studio conference center on Grayson Street.


Harmon is a multi-award-winning leader in modern, innovative, sustainable architecture, and frequently lectures on the importance of regionally appropriate architecture – which address the particulars of climate, topography, forms, colors and culture of a region — as a means of creating both environmentally friendly architecture and a sense of place.


“A simple pleasure I enjoy each day is drinking tea from a hand-made bowl,” he explains. “I know that a potter made the bowl, and touching its shape I indirectly touch his or her hands. It’s also possible to imagine the creek bottom where the clay was dug, and the geology that millions of years ago laid down the earthy sediment that I now hold in my fingers. In this way, however small, I feel a connection to the world.


“I believe that one of the primary goals of architecture is to make it possible for people to understand the world around them. If we sense that a building is rooted in the earth and warmed by the sun, that fresh air flows through its windows and its materials are friendly to the touch, then we may feel that the building belongs to its place, and so do we. I’m not certain that architecture, whether a house or town, can always have the friendly familiarity of a hand-thrown clay bowl. But I am certain there is virtue in trying.”


The AIA San Antonio Lecture Series began in 1999 as a collaborative effort between the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the University of Texas at San Antonio. It is now presented independent of the University and focuses on architects’ professional development and continuing education credits.


Harmon’s lecture and all others in the series are free and open to the public. For more information on the entire series, visit


For more information on Frank Harmon, visit


About Frank Harmon, FAIA:


Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, is also a Professor in Practice at NC State University and a frequent speaker at AIA and other design conventions and conferences throughout the US and Canada. In 2010, his firm was ranked 13th out of the top 50 firms in the nation by Architect magazine and Harmon was included in Residential Architect’s recent “RA 50: The short list of architects we love.” His 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

Frank Harmon To Lecture In Nova Scotia

Raleigh architect to address Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture

Frank Harmon, FAIA

February 4, 2011 (RALEIGH, NC) – Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of the award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, will present a lecture at the Dalhousie University School of Architecture in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Monday, February 28, followed by studio critiques on Tuesday, March 1.


Brian MacKay-Lyons, principal of internationally renowned MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects in Halifax and a professor of architecture at Dalhousie, invited Harmon to present a lecture on “Place Making.”  Harmon and his wife, landscape architect Judy Harmon, will be MacKay-Lyons’ guests at his farm in Kingsburg over the weekend leading up to the lecture.


MacKay-Lyons is one of three fellow architects whose work Frank Harmon often references in seminars on the importance of regionalism in the process of creating innovative, sustainable, and appropriate contemporary design. He uses his own work along with that of by MacKay-Lyons, Glenn Murcutt of Australia, and Rick Joy of Tuscon, Arizona, to illustrate elements and themes that run through regionally appropriate architecture. According to Harmon, those elements include landscape, materials and construction, weather and climate, roof forms that shelter or collect rainwater, and clients.


Harmon and MacKay-Lyons were included in Residential Architect magazine’s “RA 50: The Short List of Architects We Love,” published in the November/December edition, as was Glenn Murcutt. For more information on Frank Harmon, visit For more information on Brian MacKay-Lyons, visit


Founded in 1749, Dalhousie is one of Canada’s top research and teaching universities. Its School of Architecture offers professional education in architecture and planning to students from Canada, the United States and abroad.


About Frank Harmon, FAIA:


Frank Harmon, FAIA, is a Professor in Practice at NC State University and was the 1995 recipient of the Kamphoefner Prize for Distinguished Design over a Ten-Year Period. He founded his firm, Frank Harmon Architect PA, in 1985. In 2010, his 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 that blend modern, regionally appropriate architecture with stewardship of the natural environment include Duke University’s Ocean Science Teaching Center in Beaufort, the NC Botanical Garden’s new Visitors Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center in Raleigh. His firm’s design of the thoroughly green AIA North Carolina headquarters building in downtown Raleigh is under construction. Harmon’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

Kamphoefner Fellowship Recipient Joins Frank Harmon Architect PA

Courtney Evans is the newest member of the award-winning design

Courtney Evans


December 15, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – Frank Harmon, FAIA, founder and principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, is pleased to announced that Courtney Evans has joined his award-winning architecture firm as a project designer and architectural intern.

Evans was recently honored as the recipient of the Kamphoefner Honor Fellowship for the 2010-11 academic year. Established by Henry Kamphoefner, the first dean of the North Carolina State University School of Design (now College of Design), and his wife, the award recognizes and supports the College’s outstanding Master of Architecture student of each class. The jury was comprised of faculty members who are Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, including Georgia Bizios, Roger Clark and Patrick Rand.

In 2007, Evans was named Senior of The Year when she received her Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering.

“Courtney has a wonderful design imagination and sense of place, illustrated in her work,” Harmon said.

Evans grew up on her family’s farm in Fremont, NC. She credits her summers spent on the farm and her father with her appreciation for environmentalist and the “green,” or sustainable, regionally appropriate architecture for which the Harmon firm is known.

“My father taught me how to work, how to view the world, and gave me an intrinsic love for nature,” she said. “I am truly honored and excited to be working with Frank, Will [Lambeth] Mike [Spinello], and John [Caliendo]. I could not be happier about this extraordinary opportunity to work with such a talented group of people.”


For more information on Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit

About Frank Harmon Architect PA:


Frank Harmon Architect PA was founded in 1985 by Frank Harmon, FAIA, who is also Professor in Practice at NC State University and the 1995 recipient of the Kamphoefner Prize for Distinguished Design over a Ten-Year Period. 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 that blend sustainable architecture with stewardship of the natural environment include Duke University’s Ocean Science Teaching Center in Beaufort, the NC Botanical Garden’s new Visitors Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center in Raleigh. 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

Ocean Conservation Center Featured On’s “Ten Best Environmental Programs” List

Duke University's first LEED Gold building, designed by Frank Harmon
Duke University's first LEED Gold building, designed by Frank Harmon

(BEAUFORT, NC) – The Ocean Conservation Center in Beaufort, NC, designed by Raleigh, NC-based Frank Harmon Architect PA, is one of the reasons has placed Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth  Sciences on its list of “10 of the Best College Environmental Program in the U.S.” is an international media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability issues into mainstream discourse. Contributor Blythe Copeland offers the following about Duke’s program:

“Students at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences choose from undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees in concentrations that include environmental studies and policy, earth and ocean sciences, and environmental law. The University also maintains a hands-on Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC, where courses on biology, science and nature writing, and marine policy take place in the Gold LEED-certified conservation center. Doctoral candidates have three research areas to pick from: marine science and conservation, which includes marine ecology and coastal geology; earth and ocean sciences, comprising climate change and solid earth processes; and environmental studies and policy, which focuses on ecosystem science and aquatic and atmospheric sciences.”

Located on Piver’s Island at the head of the Beaufort Inlet, the Ocean Conservation Center provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities for Duke’s Marine Lab, while identifying and demonstrating innovative, environmentally sound design and construction technology. Completed in 2006 as Duke’s only Gold LEED-certified building, the Center features photovoltaic cells, geothermal heating and cooling, and recycled and local materials wherever possible. The building was featured as a case study in Environmental Design + Construction magazine in June of this year.

Treehugger’s complete list of Best College Environmental Programs in the U.S. can be seen at www.treehugger. com. For more information on Duke’s program, go to

For more information on Frank Harmon Architecture PA, visit

Located on Piver's Island at the head of the Beaufort Inlet, the Ocean Conservation Center provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities for Duke's Marine Lab.
Located on Piver's Island at the head of the Beaufort Inlet, the Ocean Conservation Center provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities for Duke's Marine Lab.

The Culture of Place: Architects Discuss America’s Regional Landscape

April 17, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) — For the fourth consecutive year, Raleigh, NC, architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, will present a major seminar at the American Institute of Architect’s National Convention and Design Exposition, to be held this year on May 15-17 in Boston, MA. Unlike his past seminars, however, which were entitled “Architects Discuss America’s New Regionalism,” his 2008 presentation will focus more squarely on “America’s Regional Landscape.”

“For architecture to embody the American spirit, it must conserve, protect and celebrate our rich, varied landscape and culture of place,” Harmon said recently. “Regional architecture engages climate, topography, vegetation and local materials. So we will explore contemporary regionalism’s influence on landscape and architecture, and the techniques used to satisfy social, cultural, economic and environmental needs for sustainability – arguably the most pressing issue of our time.”

Harmon, who is widely recognized as a leading practitioner of sustainable design, will be joined this year by Maryann Thompson of Maryann Thompson Architects in Cambridge, MA, and a member of the Harvard University architecture faculty; and Nader Tehrani of Office dA, Inc. in Boston. Tehrani is also an associate professor architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Each of the three panelists will use their own projects as case studies for the discussion.

“What makes the work important and timely is that the greatest potential for architecture today lies in regional locations – in the sheer number of clients, the variety of landscapes, and the particular ‘sticks and stones’ with which each region has to build,” Harmon said. “This regional manifestation has significance for the world outside itself, both nationally and internationally, as the need rises for every region to rely on its own resources and draw inspiration from its own context.”

Sponsored by Architectural Record magazine, Harmon’s seminar will identify the principles of innovative regional architecture and landscape with the intention of inspiring attending architects and building industry professionals to embrace these principles in their own work, he said.

The theme for this year’s National AIA convention is “We The People: Our Place In The World,” which the AIA website describes as “the right topic for a growing profession that has been challenged to engage the public in designing a more sustainable world.”

For more information on the Convention, visit For more information on Frank Harmon, visit