Frank Harmon Joins NCMH as Director of National Affairs

NC Modernist Houses
Frank Harmon, FAIA (photo by William Morgan)

To coordinate with national architecture organizations, publications, and other non-profits.

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) announced today that renowned Raleigh architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, has joined the organization as Director of National Affairs.

Harmon has been an active advocate for NCMH’s mission to document, preserve, and promote Modernist residential design across the state since Executive Director George Smart founded the award-winning non-profit in 2007.

Over recent years, NCMH’s reach has expanded well outside North Carolina. The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation in New York City designated NCMH’s online archive as the official index for Rudolph’s residential work. Smart has addressed the National Trust for Historic Preservation and given presentations during Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California. The entire NCMH archive has also become the largest open digital archive of 20-century Modernist residential design in the nation, including an extensive Masters Gallery.

So when Harmon officially retired in November 2015 after 50 years in professional practice, Smart approached him about joining NCMH in an official capacity.

“Frank is very well known and respected throughout the architectural community, including on the national stage,” Smart said. “As a sought-after speaker, lecturer, and design awards jury chairman nation-wide, his contacts and influences are invaluable.”

He explained Harmon’s responsibilities as Director of National Affairs: “Frank will coordinate with national architecture organizations, publications, and other non-profits to focus attention on North Carolina Modernism and to further develop documentation, preservation, and promotion for NCMH. And with Frank’s participation, NCMH will create some of the best infrastructure for Modernist house documentation and preservation in the country.”

NCMH is like an embassy for good design and I’m proud to be one of its ambassadors,” Harmon said.

For more information on NC Modernist Houses, visit

redchair smAbout NC Modernist Houses: 

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: Find NCMH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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: