Press Releases

Press Releases

“Across the architectural profession, Frank Harmon, FAIA, is the face of North Carolina architecture.” – Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee

Restoring Cities and Nature: Architect Frank Harmon To Address AIA Seattle

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

​Raleigh architect and educator Frank Harmon, FAIA, will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Residential Design Forum presented by the American Institute of Architects Seattle, WA., chapter (AIA Seattle) on Monday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Harmon, principal and founder of the award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA, has designed sustainable modern buildings across the Southeast for 30 years. His work engages pressing contemporary issues such as place-less-ness, sustainability and restoring cities and nature.

His buildings recall the materials of their region, from using hurricane-felled cypress and rock from local quarries to connect the structure to its landscape. The airy breezeways, outdoor living spaces, deep overhangs, and wide lawns embody the romanticism of the South while maintaining a distinguished modernism.

A graduate of the Architectural Association in London, he is a Professor-in-Practice at the NC State University College of Design, he has taught at the Architectural Association, and he has been a visiting critic at Harvard, the University of Virginia, and the Rural Studio at Auburn University.

In 2013, Harmon received the F. Carter Williams Gold Medal from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA NC), the highest honor bestowed upon a North Carolina architect. He holds numerous awards recognizing his contributions to design and sustainability, and his firm has been included in Architect magazine’s “Top 50″ list three times.

As a noted writer and illustrator, his recent project, Native Places, uses hand-drawn sketches and mini-essays to examine the relationship between nature and built structures. He is a primary contributor to Activate 14, an AIA NC initiative to educate the public on the benefits of good design and sustainability through a series of summer events and design competitions.

Harmon’s presentation will take place at Exchange Building Suite 410, 821 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information:

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit


Book Release Party To Celebrate “Drawing From Practice”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The event will honor local author Mike Welton and architects who draw by hand.

Frank Harmon, FAIA, will be one of six North Carolina architects honored at Activate14’s Book Release Party to celebrate the publication of the new book Drawing From Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand by J. Michael Welton. The party will take place on Tuesday, May 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design, 14 East Peace Street, in downtown Raleigh.

A Triangle resident, Mike Welton writes about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications, and edits and publishes the digital design magazine Architects + Artisans.

Published by Routledge Press, Drawing from Practice explores and illuminates the ways architects use freehand drawing by featuring drawings and architecture from every generation practicing today, including six North Carolina architects: Frank Harmon, Phil Freelon, Ellen Cassilly, Chad Everhart, Matt Griffith, and Erin Sterling Lewis.

These architects will participate in a panel discussion during the party. Afterwards, they will also be on hand, along with the author, to sign a limited number of books for sale that evening while guests enjoy food and beverages.

Frank Harmon is an architect, educator, and author of the website “Native Places.” As founding principal of the award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA, he has designed modern, sustainable, and regionally appropriate buildings across the Southeast for 30 years, always using hand-drawn sketches. He recently commented on Drawing from Practice:

“Mike’s book is long awaited and warmly received by all those who believe in the value of sketching as a means to explore architectural ideas.”

Activate14 is an AIA North Carolina community outreach initiative headquartered at the Center for Architecture and Design, also featured in the book.

The Book Release Party is free and open to the public, but attendees must first RSVP at (Architects in attendance are eligible for LU credit.)

For directions to the AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design, go to


Frank Harmon To Present “Urban Sketching” Seminar at National AIA Convention

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Frank Harmon, FAIA, a multi-award winning architect in Raleigh, NC, and the author/illustrator of the website Native Places, will present a three-hour seminar at the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National Convention in Atlanta in May entitled “Urban Sketching.”

Raleigh sketch artist Scott Rent will join Harmon to discuss the means and methods for sketching. Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, a nationally prominent architect from Fayetteville, Arkansas, Tom Kundig (Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle, WA), and Ellen Cassilly (Ellen Cassilly Architect, Durham, NC), will discuss the value of sketching in their work.

"Leonardo Di Vinci said that drawing was a way to understand the world,” Harmon said recently. “Drawing allows you to see things you never noticed before. The point is not to make a pretty drawing. The point is to draw what you see."

In the Convention program, AIA organizers note, “In a world of design software and technology modeling tools, spontaneous freehand sketching remains the most efficient and effective way to jump start the creative process.”

Harmon’s two-part session includes a one-hour seminar and a two-hour excursion for sketching.

The AIA National Convention will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center May 16-18. Harmon’s “Urban Sketching” session will take place on May 16 from 7-11 a.m., beginning at the World Congress Center.

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit To see examples of his sketches, visit Native Places – “a collection of thoughts and hand drawn sketches that illustrate the value of looking closely at buildings and places.”


University of Kansas Welcomes Frank Harmon as Distinguished Guest, Keynote Speaker

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

For Studio 804's 20th anniversary celebration.

North Carolina-based architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, will be the distinguished guest and keynote speaker when the University of Kansas's School of Architecture, Design & Planning holds its celebration of Studio 804’s 20th anniversary on March 27-28, 2015.

The celebration will include speakers of international stature who will support the theme “[Re] Engaged Architecture” as they present work and processes that reflect this topic. Those speakers are: Andrew Freear, Brigette Shim, Ted Flato, Brian MacKay-Lyons, and Marlon Blackwell.

Studio 804 is a not-for-profit organization within KU's School of Architecture, Design & Planning that is committed to the continued research and development of sustainable, affordable, and inventive building solutions. Under Distinguished Professor Dan Rockhill’s leadership, Studio 804 educates students through the experience of all aspects of design/build, a delivery model that is gaining widespread popularity in the architectural profession.

A Professor in Practice at North Carolina State University’s College of Design, Frank Harmon is a recognized leader in Modern, sustainable, and regionally appropriate design. He is well known for bringing an appreciation for simple, vernacular architecture and its implied environmental stewardship to every project that his firm, Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, designs. Harmon’s work has been described as “buildings rooted in the earth, warmed by the sun, with fresh air flowing through the windows and made of materials friendly to the touch.”

“Studio 804 is one of the most successful design-build education programs in the world,” Harmon said. “Students learn by doing and in the process create memorable architecture. Studio 804 is a leader in socially responsible design and practice.”

For more information on Studio 804 and the event, go to


Indoor-Outdoor Living—Literally

Monday, January 26, 2015

To accommodate a tight budget, Frank Harmon made half of this modern coastal home open-air.

Award-winning Raleigh architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, recently completed a single-family house on South Carolina’s St. Helena Island that solved tight budget constraints in an unusual way:

To keep costs down, 50 percent of this 1600-square-foot Modern house is composed entirely of screened porches.

“Screened porches can be built for a fraction of the cost of heated space,” Harmon said, “and since the climate in Beaufort rarely freezes, the homeowners can live outdoors for nine months out of each year.”

The homeowners are Sabrina Terry and John Lamb, formerly of Boston, who had spent three years summering on a specific densely wooded site on St. Helena Island on the edge of a coastal marsh. So they were well aware of the tidewater region’s hot summers, high humidity, and ravenous mosquitos. On the site is a 200-year-old live oak with seven trunks, which they named “Seven Sisters.”

In 2012 Terry and Lamb decided to move south permanently to escape Boston’s harsh winters. So they returned to the site of their summer vacations and hired Harmon’s firm to design their permanent house, which they would also name “Seven Sisters.” Jacob Burke would serve as project designer.

The couple’s property is in a flood plane so living quarters must be 14 feet above sea level. Consequently, the house sits on 14-foot pilings and is sited to maximize solar orientation, to capture prevailing breezes for natural ventilation, and to welcome a panoramic the marshes of Harbor River and Hunting Island.

A siding glass door protects most of the screened-in, open-air living area from cold north winds. The cypress framing and rain-screen exterior as well as the heart pine floors, were felled and milled within 50 miles of the site. The single-sloped aluminum roof reflects heat in the summer and provides a corrosion-resistant, energy-efficient roofing system in this coastal climate. The deep overhang shield the interior from the high summer sun but allows the lower winter sun to enter the space.

To condition the interior during peak hot or cold weather, Burke specified a mini split-HVAC system. The house also operates on a tankless water heater.

Matt Phifer of Phifer Contracting Services in Beaufort, SC, built the house with a little help from John Lamb who had already built other structures on the site.

For more information on Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit

New Design Book Features Three Houses by Frank Harmon, FAIA

Monday, January 12, 2015

Representing Southern architects whose styles vary as much as the region.

Contemporary Southern Homes, a new hardcover book published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, features three Modern houses designed by Raleigh architect Frank Harmon, FAIA: the Low Country house in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; the Strickland-Ferris house in Raleigh, NC; and Harmon’s own home, also in Raleigh.

In her introduction, author E. Ashley Rooney explains that her latest architecture book spotlights “twenty-one Southern design professionals whose architectural styles vary as much as the region. Their award-winning work ranges from the classical symmetry of Georgian Palladian to modernist traditions infused with fascinating flair...The work of these forward-thinking architects and designers helps us to envision new ways of living in the world.”

Frank Harmon is the founder and principal of the multi-award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA and a Professor in Practice at North Carolina State University's College of Design. His projects represented in the book exemplify Rooney’s appreciation for the  “expansive, open floor plans, the seeming disappearance of the boundary between the exterior and the interior, and the use of indigenous materials” found in Southern contemporary homes:

...The Low Country house both welcomes nature and protects against it: The one-room-deep floor plan gives each room windows and porches overlooking Shem Creek while a series of handcrafted metal screens on the exterior can be lowered to protect all the glazing from flying debris during hurricanes. In their upright position, they provide shade for the glass.

...Harmon’s own home is an example of a house and gardens designed simultaneously as halves of the greater whole and equal parts of the living experience. Harmon designed the house with his late wife, landscape architect Judy Harmon. To give the house a sense of both strength and lightness, the couple used steel for the structure and an abundance of glass.

...The Strickland-Ferris house perches on broad-shouldered trusses to avoid disturbing the natural hydrology of its steep site. The entire two-story rear elevation is glass that, combined with clerestory windows on the other three elevations, makes the wooded exterior a constant presence inside the house’s open floor plan.

Contemporary Southern Homes (9-in. x 12-in., 424 color photos, 288 pages) is available from Schiffler Publishing at and on Amazon.

For more information on Frank Harmon and these projects, visit


Duke University’s Ocean Conservation Center Achieves LEED Platinum

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Raleigh architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA, recently learned that the Ocean Conservation Center (OCC) his firm designed in Beaufort, NC, for Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment Marine Laboratory has achieved LEED Platinum certification.

Platinum is the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awards.

Located on Piver's Island at the head of the Beaufort Inlet, the OCC provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities for the Duke Marine Lab while identifying and demonstrating innovative, environmentally sound design and construction technology.

The 5000-square-foot building’s angular design responds directly to the site along the edge of the island. The shape defers to prevailing southwest breezes blowing in from the channel and allows natural illumination to serve as primary task lighting in every interior space. It also creates a very natural open, inner courtyard for the campus.

The channel side of the building features a large, wooden porch just outside of a glass-enclosed common area, which provides panoramic views of the natural surroundings. The wood-shingled exterior complements the coastal context and the roof’s deep overhang protects the interior from the hot summer sun.

The building is designed and engineered to resist hurricane-force winds in excess of 125 mph -- a very real threat in Beaufort, NC. Building materials include wood, wood shingles, glass, and cement panels. The fully designed wood frame is comprised of Atlantic white cedar, recycled wood, and Southern yellow pine. State-of-the-art green features include photovoltaic rooftop panels for converting sunlight into electricity, a solar hot water system, a vegetated roof and rain water collection cistern, and high-efficiency ground-coupled heat pumps. Recycled and local materials were used wherever possible.

Landscaping includes a large, new dune that directs the wind over the building, rather than directly at it, and protects other all-native landscaping features.

Earning LEED Platinum certification is a comprehensive process. A project must meet all requirements during a rigorous evaluation of building system efficiency, sustainability, water efficiency, materials used for construction, and environmental quality. Architect and client must be fully committed to sustainability and the process.

LEED certification is recognized across the globe as the premier mark of achievement in green building. For more information:

For more information on the OCC and Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit

Frank Harmon Architect PA Makes National 2014 “Architect 50” Ranking

Monday, November 3, 2014

Based on business success, design quality, and commitment to sustainability.

Frank Harmon Architect PA, a multi-award-winning firm based in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, is included in Architect magazine’s 2014 Top 50 firms in the nation.

Harmon’s firm ranks fifteenth in the professional journal’s sustainability category.

The “Architect 50” places great emphasis on the firm’s commitment to sustainability and design excellence. As the magazine states:

“Qualifying to be ranked is based on scores in three separate categories: business, design, and sustainability. The sustainability and design categories were assigned more points than the business category to reflect Architect’s intent that the list rewards firms that achieve all-around excellence far beyond just profitability.”

Frank Harmon, FAIA, is a leader in modern, sustainable, and regionally appropriate architecture.

A few of his firm’s recent projects, all of which are based on the principles of sustainable design and construction, include: First Presbyterian Church and the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design in Raleigh; NC Botanical Garden Visitors’ Education Center, North Carolina State Construction’s first LEED Platinum building; a residential mountain retreat in the North Carolina’s Uwharri Mountains; STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in Star, NC; the United Therapeutics Field House in Research Triangle Park, NC; and the Oyster Research Shellfish Hatchery in Wilmington, NC.

For more information on Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit


The Building Is The Exhibit: Frank Harmon Presents Workshop at Prairie Ridge

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Noted Raleigh, NC, architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, will present a special workshop during the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ (ASTC) Conference in Raleigh October 18-21, hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS).

Harmon’s workshop, entitled “The Building Is The Exhibit,” will be a preconference, offsite event held at NCMNS’ Prairie Ridge Ecostation in West Raleigh on Friday, October 17, from noon until 4:30 p.m. Harmon’s firm, Frank Harmon Architect PA, designed the Ecostation’s award-winning outdoor classroom and garden pavilion.He explained:

“The most important issue facing society in the 21st century is sustaining the natural environment. Buildings consume 40 percent of all the energy used in America, a greater proportion than all the transportation systems combined. A science center or museum that conserves the environment in a demonstrable way is a vital teaching tool.”

According to the NCMNS website, the Prairie Ridge Ecostation "furthers the Museum's mission of enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the natural environment by providing an outdoor learning space while acting as a model for renewable and sustainable energy.”

Nancy Gottovi of STARworks, an arts and crafts incubation center in Star, NC; Charles Yelton, director of Prairie Ridge; and Lindsey Lambert of the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove, NC, will join Harmon during the workshop. Harmon’s office designed the “green” NC Pottery Center and is currently working on the STARworks project, which involves transforming an old textile mill into a thriving arts center.

“The Building Is The Exhibit” requires preregistration, which will begin on the Raleigh Convention Center’s mezzanine at 7 a.m. October 17.

The annual ASTC Conference allows science center leaders the opportunity “to create and renew connections with colleagues, as well as brainstorm, collaborate, learn, and be inspired by, and with, members of the science center and museum field from around the world,” according to its website. It also lets companies and businesses display their products and services to the largest gathering of museum professionals from across the globe. For more information on ASTC and the 2014 conference, go to

For more information on the Prairie Ridge Eco-Station, visit

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit

Frank Harmon, FAIA, To Serve On Thomas Jefferson Medalist Jury

Monday, August 25, 2014

Harmon will be the Amerian Institute of Architects' representative on the jury.

Helene Drelling, President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), has selected Raleigh, NC, architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, to be the AIA’s representation to the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson Foundation's 2014-2017 selection committee for the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Medalist in Architecture award.

Since 1966, this medal has been awarded to an outstanding architect, planner, artist, or advocate for design on April 13, Jefferson's birthday, at a ceremony in Charlottesville. The celebrated German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) was the very first recipient.

Chaired by the UVa School of Architecture Dean Elizabeth Meyer, the selection committee is comprised of only four other dignitaries. Along with Harmon, the current committee includes: Baltimore architect Gil Schafer as the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s representative; New York architect Billie Tsien, a previous Medalist; and prominent American architecture critic and author Martin Filler.

“Thomas Jefferson was the only American president who was an architect. It's an honor to be on a jury that celebrates his legacy,” Harmon said. “His design for the University of Virginia is arguably Americas greatest work of architecture. When he designed the university campus in 1825 he wanted it to be modern, with a sense of history, an ideal not out of place today.”

AIA NC Gold Medalist Frank Harmon is founder and principal of the multi-award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA and Professor In Practice at North Carolina State University’s College of Design. His distinguished career and extraordinary accomplishments as an architect have made him a sought-after speaker and jury chair for architectural awards programs nationwide. Most recently, he conducted an architectural seminar at Harvard University.

The selection committee is meeting this month to discuss the 2015 nominees for the medal and to select the final winner.

For more information on the Thomas Jefferson Medalist in Architecture Award, visit

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit