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Native Places


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About the Author

Frank Harmon, FAIA, has designed sustainable modern buildings across the Southeast for 30 years. He discovered architecture as a child playing in the streams and woods of his native Greensboro, North Carolina. His work engages pressing contemporary issues such as placelessness, sustainability, and restoration of cities and nature. The buildings he designs are specific to their sites and use materials such as hurricane-felled cypress and rock from local quarries to connect them to their landscapes. Airy breezeways, outdoor living spaces, deep overhangs, and wide lawns embody the vernacular legacy of the South while maintaining a distinguished modernism. Frank is a graduate of the Architectural Association in London and a professor at the North Carolina State University College of Design. He has taught at the Architectural Association and has served as a visiting critic at Harvard, the University of Virginia, and Auburn University's Rural Studio.


"Frank Harmon has designed many important and beautiful buildings. Here is a work of his art you can hold in your hands. Enlightening and joyous, Native Places takes us into and beyond what Harmon calls the 'broken places' of the world and gives the reader a new way to see them." -- Best-selling novelist Angela Davis-Gardner
"Frank Harmon's sketches and essays are a quick window into a truth. He's asking us to go deeper and grander with a historical perspective, and to understand why things are the way they are. It's more the 'why' than the 'what.' " -- Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, Arkansas
"It's accessible and beautiful writing that's thought-provoking, spiritual and uplifting. It's like he knew what we needed." - Julieta Sherk, landscape architect, professor, J. William Fulbright Global Scholar
"It's simultaneously academic and intimate -- and it speaks to humanity." -- Tom Kundig, FAIA, Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle, Washington
"Native Places is a sketchbook, memoir, travel journal, aesthetic experiment, a collection of small familiar essays, and maybe in some respects even a manifesto. I venture this last possibility because of the consistent appreciation and celebration of the vernacular. It leads us to discover the 'ordinary, ' which is not the same as the obvious, and then to agree that place does not contain architecture but, in the wisest instances, allies with it, or perhaps brothers with it. It brings me to observe things I had not seen because I only took them for granted. Native Places reminds me of a saying by the composer Max Bruch: 'One folk song is worth a hundred art songs.' " -- Fred Chappell, author, poet, professor, and North Carolina poet Laureate 1997-2002
"There are as few gestures as possible to capture a multi-layered spirit. There's almost always an element of landscape and something out of the ordinary and something extraordinary. A world emerges... His idea is not to get in the way of pure observation, that you're looking at the world with clear eyes. It reassures us, basically, that our instincts are right." -- Tod Williams, FAIA, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects - Partners, New York, New York

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