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A collection of thoughts and hand-drawn sketches that illustrate the value of looking closely at buildings and places.


Native Places: Bi-Lo

Venus at the Bi-Lo
The architecture was little more than an air-conditioned tin shack. A whiff of rotting garbage scented the air. The pavement was greased from 10,000 leaky crankcases. It was the Bi-Lo grocery store parking lot at Edisto Beach, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon. 

Places like the Bi-Lo parking lot are simply necessary, neither good nor bad. They knit the world together.

Inside the Bi-Lo, pressed chino shorts brushed up against overalls in the beer cooler while a mom outside toted key lime pies and marrow bones to a minivan and warned her children not to run.

A black SUV that, 800 miles and a day earlier, had crossed the George Washington Bridge now rested in the Bi-Lo handicapped parking space while its driver picked up some Tums.

An uncle walked out of the store with three shiny red shovels and yellow pails.

At daybreak the next day, just above and to the right of the ice vending machine, Venus ascended to heaven over an empty parking lot.

Not far away, three yellow pails were lined up on a seaside porch while the children slept.


Native Places Book Cover

Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See: A book by Frank Harmon. To learn more click here.

Frank Harmon is an architect, educator, and writer who is well known for designing buildings that cultivate the “native wisdom” of their place.

He sketches often, finding that the practice enriches his connection to the world. In his recently released book, Frank offers an invitation: drawing as a way to inspire curiosity, presence, and everyday joy.

Native Places is available in many local book stores. To find out if it is available in a store near you click here.

If you can’t find it locally it is available on Amazon. To buy click here.