DAVID M HARMON

ZBA, Then BCDM

olio | Development Design Strategies

SAY IT LOUD - NOW Exhibitor

France/Washington Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Music! Connections between the physical and emo- tion/spirit are so apparent in music —and tremen- dously inspiring to me. In ‘influencing’ places, beyond the physical, let’s work more consciously with the ‘music’ at play between people and people!

David M Harmon

Bio:

Founding Principal : olio | Development Design Strategies, a collaborative, silo-busting resource mobilizing collective envisioning and design to empower community. Born into a family of artists in Camden NJ, raised in Nice, France. Early design roles: Musée du Louvre in Paris, US Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC, Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. Featured in Progressive Architecture 7/1993. Thesis project, rooted in African-American culture, jazz, honored at Harvard GSD. NOMA Awards Juror.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

Van Bruner, in 1963, Dad to my Travis in “A Raisin in the Sun”, a founder of NOMA, was the 1st architect I knew. In 1975, majoring in International Studies & An- thropology, I decided I preferred Architecture, ‘applied anthropology’, over US diplomacy.

What do you do?

I design and collaborate with as much vision and intensity as I can muster —especially where cultural fabrics need attention, and where people discover beauty in each other. Carry this beauty forward : that is a sacred power of Architecture

What excites you in the work you do?

Creating places is my passion. Buildings, fresh worlds, especially today where people can feel newly hope- ful, safe, and re-engaged with each other. Today as designers, developers, inserting places of value ex- change, jobs, new opportunity is critical.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Music! Connections between the physical and emo- tion/spirit are so apparent in music —and tremen- dously inspiring to me. In ‘influencing’ places, beyond the physical, let’s work more consciously with the ‘music’ at play between people and people!

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Working almost facelessly to shape the Elson S Floyd Cultural Center as ‘Culturally Responsive Architectural Design Lead’ and Art Curator : Beyond the beauty of the teamwork, I was led by the powerful spirit guiding the work —now infusing the place.

Featured Project Name: 

Grand Louvre Project; Near Eastern Antiquities & Islamic Art

 

Featured Project Location: 

The Louvre Museum, Paris FRANCE

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

November 1993

Role in Featured Project: 

Project Designer / Project Manager Dept of Near Eastern Antiquities & Islamic Art responsible for all aspects

Featured Project Description:

Of IM Pei’s 667,000 sf challenge to forge a modern Grand Louvre within its medley of period styles, my job was to create strongly resolved new spaces for Near Eastern Antiquities & Islamic Art. I was tasked early on to solve a design conflict: the Louvre Director and IM Pei had recommended exhibiting isolated fragments to avoid Disneyfication. The Curators wanted a more dioramic approach. Proposing rigorous abstraction, to govern what spare theater design has a power to evoke, proved successful.

Photography Credit:

David Harmon

Featured Project Name: 

Elson S Floyd Cultural Center

 

Featured Project Location: 

Washington State University

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

2017

Role in Featured Project: 

Consulting with GGLO as ‘Culturally Responsive Architectural Design Lead’ & Art Curator -responsible for the ‘below-surface’, inevitably invisible*, authentic rootedness of the architecture’s multicultural design expres- sion. *(—otherwise you wouldn’t get the job).

 

Featured Project Description:

Elson S Floyd’s project to address minority invisibility and native land rights of the Nimiipuu. Said Loud, the building’s very beauty flowers from the soil to amend: Powering the design: 3 MOVES rooted in the experience of the marginalized (else the design has no sense): 1—NOT EUROPEAN architecture (otherwise non-Europeans are just guests). 2—give primacy to Nimiipuu EMBRACE OF NATURE (universal human home). 3—keep WONDER alive by any means necessary (de-stabilize how all presume to know you).

 

Photography Credit:

GGLO / Absher Construction

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