“In all 50 states, an AIA component has never built its own headquarters from the ground up, and certainly not in a completely ‘green' fashion,” says Frank Harmon, principal of Raleigh, N.C.–based Frank Harmon Architect. Until now, that is. Last year, the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA N.C.), also located in Raleigh, held a design competition for its new 12,000-square-foot headquarters. Harmon, who founded his eponymous firm in 1985, won the contract in late January.

Due for completion in 2009 with construction costs expected to be around $4.5 million, the facility will be a “slim, three-story building composed of regionally appropriate materials—stone, wood, concrete, and glass,” says Harmon. The design aims to meet both LEED standards and AIA Committee on the Environment objectives for sustainable design. The headquarters building will be situated along one edge of the site so that the majority of the property can be used as a landscaped park. Another earth-friendly move: Every shovelful of earth will be reused on site.

“AIA N.C. will use its new headquarters to teach the public about what it means to design with the environment and with a healthier future in mind,” Harmon says. “It will be AIA N.C.'s testament to sustainable architecture and the role architects must assume in reaching the goal of drastically reducing our buildings' carbon footprints.”