Alum to Design Smithsonian’s New National Museum

May 12, 2009
By Cherry Crayton

Philip Freelon (Courtesy of the NC State College of Design

Philip Freelon (Courtesy of the NC State College of Design)

Philip Freelon ’75 of Durham will head the project team designing the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The News & Observer profiled the founder of The Freelon Group, an architectural firm, after the announcement:

The recent commission in Washington continues a rising swing for Freelon, who is considered one of the most successful mid-career African-American architects in the country.

“I don’t want to be the Spike Lee of architecture, I want to be the Quincy Jones of architecture,” Freelon told Baltimore Sun architecture critic Edward Gunts in 2005.

The N&O has an image of the winning design here. Freelon talked about what went behind developing the design with WUNC’s The State of Things.

Freelon also won the American Institute of Architects’ 2009 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, which recognizes excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement among private-sector architects, public-sector architects and public officials who raise awareness about design excellence.

His firm was also commissioned to partner with HOK to design the Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta, Ga., and they designed the Durham Bulls ballpark and the new parking dark at the RDU International Airport.


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