By: Chris Tonelli
Because the College of Design played such a critical role in his early development as an architect, Phil Freelon has chosen the NCSU Libraries as the home for his architectural archive: “I am proud to be a member of the NC State family,” Freelon noted, “and it is an honor to be recognized in this way.” Freelon has donated his architectural records from his earliest years as a practitioner and plans to add to his archive in the future.
In addition to being a student in the College of Design in the 70’s, Freelon has taught at the College, served on its Design Guild/Design Life Board, the Board of Visitors, and the Board of Trustees. He has designed several buildings on campus, including the Partners III Lab Building on Centennial Campus and the new Gregg Museum addition, currently under construction.
Freelon is the founder and President of The Freelon Group, Inc. His work has been published in national professional journals including Architecture, Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, and Contract Magazine, where he was named Designer of the Year for 2008.
Metropolis and Metropolitan Home magazines and the New York Times have also featured Freelon and his firm. His furniture design has been recognized nationally, including first prize in the PPG Furniture Design Competition and design contract work with Herman Miller.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Freelon earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in Architecture from North Carolina State University and his Master of Architecture degree from MIT. He then received a Loeb Fellowship and spent a year of independent study at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Freelon went on to serve as an adjunct faculty member at North Carolina State University’s College of Design and has been a visiting critic/lecturer at Harvard, MIT, the University of Maryland, Syracuse University, Auburn University, the University of Utah, the California College of the Arts, Kent State University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, among others. He is currently on the faculty at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.
Freelon is a Peer Professional for the GSA’s Design Excellence Program and has served on numerous design award juries, including the National AIA Institute Honor Awards jury and the National Endowment for the Arts Design Stewardship Panel. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a LEED Accredited Professional, and the 2009 recipient of the AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.
Appointed in 2011 by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Freelon is part of the team leading the design for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture and is a preeminent architectural designer of museums featuring African-American history, including the Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.