Philip Freelon, professor of the practice and champion of diversity in architecture, dies at 66

Philip G. Freelon MArch ’77, professor associated with the rehearse inside MIT division of Architecture, lead designer when it comes to Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American background and society, as well as a specialized force for inclusivity in the industry of architecture, died on July 9 in Durham, new york, of neuro-degenerative disease amyotrophic horizontal sclerosis (ALS), with that he was indeed identified in 2016. He had been 66.

For nine many years beginning in 2007, Freelon taught 4.222 (expert Rehearse), a required subject within the master’s in architecture system that uses present instances to show the legal, moral, and management principles fundamental the practice of structure.

“Phil had been a remarkable designer, a inspiring teacher, a spirited public intellectual and especially, an excellent individual whoever modesty and respect of other individuals and their a few ideas put the most useful face-on the designer as well as on the occupation,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and preparing (SA+P). 

A local of Philadelphia, Freelon attended Hampton University in Virginia before moving to North Carolina State University, that he graduated in 1975 having a bachelor of ecological design level in architecture. He received their master’s degree in structure from MIT as well as age 25 ended up being the youngest person to pass the Architecture Registration Exam in vermont.

The Freelon Group, which he founded in 1990, became among the largest African American-owned architectural organizations in the united kingdom.

“Phil Freelon was a creative and productive alumnus regarding the MIT School of Architecture and preparing,” claims Adèle Naudé Santos, SA+P dean whenever Freelon joined up with the faculty. “His buildings are superbly crafted and spatially inventive, therefore we had been proud to possess him on our faculty. We’re greatly saddened by his passing.”

Freelon headed multifaceted design teams for museum jobs and cultural institutions including the Museum of African Diaspora in bay area, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African United states History and society in Baltimore, the nationwide Center for Civil and Human liberties in Atlanta, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and customs in Charlotte, Emancipation Park in Houston, and also the Anacostia and Tenleytown branches of this District of Columbia Public Library System.

The training joined with three other design companies as Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup generate the Smithsonian National Museum of African United states History and customs. As lead architect and architect of record for the task, by which David Adjaye ended up being lead designer, Freelon directed the development and preparation work that put the stage for the museum’s design. 

In 2014, The Freelon Group joined worldwide design company Perkins and Will. Present and existing tasks led by Freelon include vermont Freedom Park in Raleigh, the Durham County Human Services hard, the Durham transport Center, plus the Motown Museum Expansion in Detroit. He had been appointed towards the board of directors therefore the executive committee of Perkins and can while offering twin functions as handling director and design manager of the firm’s new york practice.

As well as their role at MIT, he had been an adjunct professors user at vermont State University’s College of Design and lectured at Harvard University (where he was a Loeb Fellow), the University of Maryland, Syracuse University, Auburn University, the University of Utah, the University of Ca at Berkeley, Kent State University, and New Jersey Institute of tech, among others. A Peer Professional for the GSA’s Design Excellence Program, he additionally served on many design prize juries such as the National AIA Institute Honor Awards jury and the nationwide Endowment the Arts Design Stewardship Panel. 

“Phil was one of many most difficult working people I ever before knew,” stated Lawrence Sass, connect teacher into the Department of Architecture at MIT and director associated with the computation team. “i really could maybe not believe that somebody so humble might have done so much. He had been a dedicated teacher in addition to being a trusted design professional, and a leader which lived-in the nature of the design giant. He taught from real-world experience. He was emotionally and skillfully accessible. I Shall permanently miss and don’t forget his larger-than-life existence walking down the Boundless Corridor.”

Freelon was a Fellow of United states Institute of Architects, and also the recipient of AIA North Carolina’s Gold Medal, its highest individual honor. A LEED Accredited expert, he was the 2009 individual regarding the AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, plus 2011 ended up being appointed by President Obama into the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. The Freelon Group received 26 AIA design prizes (local, condition, and local) and obtained AIA new york’s Outstanding Firm Award (2001). Freelon’s furnishings design received very first award into the PPG Furniture Design Competition, and he performed design agreement use Herman Miller.

Their work has appeared in national expert magazines including Architecture, Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, and Contract mag (fashion designer of the Year, 2008), and his and also the firm’s work has been featured in Metropolis and Metropolitan Home magazines therefore the the latest York instances

Freelon is survived by their spouse of 40 many years, Nnenna Freelon; their kiddies Deen, Maya, and Pierce; three siblings; and six grandchildren. A party of their life is going to be held on Sept. 28 during the Durham County Human Services specialized in Durham. In lieu of flowers, donations can be built to NorthStar Church for the Arts, a nonprofit art and tradition center established by Nnenna and Phil Freelon.