Philip Freelon

Architect / United States / The Freelon Group, Architects

(1953–2019). Philip G. Freelon founded The Freelon Group in 1990. Over the past 21 years, the firm, based in Durham, NC, has grown to a total of 51 staff members, including 21 licensed architects. Focusing on higher education, science and technology, and museum/cultural center projects, Freelon’s firm has successfully delivered award-winning building design within a collaborative and innovative studio environment. The firm has completed major museum projects in Baltimore, San Francisco, and in Greensboro and Charlotte, NC. The team of Freelon Adjaye Bond was selected by the Smithsonian Institution to design the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which opened in 2016. The Freelon Group joined Perkins & Will in 2014.

Freelon’s 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. The Freelon Group has received 37 AIA design awards at the national, regional, and state levels and also received AIA North Carolina’s Outstanding Firm Award in 2001.

Freelon has served as an adjunct professor at the College of Design, North Carolina State University, and has been a visiting critic and lecturer at Harvard University, MIT, the University of Maryland, Syracuse University, Kent State University, the University of Cincinnati, Catholic University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, among other institutions. In 1989, Freelon was awarded the Loeb Fellowship and spent a year of independent study at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is a member of the faculty of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.

One of 29 LEED® Accredited Professionals in his firm, Freelon is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He has served on numerous design award juries, including the National AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture. He is also the 2009 recipient of the AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture and the 2010 recipient of AIA North Carolina’s Gold Medal. President Barack Obama appointed him to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 2011, where he served from 2012 to 2016. In 2017, Fast Company named him Architect of the Year.

A native of Philadelphia, Freelon holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) from North Carolina State University’s College of Design (1975) and a Master of Architecture from MIT (1977).

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