Philip Freelon, the architect behind major cultural projects across the US, including Washington DC’s National Museum of African American History and San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, has passed away.
The African American architect died Monday 9 July 2019 in North Carolina, where he founded his architecture firm The Freelon Group back in 1990.
Freelon designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which opened in September 2016 in the US capitol, in collaboration with British firm Adjaye Associates, and US firms Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup.
British-Ghanian architect David Adjaye said that he was “deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Freelon”.
“He leaves behind an indelible mark on the practice of architecture and his legacy transcends the brick and mortar of the buildings he designed,” Adjaye added.
這位非洲裔美國建築師於2019年7月9日週一在北卡羅來納州去世，並於1990年在那裡創立了他的建築公司The Freelon Group。
Freelon與英國公司Adjaye Associates以及美國公司Davis Brody Bond和SmithGroup合作，設計了2016年9月在美國首都開設的史密森尼國家非裔美國人歷史與文化博物館（NMAAHC）。
英國 – 加尼建築師David Adjaye表示他“對Phil Freelon的失敗深感悲痛”。
“Phil was a pioneer, an advocate of diversity and inclusion, and his impact will only strengthen over time as we continue to see people of colour rising in the field of architecture,” Adjaye continued. “More than anything, however, Phil was a dear friend and mentor.”
NMAAHC is a key example of Freelon’s dedication to creating buildings and spaces that honour social equality during his 42 years of practice. His projects include eight museums, seven laboratories and dozens of headquarters and schools.
Freelon designed major museums dedicated to black culture in the US
Among his other notable works is Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which features multi-toned cladding to represents different skin colours. Built in 2014, the centre is located in the heart of the city’s tourist district, and serves as a hub for the past, present and future of the Human Rights Movement.
San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Houston’s Emancipation Park, and the Reginald F Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture also feature in Freelon’s portfolio. His firm also designed Detroit’s Motown Museum that is currently under construction.
Perkins + Will, which acquired The Freelon Group in 2014, similarly commended the architect’s achievements and the effects of his work in a statement released following his death.
“Phil broke down socioeconomic and cultural barriers in architecture and design,” said Perkins + Will. “He led the design of almost every major museum or public space dedicated to black culture in the United States.”
“He was, arguably, the most significant African American architect in recent history.”
“Trailblazer in the architecture community”
Perkins + Will, which also published a webpage commemorating Freelon, was joined by key figures from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in celebrating his career.
“Phil was a trailblazer in the architecture community and a pioneer of public spaces,” said AIA executive vice president Robert Ivy. “His positive influence on the profession and our society will be felt for years to come.”
“He has served as a great mentor and role model for many, and was a kind and loving friend to all who knew him,” added AIA’s president William Bates.
Perkins Will於2014年收購了The Freelon Group，同樣在他去世後發表的一份聲明中讚揚了建築師的成就及其作品的效果。
Freelon was an avid supporter of fellow African American colleagues in his profession. In 2016, he presented to the AIA Board of Directors on behalf of late Paul Revere Williams. The result bestowed Williams with the AIA Gold Medal award, marking the first African American to receive it.
“This is a moment in our institute’s history that is so important to recognise and acknowledge the work of a champion,” Freelon said, while serving as managing and design director at Perkins + Will in North Carolina.
Freelon studied at MIT and Harvard GSD
Freelon earned a bachelor in environmental design and architecture at North Carolina State University, and a masters in architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1989, he was the recipient of the Loeb Fellowship and spent a year of independent study at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD).
He went on to be a lecturer at several universities, including North Carolina State University, Harvard, MIT, the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Utah, the California College of the Arts, Syracuse University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Freelon to the US Commission of Fine Arts. In 2017, he was named architect of the year by Fast Company, honouring him as “America’s Humanitarian Architect”.
Freelon was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2016. He is succeeded by his wife, and jazz singer Nnenna Freelon, and their three children.
Freelon是非洲裔美國同事的熱心支持者。 2016年，他代表已故的Paul Revere Williams向AIA董事會提交了申請。結果使威廉姆斯獲得了AIA金獎，這是第一位獲得該獎項的非裔美國人。
“這是我們研究所歷史上的一個時刻，對於認可和承認冠軍的工作非常重要，”Freelon說道，同時擔任北卡羅來納州Perkins + Will的管理和設計總監。
2012年，美國總統巴拉克奧巴馬任命Freelon為美國美術委員會成員。 2017年，他被Fast Company評為年度建築師，將他譽為“美國人道主義建築師”。