Phil Freelon of Perkins+Will Receives North Carolina’s Highest Civilian Honor


Phil Freelon

Architect Philip G. Freelon, design director for the North Carolina practice of global architecture firm Perkins+Will, will be awarded the highest civilian honor in the state: the 2017 North Carolina Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the state and nation in the categories of fine arts, literature, science, and public service. Freelon, one of the country’s most accomplished and celebrated architects, is being honored for his contributions in the field of fine arts.

"Phil Freelon’s design talent is absolute, and his commitment to elevating social equity through design is inspirational. Through his architectural contributions, Phil has improved the lives of countless North Carolinians and of Americans far and wide. He is one of the leading architects practicing in the United States today, and I couldn’t think of a more qualified individual to receive the 2017 North Carolina Award for fine arts,” says Perkins+Will CEO Phil Harrison. “North Carolina should be tremendously proud of him.”

Freelon’s design achievements include cultural, civic, and academic projects for some of America’s most respected institutions. He led the design team for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and is the design architect for the National Center for Civil Rights in Atlanta. His portfolio also includes the Harvey B Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Emancipation Park in Houston, multiple library projects for the DC Public Library System, and the Durham County Human Services Complex.

In 2011, Freelon was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the National Commission of Fine Arts. His firm, The Freelon Group, joined Perkins+Will in 2014, earning him a seat on the Perkins+Will Board of Directors and positioning him as a key leader of the firm’s cultural and civic practice. In 2017, he was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. Freelon is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and a recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.

Other winners of the 2017 North Carolina Award are: The Honorable Loretta E. Lynch for Public Service; Jane Smith Patterson for Public Service; James H. Woodward for Public Service, Margaret Donovan Bauer for Literature; and R.K.M. Jayanty for Science.

"It is such a privilege to honor these remarkable people who have made North Carolina better through their extraordinary accomplishments," said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. "Each of them has enriched the lives of our citizens and enhanced our state’s reputation as a center of culture, arts, science and public service."

About Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935. Founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities, we collaborate with clients all over the world to create healthy, sustainable places in which to live, learn, work, play, and heal. More than 2,000 professionals across 24 Perkins+Will offices include some of the brightest minds in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Clients consistently turn to us for our leadership and expertise in areas like sustainability, resilience, health and wellness, and mobility. Additionally, our 10 Research Labs catalyze innovative design technologies and solutions that result in better, smarter, more competitive built environments. The recipient of hundreds of design awards each year, and a progressive leader in corporate social responsibility, Perkins+Will is consistently ranked among the world's top design firms.

About the North Carolina Practice of Perkins+Will

The North Carolina practice of Perkins+Will features a collaborative and diverse team of over 60 professionals based in Durham and Charlotte studios. Working on projects locally, nationally, and internationally, the team is known for an idea-driven design process rooted in what matters most to clients--reflecting and reinforcing their core values and aspirations.

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