The legacy of NC architect Phil Freelon
|PHOTO | CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY|
|The work and legacy of Durham architect Philip Freelon, designer of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, are on display at the Gantt Center from 29 October.|
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will host an exhibition dedicated to its architect.
âContainer / Contained: Phil Freelon – Design Strategies for Telling African American Storiesâ opens October 29 and will remain until January 17, 2022 before heading to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh for its opening in February.
The exhibition about the Durham designer, who died in 2019 after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s illness, was created by professors and students from the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture.
Freelon has spent over four decades designing public buildings as the founder of the Freelon Group and later as the Design Director of Perkins + Will North Carolina.
In addition to the Gantt Center, Freelon designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Emancipation Park in Houston, and North Carolina Freedom Park in Raleigh.
âPhil Freelon’s design for the Gantt Center was brilliant,â said Center President and CEO David Taylor. âThe building itself tells the story of the once prosperous Brooklyn neighborhood that was razed in the 1960s and serves as a tribute to that neighborhood and to the resilience of the black community.
Freelon designed public spaces with a simple idea: to use architecture to help tell the story and be part of the content inside. Over two years of research led by Emily Makas, professor of architectural history and associate director of Charlotte’s School of Architecture, culminated in “Container / Contained” as a demonstration of how buildings and spaces relate. stories of African American culture and identity. The exhibition reviews Freelon’s work, which includes museums, libraries, cultural centers and public parks, while analyzing the connections between the forms, materials and meanings of the projects and communities they celebrate. .
âI was honored to participate in this review of Phil Freelon’s work on architecture and identity and for our architecture students to have the opportunity to learn more about his heritage and share it with the community, âMakas said. âA project like this brings together many partners, and we are delighted to be working with the Gantt Center for the exhibition premiere and related programming.