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

Architect Philip G. Freelon, design director for the North Carolina practice of global architecture firm Perkins+Will, will next month 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."