Global architecture and design firm Perkins and Will has appointed principal Zena Howard as managing director of its North Carolina practice, which includes offices in Research Triangle Park and Charlotte. Phil Freelon continues as design director and maintains his seat on Perkins and Will’s Board of Directors as a visionary leader for the firm’s cultural practice.
“Having worked with Zena for nearly 14 years, including our close collaboration on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), I can attest to her leadership ability, commitment to client satisfaction, and professionalism,” says Freelon. “Her promotion to managing director is well-deserved, and our clients are in very good hands.”
An award-winning architect and LEED Accredited Professional with 25 years of experience, Howard’s portfolio of built and ongoing projects includes, in addition to the NMAAHC, the Durham County Human Services Complex in Durham, North Carolina; the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina; the Anacostia and Tenley-Friendship libraries, both in Washington, D.C.; the Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan; and Brooklyn Village in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I’m honored to take on this exciting opportunity to lead a motivated, talented team here in North Carolina, and continue engaging with our clients on inspirational projects both locally and nationally,” Howard says.
Howard is a member of the AIA, the National Organization of Minority Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and the Association of African American Museums, and a founding member of Perkins and Will’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement Council. She is a sought-after public speaker, regularly delivering addresses to schools, universities, cultural institutions, government agencies, companies, and industry associations nationwide. She was recently named to ESSENCE Magazine’s Woke 100 Women list, which honors women who are working toward equal rights and inclusion for people of color in America.
A North Carolina native, Howard serves on the North Carolina State University School of Architecture Advisory Board and the University of Virginia Alumni Association Board of Managers. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Architecture.