National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Atlanta, Georgia
A Space for Action

While elements of the Civil Rights struggle in the U.S. have been explored by other institutions, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) is the first to present civil and human rights in a series of exhibits that amplify the historic and thematic connections between the two.

Through its architecture and exhibits, NCCHR conveys the spirit of the U.S. Civil Rights movement and places this important chapter of U.S. history in the context of the ongoing struggles and actions around the world. This is reflected in the center’s program; an active agenda focused on advancing human rights the world over.

Social Mission

Design of the NCCHR was inspired as a “space for action” where people of diverse backgrounds can connect to common issues associated with our civil and human rights.

NCCHR is a living institution for local, national, and international conversations and actions on human rights issues.
The center has established itself as one of the nation’s leading centers for safe and welcoming dialogue around difficult topics such as race relations, genocide, torture, and mass incarceration.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection

The NCCHR is host to the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. A dedicated gallery with continuously rotating exhibits, highlights many of his most influential, as well as lesser-known writings, speeches, and memorabilia.

A monumental stair connects the lower level to the main lobby above. An array of east-facing windows transform this stair into a chapel-like experience bringing daylight deep into the building.
Expressing human diversity, the two curving walls that define the building’s exterior form are clad in architectural panels of varying sizes and earth tones.
“We needed someone who could embrace this idea of civil rights and human rights in their design, and who could feel it in their heart.”

Shirley Franklin
Board Chair, National Center
for Civil and Human Rights and
Former Mayor of Atlanta

Architectural Collaboration:
Perkins&Will, Design Architect / HOK, Architect of Record

Project Team

Kenneth Luker
Phil Freelon (1953-2019)