Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards logo - an abstraction of facade elements, five simple lines cutting across a deep beige field Vision Category - Honor Award: Vines Architecture, Cleveland Public Library–Martin Luther King Jr. Branch, Columbus, Ohio Built Category - Honor Award: Moody Nolan, The Legacy House Project, Columbus, Ohio Historic Preservation Category - Honor Award: Holly Street Studio, Phoenix College Physical Science Building, Phoenix, Arizona | photo credit: Matt Winquist Unbuilt Category - Honor Award: Perkins & Will, Destination Crenshaw, Los Angeles, California Small Projects Category - Honor Award: Ian Smith Design Group, Tufas Boulder Lounge, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photography credit: Ian Smith Design Group

NOMA Introduces the Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards

“I’ve learned that if you build something beautiful, people will respect it.” 
Phil Freelon, NOMAC, FAIA 

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) is pleased to announce the Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards. With a legacy of recognizing outstanding architectural design work, NOMA is renaming the decades-old prestigious design awards in honor of Phil Freelon’s notable career, recognizing him as one of the most influential African American architects of our time. Freelon passed away July 9, 2019. The inaugural awards will be presented at the 47th Annual NOMA Conference at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, October 16-20, 2019, in Brooklyn, New York. The conference is expected to attract over 1,000 national attendees.

Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards logo - an abstraction of facade elements, five simple lines cutting across a deep beige field

A lifelong NOMA member and advocate, Freelon was one of the principal architects for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on the Mall in Washington, D.C. He led national projects that recognized and celebrated the African American experience across the U.S., including Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights; San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora; and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. He founded The Freelon Group, later acquired by Perkins & Will, where he served as design director until 2019. Former President Barack Obama appointed him to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 2011. Freelon was designated “America’s Humanitarian Architect,” and named Fast Company’s 2017 Architect of The Year. 

“As an organization recognizing minority architects’ successes, challenges and triumphs, there is no more fitting person to name our professional design awards after,” said NOMA President, Kimberly Dowdell, NOMA, AIA. “From the start of his career until the end, Phil Freelon was an inspiration to all. The awards, now in his name, will honor the greatest achievements in architectural design each year and remind us to always strive for excellence.” 

Submissions to the inaugural Phil Freelon NOMA Professional Design Awards must be made by registered architects who are current NOMA members as of the submission deadline, September 20, 2019. Awards will be announced at the NOMA Conference awards dinner in Brooklyn on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Entries may include new construction, rehabilitation, restorations, additions, adaptive reuse, or conceptual work in the following award categories: Built Work; Unbuilt Work; Vision; Historic Preservation, Restoration and Renovation; and Small Projects. 

“NOMA’s design awards are a coveted national honor,” said Karen Prater Jasmine, NOMA Executive Director. “With the added honor of the awards named in memory of Mr. Freelon, we anticipate this year’s awards ceremony and presentation to be exceptionally meaningful to all participants.”