Keilah Davis | Correspondent

College of Design alumnus and renowned architect Phil Freelon commemorated his exhibit premiere in the African American Culture Center Gallery. Entitled “Designing for Community: The Cultural, Civic, and Collegiate Work of Phil Freelon,” the exhibit opened with a reception on Thursday, April 5 at 6pm.

Freelon is the founder and president of The Freelon Group, Inc. His group designed the National Center of Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Freelon also lead the team of architects who designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., which will be completed in the fall.

The reception was part of the events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the African American Culture Center.

 “It is special for me to be in this space because 25 years ago, as a young architect just starting my firm, this was one of our first commissions. It started us on the path toward designing places for culture, places for people to come together to understand each other and build cohesiveness on a campus like NC State,” Freelon said.

 The exhibit is multisite and multimedia with designs, 3D models, and videos in both the African American Culture Center Gallery and Woodward Student Involvement Center.

 African American Culture Center director Dr. Frances Graham said, “Freelon is a lion who knows his history and perseveres in telling the story of the designs he and his teams have constructed over his 30-year career.”

 Freelon spoke about how his group uses the history and culture of a location as inspiration for their designs.

 “We look for inspiration. It doesn’t just happen by itself. We want to know about the history of the community and engage people. Community engagement really is an important element to our work,” Freelon said. Students, faculty, staff, and community members attended this event.

 “I never knew all the thought processes that went into [designing] a building. He has to think about the culture, atmosphere, and the technical side of it. I think that’s pretty cool,” said Shovan Bhatta, a junior studying accounting.

 A student lecture and reception with Phil Freelon will be held in Woodward Student Involvement Center on Thursday, April 12 at 5:30pm.