The NC State University Libraries is deeply saddened by the passing of renowned architect Phil Freelon this week. Our Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is honored to house Freelon’s architectural archive. Over the last few years, he generously donated many architectural records, drawings, awards, and models dating from his earliest years as a practitioner. He also did an oral history interview with the SCRC in 2017.
Letting sunlight come into buildings was a hallmark of Freelon’s designs for libraries, museums, academic buildings, and cultural centers all over the Triangle and the country. Whether filtered through the grand, iron corona around the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on Washington D.C.’s National Mall, or through the humble slats around the cozy Lake Johnson boathouse in Raleigh, light’s presence in Freelon’s buildings signals openness and welcome to all.
The Libraries’ FOCUS magazine celebrated Freelon’s generosity and career with a cover story in our Winter 2016-17 issue. We visited him at his Durham offices at Perkins+Will, and he shared his spirit with us in a wonderful interview that looked back on his time at NC State, his gift to the Libraries, and his career making buildings that enrich all our lives. We share that article here.
Many condolences to the Freelon family from all of us at the Libraries.