New Collection Guide for the Phil Freelon Papers Now Available

Architect and NC State College of Design alumnus Phil Freelon, sitting at his desk when he was working at O'Brien Atkins Associates.

Architect and NC State College of Design alumnus Phil Freelon, sitting at his desk when he was working at O'Brien Atkins Associates.

The Special Collections Research Center is pleased to announce that the newly updated collection guide for the Phil Freelon Papers (MC 00553) is now available.

An architectural design of Freelon's RDU project.
An architectural design of Phil Freelon's RDU American Airlines Terminal project.

Acclaimed architect and NC State alum Phil Freelon, who recently passed away in July 2019, worked closely with the Special Collections Research Center to preserve his materials at NC State University Libraries. Freelon was the founder and president of The Freelon Group, Inc., then managing director and director of design for Perkins + Will, located in Durham, North Carolina. Freelon specialized in public architecture and was best known for his design of cultural museums and educational buildings such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and Lake Johnson Boat House.

Phil Freelon posing next to a sculpture at an Italian quarry.
Phil Freelon posing next to a sculpture at an Italian quarry.

The Phil Freelon Papers consist of Freelon’s architectural drawings, project records, architectural models, and photographs pertaining to his professional career. New additions to the collection includes correspondence from 1975 to 2019. Particularly notable is a 1975 formal memorandum from Dean of the College of Design (formerly known as the School of Design) Claude E. McKinney, requesting Freelon to serve as chairman on the first Affirmative Action Task Force. The goal of the task force was to facilitate a plan and commitment to "increase the presence of minorities and women in [the] School's student body." Additionally, there are materials pertaining to his American Airlines Terminal C project at Raleigh Durham Airport in 1986 when Freelon was the project architect and designer at O'Brien Atkins Associates.

The Phil Freelon Papers (MC 00553) is available for research. Related materials for this collection at the SCRC include a digitized oral history interview with Freelon. For more information or to request access to these records, please use our online request form. The Special Collections Research Center contains a growing collection of architecture and design related materials, which can be accessed by searching our digitized collections and online collection guides.