Dear NOMA Family,
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Philip Goodwin Freelon (1952 – 2019), one of the greatest architects of our time. Phil Freelon was a long-time NOMA member as well as a mentor to many in the organization and beyond.’
Mr. Freelon will be remembered not only for his incredible design talent but also for his leadership, poise, kindness, and generosity. On a personal note, I remember when I first met Mr. Freelon at the 2010 NOMA Conference in Boston. He was incredibly approachable and gracious. I remembered studying his work as an architecture student, and I was very excited about meeting him as a young professional.
Getting to share space with Phil Freelon was a highlight of my NOMA experience. The first time and the subsequent opportunities I had to interact with him, including as recently as last year during a meeting in Detroit. Our industry lost a titan today.
I will always remember playing basketball with him at the Boston NOMA conference. We were on the same team, and it was a great game versus the students. We won, but really any team with Phil Freelon is a winner. Phil Freelon’s team won the commission for the iconic National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), The project was in partnership with David Adjaye and the legendary J. Max Bond, forming the FAB Studio.
This transformative project was just one of Mr. Freelon’s great works, both as a firm owner, founding The Freelon Group in 1990, and as a firm leader at Perkins+Will later in his remarkable career.
Phil Freelon remains a role model for those who have had the privilege of knowing him. His legacy will live on, He taught, mentored, interacted with, and who enjoy the benefit of engaging with his design work. Mr. Freelon will be sorely missed by his NOMA family and most notably by his wife Nnenna and his three children.
Phil Freelon, NOMAC, FAIA, was one of a kind and NOMA is proud to honor him. NOMA will rename our Annual Professional Design Awards the Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards. Beginning at this year’s conference in Brooklyn, October 16th – 20th. Please join us in honoring the phenomenal legacy of Phil Freelon.
2019-2020 NOMA President
This is a reprint of an article from Kimberly Dowdell, President of NOMA with editorial modifications.