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 renamed the decades-old prestigious design awards in honor of Phil Freelon’s notable career. Freelon passed away July 9, 2019.

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.” 

2022 Competition Submissions

Submissions to the NOMA Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards must be made by registered architects who are current NOMA members as of the submission deadline, September 1, 2022. Awards will be announced at the NOMA Conference awards ceremony. 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.