Project Architect

The Freelon Group & Gensler

An architectural pioneer in projects devoted to sustainability, the arts, and strengthening understanding between disparate cultures, The Freelon Group caught Columbia College’s attention almost immediately.

Founded in 1990 by Philip G. Freelon, the firm was selected as the Johnson Legacy Project’s lead architect after demonstrating, above so many others, a commitment to environmentally considerate designs that are rich in technological integration yet deeply sensitive to cultural history and expression.

With 45 American Institute of Architects (AIA) design awards at the national, regional, state, and local levels, The Freelon Group is distinguished in its field for promoting energy efficiency and sustainable design.

Philip G. Freelon

Philip G. Freelon is the founder and president of The Freelon Group, Inc. With 30 years of design and management experience, he heads the company’s museum and cultural center work. His projects have been published in the New York Times and other national journals. When he is not busy with design work, Phil Freelon serves on the faculty at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, and has been a visiting lecturer at many universities, including Harvard. He has served on several national design-award juries and is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Related Projects

The Freelon Group has extensive experience in the design and construction of several human rights museums, as well as cultural centers, multifaceted libraries, and lasting public monuments. the John H. and Eunice W. Johnson Center will embrace all these talents of The Freelon Group, being part commemorative exhibit, part innovative library—all steeped in the Johnson legacy.


Museum of the African Diaspora

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is designed to bring people of all backgrounds together in appreciation of the art and history of those of African descent, both within the United States and throughout the world. Columbia College Chicago hopes to infuse the John H. and Eunice W. Johnson Center with a similar sense of storytelling and cultural appreciation, paying homage not only to a publishing hero, but to what he represented for the community as a whole.


The Anacostia Library

In much the same way that the John H. and Eunice W. Johnson Center will be designed to foster the Columbia College Chicago community, the Anacostia Library likewise brings its DC neighborhood together. With online access for children, as well as a large collection of print and non-print resources (CD books, DVDs, and mixed-media kits), the Anacostia Library blends modern technology with devoted public service.


Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

A $500 million project on the Mall of Washington, DC, the Smithsonian NMAAHC tells stories of persecution and struggle, as well as those of immense triumph. The inspiration behind the Smithsonian NMAAHC is something we hope to transfer to the construction of the John H. and Eunice W. Johnson Center, celebrating the struggles of these two cultural figures who brought the beauty of their culture to the public eye.