North Carolina Freedom Park

Looks like construction is finally set to begin on Freedom Park on the corner of Wilmington St. and Lane St. near the Governors Mansion in December. It will be the first park dedicated to black North Carolinians at the state government complex. The park was designed by the late architect Phil Freelon, who led the design team of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Here is what it looks like today:


LOVE the new park design - much better than what is currently there… BUT: I hope they keep or at least move that super weird brutalist concrete cloverleaf gazebo thing.


Nice project. I heard about this a few years ago, but then nothing happened with it. Glad it is moving forward.

This seems like a great use of an underutilized bit of property and I hope it will be educational and inspirational, especially for kids on field trips.


I like the angled walls throughout. Helps keep it looking open and helps define the area.


Very excited about this. The designers are great friends of mine, and I’ve been waiting for this to get funded for aaages.

The first rendering posted by the N&O (and the one in this post) is a few years old and not what is getting built. To see the current design, you can take a virtual tour here.

If you’re interested in seeing more about the design concept and spacial drivers, you can look at the AIA award submission (although these are also of the old design). This won a Merit award in 2017 for the unbuilt category. I’ll post a couple of the images below.


I like the underneath glowing lights in the virtual walk through, will help it be more welcoming after dusk/before dawn (especially with some of the slopes that create pathways with no clean sight lines in or out). I hope they keep those in final construction.


That’s certainly more evocative than the nondescript space debris (or piece of SkyLab, depending on how geezerish I’m feeling) in front of the State Archives building…


Found a video with the lead designers talking about the project and some views of the park that I haven’t seen posted anywhere.


If you guys didn’t already know this. The lead designer just recently passed.


As you can imagine, we may be seeing this project sooner rather than later.


It’s a stunning concept and I can’t wait to see it completed. That said, I worry A LOT about how enticing this is going to be to skateboarders. I hope that there’s a design plan to thwart that temptation.


I checked with a colleague on the design team.

Skateboarding has been a real concern. This project will clearly be a target in many regards, so there’s a lot to consider. Together with Surface and our precaster we have developed the concept below. It is essentially a continuous 2’ tactile paver at the base of all walls. We’ve gone back and forth a lot about if we need something in the vertical part of the wall, but the issue is exactly where that should be located, how obtrusive it is to the continuity, and if it would even work without being the continuous height. There may be something that shows up at the top of the wall where it is bench height or less, but generally the feedback we have received is that these tactile pavers accompanied with security cameras should be pretty effective. Something similar to the images below, to match the rest of the pavers – bumps would run perpendicular to wall if we go with the linear pattern.

I’m certainly open to additional suggestions or avenues if you have thoughts. I think this solution will feel pretty integrated into the design and avoid tacked on skate deterrents, hopefully. Earlier concept image below.



Maybe just include a budget for an old man with a cane to sit on a bench feeding pigeons all day, who can shake his cane and yell at any skateboarders…


I could serve that role well.


I will retire and do it with you R-Dub. We can be the old guys from the Muppet Show, selling peanuts and cracking-wise all day.


Can we drink beer too?


And a box of chocolates.
:chocolate_bar: :running_man:t3:

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Skate-deterrent rumble strips…LoL.

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I can understand why the designers are resisting making changes to the design before they get their portfolio shots, but I highly doubt that some tactile pavers are going to be anything more than an obstacle that the riders will use to sharpen their skills, should they choose to skate in that park. IMO, it’s not enough. It’s the reclining walls themselves that will likely get the most abuse once the riders figure out how to ride those long lengths. Personally, I’d consider not making all of those sections perfectly aligned with each other and eliminate the continuous flat surfaces.
Thanks for sharing though. I am glad that they are at least thinking about it.


This reminds me… CAN WE GET A DAMN PUBLIC SKATEPARK IN/NEAR DOWNTOWN??? Haha - that’d be a great way to deter skaters from seeking other spaces - give them somewhere to skate!!! Durham has an awesome paved skatepark right on Rigsbee.