Honoring Sacred Ground. The International African American Museum by PCF, Moody Nolan, Hood Design, and Ralph Appelbaum

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Project team
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Design Architect (Architecture; exterior envelope; interior design of Public Spaces).- Henry N. Cobb (Lead Designer), Matteo Milani (Lead Designer), Hitoshi Maehara (Senior Design Architect).
Moody Nolan
Executive Architect; FF&E; Signage.- Curt Moody (Partner in Charge), Jonathan Moody (Project Executive), Bob Larrimer (Project Manager), Julie Cook (Senior Project Architect).
Hood Design Studio
Landscape Design.- Walter Hood (Creative Director), Paul Peters (Design Principal).
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA)
Institutional Planning, Museum Exhibition Conceptual Design, Interpretive Planning.- Ralph Appelbaum (Principal), Aki Carpenter (Vice President and Chief Creative Officer).
Structural Engineering.- Guy Nordenson and Associates.
M/E/P/FP Engineering; Acoustic Consulting; Communications Infrastructure; Security Consulting; Lighting Design (Base Building, Exterior, Landscape).- Arup.
Landscape Architect of Record.- SeamonWhiteside.
Construction Cost Consulting.- Venue Consulting, St.
Civil Engineering; Survey.- Forsberg Engineering.
Geotechnical & Environmental Engineering.- S&ME
Traffic Engineering.- Bihl Engineering.
Code Consulting.- CCI.
Water Feature M/E/P.- Aqua Design International.
Commissioning.- Whole Building Systems.

Collaborating exhibition design team

Museum Planning and Implementation.- Carolynne Harris Consulting.
Lighting Design (Exhibit Spaces).- Technical Artistry.
Multimedia Design and Production.- Cortina Productions.

Construction team

Construction Manager.- Turner.
Construction Management.- Brownstone.
Exhibit Fabrication.- Solomon Group.
Display Case Fabrication.- Zone Display Cases.
AV System Integration.- Johnson Controls.
41,800 sf GFA. ---
Main building volume
Length.- 426’.
Width.- 83’-8”.
Height.- 24’.

Ground level columns (18).
Tall.- 13’.
Proposed (Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.).- 2000.
Preliminary concepts.- 2008.
Final design start.- 2014.
Groundbreaking.- October 25, 2019.
Opening celebrations.- June 24, 2023.
Open to the public.- June 27, 2023.
14 Wharfside St, Charleston, South Carolina, United States.
North/south walls.- handmade Danish Brick.
East/west ends.- African Sapele wood.
Ground-level column cladding.- oyster-shell tabby (GFRC).
Exterior flooring.- Jet Mist granite and cast-in-place concrete with tabby finish.

I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei was born in China on April 26, 1917, in Canton, Guangzhou, China. When he was 17 years old, he traveled to the United States, initially attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before transferring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1940.

Pei soon continued his studies at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where he had the opportunity to study with German architect and founder of the Bauhaus design movement Walter Gropius. During World War II, Pei took a break from his education to work for the National Defense Research Committee. In 1944, he returned to Harvard and earned his master's degree in architecture two years later. Around this time, Pei also worked an assistant professor at the university.

In 1948, Pei joined New York-based architectural firm Webb & Knapp, Inc., as its director of architecture. In 1955 he left to start his own firm, I. M. Pei & Associates (now known as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners). One of his first major projects was the Mile High Center in Denver, Colorado. Pei also devised several urban renewal plans for areas of Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia around this time.

In the years following the death of President John F. Kennedy, Pei met with his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, on the designs for his presidential library. The project, built in Dorchester, Massachusetts, met several challenges over the years, including a change in location. Completed in 1979, the library is a nine-story modern structure that features glass and concrete. Pei also designed a later addition to the site.

Following the dedication of the Kennedy library, Pei continued to create wondrous buildings around the world, including the west wing of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (1980) and the Fragrant Hill Hotel in China (1983). In 1983, he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize for his contributions to his field. In their official announcement, the committee recognized his ability to "draw together disparate people and disciplines to create an harmonious environment." Pei used his prize money to create a scholarship for Chinese students to study architecture in the United States.

During this time, Pei also began work on revitalizing Paris's Louvre museum. The new, and controversial, entrance he created for the world-famous structure has since become one of the most iconic representations of his work. Pei had visitors descend into the museum through a large glass pyramid, which took them to a new level below the existing courtyard.

Pei continued to design impressive buildings during the 1990s, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ralph Appelbaum Associates RAA

Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) is the world’s largest practice dedicated to the planning and design of museums and narrative environments. Using physical space as a medium for communication and dialogue, RAA brings together designers, architects, artists, historians, educators, media makers, technologists, writers, and poets who are passionate about encouraging a mindful connection to the world around us. Past and current projects include many of the world’s most recognizable cultural attractions. RAA’s work has been honored with every major award for design and communication, including the first-ever National Design Award for Communications Design.

Hood Design Studio

Hood Design Studio, Inc., founded in 1992, is a social art and design practice based in Oakland, California. The studio’s practice is tripartite: art and fabrication, design and landscape, and research and urbanism. This breadth allows the studio to understand each place in its scale and context, with an approach adapted to the particulars of a space. The studio’s work strengthens endemic patterns and practices—ecological and cultural, contemporary and historic, as well as those that remain unseen or unrecognized. Urban spaces and their objects act as public sculptures, creating new apertures through which to see emergent beauty, strangeness, and idiosyncrasy.

Moody Nolan

Moody Nolan is the country’s largest African American–owned architecture firm. Founded in 1982 with just two employees in Columbus, Ohio, the firm has grown to 360 employees across 12 offices. Specializing in corporate, education, sports/recreation, collegiate, healthcare, housing/mixed-use, and public service facilities, Moody Nolan is guided by its mission to improve every life the firm touches through high-performance design, exercising responsible citizenship in designing places and spaces that positively impact clients, community, and the environment.

Acknowledging the firm’s sustained professional excellence, in 2021 the American Institute of Architects (AIA) named Moody Nolan the 58th recipient of the Architecture Firm Award, the AIA’s highest honor for an architecture practice. In 2022 the firm celebrated its 40th anniversary and was named one of the most innovative architecture firms by Fast Company.
Jung 2023 2



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