The Self-Assembly Lab and alum Phil Freelon (MArch ’77) among winners of the 2018 Beazley Design Awards from the London Design Museum

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by Adjaye Associates, Freelon Architects, Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroupJJR received the overall Beazley Design of the Year and the Architecture Award. Phil Freelon (MArch '77, Professor of the Practice) led the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup team of architects working with the Smithsonian to complete the project. Freelon and Bond were selected by the Smithsonian in 2007 to complete initial planning and programming; they joined with Adjaye Associates and SmithGroup and became on of six finalists to present designs to the Smithsonian. They team won the design competition in April 2009.

David Rowan, jury chair, stated: "Not only is this a striking and already iconic structure at the heart of America's capital, but it's the realisation of an entire century of planning, rejection, political opposition and finally collaborative execution. But the building, opened by Barack Obama in September 2016, is also a powerful reminder that design enables a diverse conversation and can challenge the dominant political discourse."


The Self-Assembly Lab, led by Assistant Professor Skylar Tibbits received the 2018 Beazley Digital Design Award from the London Design Museum for their research project ‘Rapid Liquid Printing’ in collaboration with Steelcase and product designer Christophe Guberan. Rapid Liquid Printing addresses three shortcomings in the use of 3D printing in mainstream manufacturing: speed, scale, and quality. By drawing in space within a gel suspension, this printing process allows for the production of large-scale, customized products using industrial-grade materials. "With rapid liquid printing, manufacturing can be reimagined as an artistic experience unlimited by scale or gravity, asking us to rethink design, production, uniformity, and product life-cycles," said the team. The Self-Assembly Lab collaborated with Christophe Guberan and Marcelo Coelho on a tote and a stretchable light to demonstrate the process.

The Beazley Designs of the Year exhibit is on view at the London Design Museum through February 18, 2018.