James Ingo Freed (1930- 2005), a German born American architect, is known for designing and overseeing the building of many famous and iconic American structures, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Born in Essen, Germany, Freed’s family fled Europe in 1939, and ultimately settled in Chicago. In 1956 Freed received his architectural degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and he soon began working at the architectural firm I.M. Pei in New York, which later became known as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. During his time there, Freed designed some of his most well known buildings, including the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Plaza in New York (1986, 1988), the Los Angeles Center Expansion (1993), the San Francisco Main Public Library (1996), and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C. (1998), just two blocks from the white house.
Although Freed worked at I.M. Pei in New York until his death in 2005, he also spent a significant amount of his career in Chicago. From 1975-1978 he served as the dean at The School of Architecture at his alma mater. Around that time he was a member of the Chicago Seven, a group of post-modernist architects trying to overthrow the hegemony of modernism in architecture and design at the time. Later, Freed was a member of a number of other architectural organizations, including the American Institute of Architects, the Architectural League of New York, and the Municipal Art Society.
Numerous honors were presented to Freed for his work, including the Arnold W. Brunner Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1987), the first annual Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture from the American Institute of Architects (1992), the National Medaw of Arts awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts and presented by Bill Clinton (1995), and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Design for the Government of the United States (1997).
At the time of his death from Parkinson’s disease in 2005, Freed was working on the United States Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, which was later completed in 2006. He lived in Manhattan.