, /PRNewswire/ -- EwingCole, a national architecture, engineering, interior design and planning firm specializing in the design of cultural institutions, announced it has been selected as a semi-finalist in the national competition to design an installation on Independence Mall commemorating the President's House and the long-obscured story of the enslaved Africans who lived and worked there.
From 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the new nation's capital city, Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived and worked in the President's House, a mansion immediately adjacent to the present location of the Liberty Bell Center. The documented fact is that at least nine enslaved Africans kept by George Washington also lived and toiled in the President's House, which was torn down long ago.
The EwingCole approach to commemorating the President's House, communicated in a proposal to the City of Philadelphia, focuses on the house as a nexus of multiple themes of early American history, and works to ensure that the stories of those who lived and worked there will be clearly heard by generations to come.
"We are prepared to work with the City of Philadelphia, the National Park Service, and the Oversight Committee to bring to life the themes and voices behind the President's House project," said Walter L. Crimm, AIA, the leader of the EwingCole team. "We believe our design will allow ongoing research to be expressed, making this not only a place of memory, but a place of ongoing debate, scholarship and stewardship for those who look to help us understand our past in a way that enriches our present and future.”
The firm's Cultural Practice, headquartered in Philadelphia, works for museums and cultural institutions across the United States. The Practice's diverse clients include the National Gallery of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, the James A. Michener Museum, Liberty Science Center and the Brooklyn Museum.
EwingCole has assembled a team of experts to help achieve the goal of bringing the President's House to life, not merely from an architectural perspective. Among the core team are Dr. Clement Alexander Price, Professor of History and Director of the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, and Spencer Crew, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
EwingCole, and the other semi-finalists, will present a three-dimensional model of its preliminary design later this spring. All of the models will be placed on public display. While no final decision date for choosing the development team has been publicly announced, a project completion date of July 4, 2007 has been set.