A true trailblazer, Harvey Bernard Gantt was the first African-American student admitted to Clemson University and Charlotte’s first African-American mayor. To celebrate his contributions to the community, the Afro-American Cultural Center was renamed after Mr. Gantt. The 46,500-square-foot Center was also redesigned to pay homage to African-American Arts and Culture in a striking way.
Known for projects that foreground African-American history, The Freelon Group was chosen for the revamp. They wanted to convey two culturally significant symbols in their design — Jacob’s Ladder and quilts. Our versatile, durable Hefti-Rib exposed fastener panels helped Freelon tell the story.
Fabral perforated copper panels frame the building’s exterior staircases and central atrium, for a modern interpretation of Jacob’s Ladder. This design feature perpetuates the ideals of enlightenment and advancement through cultural awareness. The copper panels are “stitched” together by diagonal steel channels, mirroring African-American quilting patterns from the Underground Railroad era.
Together, these architectural references help underscore the Center’s mission to ignite engagement and conversations that inspire, empower, and enlighten all.