Howard University taps Moody Nolan and KGD to design its Center for Fine Arts and Communication

Bison on the Job

Howard University taps Moody Nolan and KGD to design its Center for Fine Arts and Communication

(Derek E. Morton/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Howard University has selected Moody Nolan and Washington, D.C.–based firm KGD to codesign its Center for Fine Arts and Communication, a new state-of-the-art facility for its campus that will house the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, and the historically Black university’s (HBCU) television and radio stations.

The Center for Fine Arts and Communications will be located on the northern part of Howard’s 256-acre Washington campus, situated behind Childer’s Hall, which houses the school’s music and theater department. Howard’s College of Fine Arts was incorporated into the College of Arts and Sciences  in 1997 only to be reestablished again as a separate entity in 2018. In 2021, the university named its art college after acclaimed movie actor Chadwick Boseman. The star of Marvel superhero film Black Panther and Jackie Robinson biopic 42 tragically passed away in 2020 from colon cancer at the age of 43. Boseman, an alumnus of Howard University, with a degree in film directing, led protests against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the College of Arts and Sciences, during his matriculation.

Moody Nolan, the largest Black-owned architecture firm in the United States, with offices across the country, has completed 63 projects for 33 HBCU campuses over its 40 year history. The firm often recruits HBCU graduates, many of whom are given opportunities to work on projects for their alma mater, among those is Moody Nolan partner and Howard University alumnus Renauld Deandre Mitchell, who will lead the design of the new building.

“For the KGD | Moody Nolan team, this represents a transcendent design opportunity. The Center for Fine Arts and Communications will endure as a threshold building for the campus and catalyze a new era of innovation and creative expression for future Bison,” Mitchell said in a press statement.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to give back to a place that has given me so much,” Mitchell added. “Here at Howard, I found myself, met my life partner and learned my craft – which I now have the privilege of applying ‘With Excellence in Truth and Service’ to my alma mater. I’ve come full circle and can now truly say – I’m HOME.”

Moody Nolan will work alongside local firm KGD to design the Center for Fine Arts and Communication.

“We are honored to serve the community of Howard University with such a distinguished history and place in our academic culture,” said Manoj Dalaya, principal and copresident at KGD. “The KGD | Moody Nolan team is excited to work with a world-leading institution to tell its story, to shape its physical context, and connect with the young scholars and academic community with a next-generation Center for Fine Arts and Communications.”

The new project is part of Howard University’s 2020 Central Campus Master Plan, which also includes a proposals for a new hospital and medical office building, health sciences complex and STEM center, athletics annex, and housing community within walking distance of the campus.

“For the first time since 1984, Howard is constructing new academic buildings. These projects represent the University’s evolving and innovative academic offerings,” Wayne A. I. Frederick president of Howard University said. “The approach to housing more than one discipline under one roof is to encourage greater breadth and depth of exposures, and to create inroads to strengthen the intersections between various fields of study.”

The building is expected to open to students in fall 2025. AN will circle back when designs are unveiled and the project completes.