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City of Charleston

International African American Museum

Project Description

The architectural form centers the untold stories of enslaved African Americans—serving as a historical touchstone for generations to come.

After more than 20 years of planning, The IAAM is sited at Gadsden’s Wharf overlooking Charleston Harbor, the point of disembarkation for nearly half the Africans enslaved and shipped to the United States during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.


Project Stats


Charleston, SC

Executive Architect

Moody Nolan

Design Architect

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Project Gallery

Design Features

Designed for remembrance

The design team envisioned the entry sequence as both a destination and transitional space between the landscape and exhibition.  Raised 13 feet above the ground on a double row of concrete columns, the single story museum makes way for a plaza of remembrance beneath the floating structure.

The museum and its grounds serve as an educational site, a groundbreaking resource for the study and advancement of African American genealogy, and a memorial honoring the slaves and their descendants who passed through the very same space.

A place where history unfolds

The west side features a chronological, interactive gallery called American Journeys, juxtaposed with media related to the legacies of slavery and current movements around racial equality and social justice.