February is Black History Month, an annual observance in the United States and Canada to honor the important accomplishments of black individuals in every area of endeavor. As the month gets underway, I wanted to share a story that was featured in FastCoDesign about the life and legacy of architect Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980).
He practiced largely in Southern California and designed the homes of numerous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Barbara Stanwyck and others. He also designed many public and private buildings - including the famous Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport.
The articles says that Williams designed over 2,000 buildings during his career. While he was known for his Hollywood mansions, he also designed affordable housing, conceptual transportation systems, experimental structural systems, and more. "Expensive homes are my business and social housing is my hobby," Williams once said.
This year, Williams was posthumously honored with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal. “Our profession desperately needs more architects like Paul Williams,” wrote William J. Bates, FAIA, in his support of William’s nomination for the AIA Gold Medal. “His pioneering career has encouraged others to cross a chasm of historic biases. I can’t think of another architect whose work embodies the spirit of the Gold Medal better. His recognition demonstrates a significant shift in the equity for the profession and the institute.” The article by Diana Budds is worth your time and may be found here.