Thursday, April 27, 2017

John Malveaux: Architect Magazine: Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980) Wins the 2017 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal

Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980)

The Small Home of Tomorrow
Paul R. Williams, A.I.A.
(courtesy Dan Gregory)
John Malveaux of 

Paul William, first African American to earn AIA Gold Medal 

Architect Magazine
By Katie Gerfen
December 7, 2016

The first African-American architect to win the Institute's top honor, Williams both excelled at traditional residential design for his famous Hollywood clients and was a major proponent of Southern California Modernism.

Paul Revere Williams has been awarded the 2017 AIA Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest honor for an individual or pair of collaborators whose work has had a lasting influence on the state of architecture. The American Institute of Architects board of directors voted earlier today to posthumously award the medal to Williams, who died in 1980, in recognition of his extensive and impressive portfolio of nearly 3,000 buildings built over his 50-year, barrier-breaking career. William J. Bates, FAIA, who served as AIA vice president from 2015-16, wrote in his support of Williams’ nomination, according to the AIA: “Our profession desperately needs more architects like Paul Williams. 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.”

Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1894. He studied architecture at the University of Southern California's School of Engineering, persevering despite the many who tried to dissuade him for fear that he would not be able to sustain a practice in a predominantly white community in a deeply segregated time. He opened his practice in 1923 in a booming residential market in Southern California, and his house designs ran the gamut from small houses for first-time home buyers to grand revivals for more affluent customers. His client list grew to include celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and Barron Hilton—all of whom commissioned lavish private residences. 

No comments: