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JOHN W. MOUTOUSSAMY

Dubin, Dubin, Black & Moutoussamy
African American AIA Fellow

SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC  Exhibitor
Illinois Based Designer 

Bio: 

He became the first Black architect to have a partnership at a large Chicago architecture firm.

JOHN W. MOUTOUSSAMY

Bio:

John Warren Moutoussamy graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1948 after learning under Mies van der Rohe, the founder of modernist architecture. It’s easy to see van der Rohe’s influence in other projects Moutoussamy designed such as the Richard J. Daley College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S. Truman College and the Chicago Urban League building. These have the classic steel exterior, unlike the Johnson Publishing building which has a similar design in stone. During his studies, he married Elizabeth R. Hunt on March 10, 1942. They had three children. After leaving the office of Schmidt, Garden & Erikson Architects in 1956, Moutoussamy joined the office of PACE Associates. During Moutoussamy’s time at PACE the firm continued to work on projects developed in partnership with Mies, such as preliminary studies for the Chicago Federal Center. In 1965 Moutoussamy left PACE to start his own practice and start work on a large-scale housing development in Bronzeville that would later be known as the Theodore K. Lawless Gardens. The vast, multi-structure housing project spanned over 2.5 acres and consisted of high-rise buildings over twenty-four stories tall as well as fifty-four townhomes. Moutoussamy was asked to join the firm Dubin, Dubin, Black & Moutoussamy aftter partnering to complete the project. He became the first Black architect to have a partnership at a large Chicago architecture firm. Lawless Gardens was completed 1969, as he bagan to work on the JPC HQ.

Year of Elevation: 

1978

Featured Project Name: 

Johnson Publishing Co. Headquarters

Featured Project Location: 

Chicago, IL

Featured Project Completion Date: 

1971

Role in Featured Project: 

Architect

Featured Project Description:

The Johnson Publishing building, offices for Jet and Ebony magazines, was one of the first and remains the only downtown high rise project designed by a black architect. The avant garde interiors designed by Arthur Elrod Associates, Inc. The building has a sculptural presence on Michigan Avenue. Without ornamentation, the horizontal twenty-one 40-foot-wide bands of stone and glass define its main east façade and establish a clear rhythm. The building was given a landmark designation in 2017.

Photography Credit:

Iker Gil, Jacob Chartoff, Lee Bey