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PAUL R. WILLIAMS

Paul R. Williams & Associates
African American AIA Fellow

SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC  Exhibitor
California Based Designer 

Bio: 

Williams won an architectural competition at age 25, and three years later opened his own office. Known as an outstanding draftsman, he perfected the skill of rendering drawings "upside down." This skill was developed because in the 1920s many of his white clients felt uncomfortable sitting directly next to a Black man. He learned to draft upside down so that he could sit across the desk from his clients who would see his drafts right-side-up. He was the first black architect to become a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1923, and in 1957 he was inducted as the AIA's first black fellow.

PAUL R. WILLIAMS

Bio:

Paul Revere Williams "architect to the stars," began designing homes and commercial buildings in the early 1920s. By the time he died in 1980, he had created some 2,500 buildings, most of them in and around Los Angeles, but also around the globe. And he did it as a pioneer: Williams won an architectural competition at age 25, and three years later opened his own office. Known as an outstanding draftsman, he perfected the skill of rendering drawings "upside down." This skill was developed because in the 1920s many of his white clients felt uncomfortable sitting directly next to a Black man. He learned to draft upside down so that he could sit across the desk from his clients who would see his drafts right-side-up. He was the first black architect to become a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1923, and in 1957 he was inducted as the AIA's first black fellow.

Year of Elevation: 

1957

Featured Project Name: 

Paul R. Williams Residence

Featured Project Location: 

Los Angeles, CA

Featured Project Completion Date: 

1952

Role in Featured Project: 

Architect

Featured Project Description:

Built in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of Los Angeles, this Internationale style family home, with its clean lines and space for extensive indoor/outdoor living, illustrated Williams personal design taste in California living. Measuring 4,440 square feet, the home has four bedrooms and five baths, a glamorous Art Deco-style staircase, soffit ceilings, built-in furniture, a green-marble fireplace, an original St. Charles kitchen, a wrap-around roof terrace, and an expansive lanai patio.

Photography Credit:

Photos by Benny Chan, courtesy of Deasy/Penner