ROBERT A. KENNARD
Kennard Design Group
African American AIA Fellow
SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC Exhibitor
California Based Designer
Kennard served as a mentor to numerous architects, especially architects of color and women, who were starting their own practice. He was a consistent voice in advocating for young people to pursue architecture as a profession, and he spoke often at schools, colleges and universities.
ROBERT A. KENNARD
When Robert Kennard first began looking for work as a draftsman in the late 1930s, many doors were closed to him because of racial discrimination. He vowed if he was ever in a position to hire young people, he would always do what he could to encourage others. He received the Whitney Young Award in 1991 in recognition of his contributions of “selflessly and energetically working to improve the quality of life for those less fortunate and to inspire youth to rise above adversity,” AIA President James Lawler said during the presentation. Robert Kennard was in the second generation of African American architects who were inspired by Paul Williams. Like Williams, Kennard was born in Los Angeles and founded his firm there in 1957. He began with residential design and completed some 40 residences through the early 1960s. One of his first homes, the Zeiger Residence, has been designated as a City of Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument. Kennard served as a mentor to numerous architects, especially architects of color and women, who were starting their own practice. He was a consistent voice in advocating for young people to pursue architecture as a profession, and he spoke often at schools, colleges and universities. He was active in student programs at many public elementary, junior and high school schools and colleges such as California Polytechnic Universities at Pomona and San Luis Obispo, UCLA, University of Southern California and others.
Object Four - Public service, government, industry, or organization
Year of Elevation:
Featured Project Name:
Carson City Hall
Featured Project Location:
Carson, CA (Los Angeles County)
Featured Project Completion Date:
Role in Featured Project:
Executive Architect with Robert Alexander and Frank Sata
Featured Project Description:
In 1968, the city of Carson was incorporated from LA County. As a new city, it wanted to create an iconic structure as its city hall that was modern but referenced its Spanish rancho past. Kennard was invited to pursue the design contract with his former boss, Robert Alexander, and a younger architect, Frank Sata. As a white, black and Japanese American team, they reflected the demographics of the new city. Later the city council retained the team to design an adjacent community center.