Now Watching: Paul Revere Williams - Hollywood Architect to the Stars


Paul R Williams

Pinterest and I are best buds at this point and during a late night session of advanced pinterestology (it's a thing) an image of a home designed by Paul Revere Williams crossed my feed.  Well I took the challenge and went down the rabbit hole for all of us.

Per his website

 "Paul Revere Williams was born in Los Angeles on February 18, 1894 to Lila Wright Williams and Chester Stanley Williams who had recently moved from Memphis with their young son, Chester, Jr. When Paul was two years old his father died, and two years later his mother died.  The children were placed in separate foster homes.  Paul was fortunate to grow up in the home of a foster mother who devoted herself to his education and to the development of his artistic talent. 

At the turn of the 20th century, Los Angeles was a vibrant multi-ethnic environment with a population of only 102,000 of which 3,100 were African American (U.S. Census 1900). During Williams’ youth the California dream attracted people from across the United States, and they mixed together with little prejudice.  Williams later reported that he was the only African American child in his elementary school, and at Polytechnic High School he was part of an ethnic mélange. However, in high school he experienced the first hint of adversity when a teacher advised him against pursuing a career in architecture, because he would have difficulty attracting clients from the majority white community and the smaller black community could not provide enough work. 

Williams did not give up. Confident in his strengths, he simultaneously pursued architectural education and professional experience with Los Angeles’ leading design firms while developing social and business networks. Certified as a building contractor in 1915, he was licensed as an architect by the State of California in 1921. Earning accolades in architectural competitions and the respect and encouragement of his employers, Williams opened his own practice and become the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923. "

There is also this great video below illustrating his work not only with Celebrities but also his work designing some of LA's public housing.

 

There are several great articles on him that are listed below.

1. Houzz

2. CultureType

3. USModernist

4. Architectural Digest

5. Paul Revere Williams Project