Paul Williams,first African American member of the American Institute of Architects

February 8, 2008 at 11:13 pm 1 comment

Here in Isdesign we enjoy sharing accomplishments of designers and their work because they inspirer and motivate us. this month we will be introducing profound black designers and their creative works.

Paul Williams became renown for designing major buildings such the Los Angeles International Airport and over 2000 homes in Southern California. Many of the most elegant houses in Hollywood were created by Paul Williams.

Williams was orphaned when he was four, and received little encouragement for his artistic talents. Nevertheless, he enrolled in engineering school at the University of Southern California and won an important architecture competition when he was only 25. When he was 28, he opened his own practice.

Williams’ famous ability to perfectly render drafts upside-down was a tactic for dealing with racism – this ability allowed his clients to sit opposite from him and see his rendering right-side-up on their side without having to sit next to the Black architect. Williams never complained on his own behalf, but the sting of racism was something he made sure his family could avoid to a small degree, by empowering his children with good educations and a solid upbringing that had compassion and respect at its core. He once stated that “White Americans, in spite of every prejudice, are essentially fair-minded people who cannot refuse to respect courage and honest effort. They will, therefore, give me an opportunity to prove my worth as an individual.”

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Entry filed under: accomplishments of designers, creative.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. CL  |  February 10, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Thank you for bringing some attention to this often forgotten but influential man!!

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