Paul Revere Williams becomes first black architect to receive AIA Gold Medal - architecture and design

Paul Revere Williams becomes first black architect to receive AIA Gold Medal



The American Institute of Architects has this year bestowed its highest honour on the late Paul Revere Williams, who is the first African American to receive the award.
Williams, who was born in California in 1894 and died in 1980, was also the first black architect to become a member of the AIA in 1923 and the first to be elected a fellow of the organisation in 1957.
Among the 3,000 buildings he designed during his five-decade career are the Palm Springs Tennis Center, created with A Quincy Jones; the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with William Pereira, Charles Luckman and Welton Becket; and private residences for entertainers like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lon Chaney, Frank Sinatra and Barron Hilton.
"This is a moment in our institute's history that is so important to recognise and acknowledge the work of a champion," said Phil Freelon, managing and design director at US firm Perkins + Will, who presented to the AIA Board of Directors on behalf of Williams. "It's been many decades but Paul Williams is finally being recognised for the brilliant work he did over many years."
The 2017 AIA Gold Medal winner also worked on the LAX Theme Building
Williams was orphaned aged four and raised by a foster mother who encouraged his artistic development. He pursued a career in architecture despite a teacher's concerns that he wouldn't get work from white clients, and that the black community wouldn't sustain his practice.
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