Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Celebrating Architect Paul Williams

554 S. Lorraine

Many locals recognize the name Paul Williams as an architect who made his stamp on the Hancock Park and Greater Wilshire area by designing classic, lovely, livable homes that still grace our streets today. What many of us may not know, is that Williams designed more than 2,000 homes in his career, contributed to such iconic structures as the futuristic “Theme” building at the heart of LAX, and was the first African American to forge a path into the field of architecture. This man not only had great vision in building, he also had great ambition – punching through the stereotypes and racism of the times, and designing homes for the likes of Hollywood elite such as Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and Barbara Stanwyck.

339 S. Orange

It being February –  and Black History Month –  it’s the perfect time to celebrate Williams. He was orphaned by the age of four but self-motivated enough to forge a career path in design and engineering even though warned against it by those thinking he’d never get much work. While at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, Williams purportedly taught himself to sketch upside down, so that he could sit across the table from  potential clients who might not want to sit next to a black man.

The Paul Revere Williams Project online gives a wonderful overview of the breadth of work he completed in his lifetime – complete with photos and an interactive timeline showing his work. Williams also designed the now sorely missed Perino’s, a 1949 restaurant that was loved by local residents on Wilshire Blvd.

Read a condensed, informative article about Paul Williams at KCET Departures.

Browse the Paul Revere Williams Project to explore his legacy in more detail.

A full story on Williams from the USC Trojan Family Magazine. 

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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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