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Paul Williams Lax Architecture

Paul Williams and Los Angeles Architecture

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When exploring the greater Los Angeles area, some of the most remarkable architecture was from the creative vision of architect Paul Williams. He was a major contributor to the architectural landscape of the city that lives on today.

Paul Williams was a master of many styles, from English Tudor to Spanish Colonial and the casual California ranch style. He dedicated his work to enhancing people’s lives by designing architecture with the local climate and light in mind. A-listers such as Denzel Washington and Ellen DeGeneres have lived in Williams’ homes. Hotel heir Barron Hilton currently lives in a distinct Bel Air home, which Williams and interior design partner Harriet Shellenberger originally designed for businessman Jacob “Jay” Paley. The Paley Residence became widely known for its magnificent pool, featuring sandy beach areas, beautiful imported mosaic tile work and an overall emphasis on outdoor living spaces reflective of a Southern California lifestyle. Even though he quickly became known as the architect to the stars, he was also involved in the conceptual design and redesign of many iconic L.A. landmarks such as the LAX Theme Building, the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building, the Shrine Auditorium, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he became the first black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and over the course of his lifetime participated in nearly 3,000 projects. In December 2016, Williams was posthumously awarded the 2017 AIA Gold Medal. He was the first African-American architect to receive the prestigious honor.

The iconic work of Paul Williams cannot be understated, and proper respect must be paid to his innovation and creativity. Janna Ireland just authored a fine narrative pictorial in Curbed Los Angeles on the work of Paul Williams. It is a great narrative of the life and times of Paul Williams, accompanied by a pictorial history she has documented over the past three years.

From the ADG Jobsite  

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting