Paul R. Williams was simply in a class of his own. As an accomplished architect and the first licensed Black architect west of the Mississippi, Williams helped shape the Southern California aesthetic as a leading practitioner of mid-century modern design.
In this eagerly anticipated Part 2 of our curated series of programs, we will look at Williams’ impact and influence on the lives and careers of distinguished Black architects in the Los Angeles region. The vast challenges he faced and overcame, and the extraordinary achievements he made during an era of extreme social injustice continues to inspire multiple generations of architects and designers.
Those who attended Part 1 of this curated series learned details of the discovery, acquisition, importance, and conservation of this historic archive by USC Architecture in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute. An archive consisting of over 35,000 original drawings, renderings and photos, magazines, and other records spanning the Icon’s life and career of unprecedented achievements. During Part 2, we will learn more about how Williams’ legacy continues to make personal and professional impacts.
The program – featuring Getty Research Institute Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Collections LeRonn Brooks, Author and Photographer Janna Ireland, SoCal Noma President Lance Collins AIA, and Designing in Color/Egan Simon Architecture's Christopher Locke, will include personal reflections of Williams’ influence on the lives and careers of Los Angeles Architects Gail Kennard, Rolland Wiley AIA, Rachel Jordan Bascombe AIA, and Drake Dillard AIA. Architectural Historian Rebecca Choi, visiting lecturer at the ETH Zurich and former faculty member at the USC School of Architecture will moderate.
Join us on the anniversary of Williams’ Birthday February 18 to dive further into the man, his influence, and the importance of his legacy.
Rebecca Choi, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow and visiting lecturer at the ETH Zurich. Before joining the ETH, she was a faculty member at the USC School of Architecture. Trained as an architectural historian, her scholarship examines architecture’s relationship to the changing landscape of American race relations between 1940—1970, paying particular attention to how social movements from Civil Rights to Black Power and the particular elements that help define those movements - anti-racist protests, boycotts, sit-ins and insurrections - impacted the field of architecture. She is an active member of the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative and has contributed writing to the Avery Review, Places Journal, Harvard Design Magazine and Ardeth Journal.
Author and Photographer Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia and has chosen Los Angeles as her home. She holds an MFA from the UCLA Department of Art and a BFA from the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU. Ireland is the 2013 recipient of the Snider Prize, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago. In 2017 she published Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographers View. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Chicago, and in group exhibitions across the United States and internationally. She has been published in Aperture, Harper’s, Art Papers, Vice, and the Los Angeles Times.
Christopher is a Co-founder of Designing in Color, a collective of architects and designers of culture, and a designer at Egan Simon Architecture. Designing in Color's mission aims to diversify the way architecture is taught and practiced to amplify marginalized communities who’ve been historically silenced and erased throughout the design process. DCo facilitates educational programming, creates workshops, designs socially responsible projects, and distributes digital initiatives, each meant to dismantle the systemic racism built into the practice of architecture. Christopher is a member of SoCal NOMA where he is actively engaged in youth mentorship through the organization's pipeline project summer camp.
Lance Collins is a Director at Partner Energy, in charge of the Sustainability team for projects pursuing green certification. He is a licensed architect with over twenty years of experience in architecture, urban design, and sustainable design consulting. In addition to his professional experience, Mr. Collins is the President of the Southern California Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCal NOMA), a member of the AIA-LA committee on Affordable Housing, and founding Co-Chair of the US Green Building Council Long Beach Branch. He is a guest lecturer at the USC, SCI-Arc, Cal Baptist University, and adjunct professor at Long Beach City College and other local colleges.
LeRonn P. Brooks is the Associate Curator for Modern and Contemporary Collections at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He is a specialist in African American art, poetics, performance, and Africana studies. As the lead curator for the Getty's new African American Art History Initiative, he is charged with building and developing collections to promote advanced research in African American art history.