Paul Revere Williams
The American Institute of Architects announced Paul Revere Williams as posthumous winner of its 2017 Gold Medal. Williams was one of the first black students admitted to architecture schools in the United States, and the first to become a member of the AIA. He is also the author of almost 3,000 buildings throughout a long career of almost fifty years. As the architect himself acknowledged in an autobiographic text of 1937 (‘I Am a Negro’), Williams’ story is to a great extent an example of the American Dream: born in 1894 in Los Angeles, he had to fight against all sorts of obstacles to make room for himself in a professional field practically taken by middle and upper class white males, he won his first competition when he was 25 years old, and never stopped building in southern California, an area that flourished precisely during the central part of his career. Faithful to an efficient eclectic style with a classical touch, Williams frequented the Hollywood crowd and built the homes of stars like Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Barbara Stanwyck. After a long and successful career, Williams passed away in his home city in 1980.