Paul R. Williams, FAIA | Architect to the Stars

Paul R. Williams, FAIA, 1894-1980 | The Paul R. Williams Residence, Historic Lafayette Square, Los Angeles

Paul Revere Williams, FAIA is arguably one of this country’s most notable black architects. Born and raised in Los Angeles, and an orphan by the age of 4, Williams went on to become the first black student to graduate from USC – which he did in 1919 with a degree in architectural engineering. Fresh out of college, he was appointed to the LA City Planning Commission and worked under a number of prominent architects before starting his own practice in 1922. A year later he became the first black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The R.N. Williams Residence, 1948 | Ontario, CA

Few architects have done more to shape Los Angeles’ signature architectural legacy than did Williams over his 5-decade career. Unlike many architects, Williams never cultivated a particular “style,” opting instead to suit each home to the clients’ wishes – lending him a unique architectural breadth.

The Flint House, 1924 | Pasadena, CA

The Flint House, 1924 | Pasadena, CA

The Flint House, 1924 | Pasadena, CA

In addition to his significant contributions to commercial buildings, including work on iconic structures such as the Los Angeles International Airport, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Shrine Auditorium, Williams designed some 2,000-plus residential homes. Many of those homes were commissioned by business magnates and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Barron Hilton – earning Williams the title “Architect to the Stars.”

The Ball/Arnez House | Palm Springs, CA

Shamefully, racist housing policies of the era would have barred Williams himself from owning most of the homes he designed and oversaw the construction of – a dark irony that wasn’t lost on him. Among the many Paul Williams-designed homes DPP Real Estate has represented over the years, we recently had the distinct honor of listing and selling the home Williams designed for his family to live in historic Lafayette Square.

The Paul R. Williams Residence | Historic Lafayette Square, Los Angeles

The Dauterive Residence | View Park, Los Angeles

Plans for The Dauterive-Residence

The Victor Rossetti House | Hollywood, CA

You Might Also Like...
Recent Posts

Modernist home by Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson goes on sale in California

Eric Lloyd Wright’s greatest influence was clearly his father, yet this 1992 home north of Los Angeles exposes his own personal twist on the Prairie School. The Wystrach-Adams Residence is characterised by avant-garde curves, vaulted ceilings, slanted skylights and built-in wood furnishings that hug the walls. Tall banks of glass in every room push natural… Keep reading

Homes for Sale in Los Angeles

This week, we’re highlighting some of Los Angeles’s freshly listed properties and the unique neighborhoods they reside in. Whether you’re looking for an historic Hancock Park estate, a stylish Mid-Century tucked away in the Hollywood Hills, or a modern tree house in Los Feliz Oaks, there is something enchanting about each location. Not to mention… Keep reading

A Beautiful 1889 Victorian Farmhouse Located on Minoru Drive

Welcome to this historic 1889 Altadena treasure that was relocated to its current, sought after location one hundred years later in the 1980s. The four bedroom, three bathroom Victorian Farmhouse has been beautifully redone with exquisite finishes throughout. The house invites you in with a glass-paneled front door, a regal foyer and tall ceilings. The… Keep reading