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99% Invisible: The Architect of Hollywood

In the golden era of Hollywood of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Los Angeles had a lot of open space to develop, and no unifying architectural style.  And there was one particular architect who could make any kind of building and make it well: Paul Revere Williams. Williams helped make Los Angeles the eclectic-looking place it is today — and Los Angeles, in turn, helped make him. The city gave Paul Williams a lot of opportunities he wouldn’t have had anywhere else in America at the time, as an African American architect. Although Williams still had to work harder than his white peers.

“Paul Williams is an African American architect who was much more than an African American architect,” says Karen Hudson, Paul Williams’ biographer and granddaughter. “He was simply one of the best architects of the 20th century.” [...]