As the first certified African American architect to work on the West Coast, Paul Revere Williams made a massive mark on Southern California, designing nearly 3,000 buildings, including in neighborhoods he wasn’t allowed to live in at the time.
Williams’s pioneering legacy has garnered some much-deserved attention since his death in 1980. in 2017, he became the first black architect to receive the AIA Gold Medal, the American Institute of Architects’s highest honor. And this Black History Month, Williams is getting his star turn as the subject of the new PBS documentary, Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story.
The hour-long documentary chronicles Williams’s storied life as well as his prolific career spanning over five decades. The late architect’s fingerprints can be found on hotels, schools, office buildings, the iconic space-age Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, and, as underscored by the film’s title, many a glamorous residence for Hollywood legends like Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Lucille Ball.
The documentary is airing this month on PBS, but you can now stream it for free online here.