Friday, December 9, 2016

Paul Williams and the Gold Medal

Paul Revere Williams receives the AIA Gold Medal, Dec. 8, 2016

As far as I can figure, this is a Gold Medal of many firsts: first African-American architect, first Googie architect, first Hollywood Regency architect, first tract house architect, first Late Moderne architect, first Palm Springs architect, first Las Vegas architect (Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi did not actually build in LV, as Williams did.) Perhaps we're getting away from the stranglehold of high arters?

The original AIA press release repeated a myth that has been going around for a while now: that Williams designed the Theme Building at LAX. It was corrected, but it shows the tremendous difficulty in correcting a rumor once it has been let loose. Williams was part of a consortium that designed LAX, including lead architects William Pereir and Charles Luckman, and Welton Becket. As a matter of record, the Theme Building itself was designed out of the Pereira office, according to the building's engineer, the brilliant Richard Bradshaw (who also deserves a Gold Medal of some kind!)

AIA Press release:

ArchDaily article on 2017 Gold Medal