Paul Revere Williams
Every time I used to fly out of LAX I’d snap a picture of The Theme Building without fail (the big spaceship-like, mid-century modern restaurant with spider legs). It’s one of those iconically LA buildings, like the Chrysler Building is to NY, or the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.
The architect of The Theme Building has designed some of my favorite structures around the US and his name is Paul Revere Williams. He was the designer behind the La Concha Motel in Las Vegas (which now houses the Neon Museum – a must-visit for any creative or type nerd), and The Beverly Hills Hotel renovation and addition. He overcame incredible odds (his parents died when he was very young, he grew up in foster care, he was a black architect working in the 1920s-1970s) to become a thriving architect with his own practice, whose structures still remain as landmarks to this day. He was the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923 and he built houses for the legends of his day like Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra to name a few.
Fun fact: his handwriting was used for The Beverly Hills Hotel logo—that gorgeous script on the side of the building.
Here’s a few of my favorite PRW structures still around today.