Paul R. Williams and Beverly Hills Architecture

A study of the architectural styles represented in the Beverly Hills real estate market would not be complete without including the work of Paul R. Williams (1894-1980). Not only did Williams design homes for Frank Sinatra, Barbara Stanwyck, Bert Lahr, and Lucille Ball, he also designed over 2,000 private homes and several public buildings throughout the area.

Williams’ architectural mark seems to be everywhere, from the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills to the Los Angeles County Courthouse. Williams was also an integral part of the team that designed the iconic, futuristic Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport in 1961.

Many of his private home designs can be seen in the Holmby Hills neighborhood, including the current residence of Barron Hilton. It is interesting to note that while the architect was quite prolific, Williams’ work is not always easy to spot. He was known for having a talent with a wide variety of architectural styles including Tudor-revival, French Château, Regency, and Mediterranean.

Williams was the first certified African American architect west of the Mississippi, and the first to become a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).


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