Mapped: 18 places in LA where black architects left their mark

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While creating a map of Los Angeles highlighting buildings designed by black architects, architect Jason E. Morris found the body of work was smaller than he had hoped. There was a gap, because not only did African American architects lack professional opportunities, they weren’t credited for their contributions.

But Morris scoured databases and records and contacted architects’ relatives and architecture firms, ultimately pinpointing 53 structures of social, cultural, and historic importance that were built because of the contributions and leadership of black architects.

“African American architects are here, and they’re doing good work, here, in LA,” he says.

The map, which was produced by AIA|LA, the Southern California chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, and Gruen Associates, where Morris works, was released in November 2016. It is intended to inspire the next generation of minority designers.

“In doing my research, many architects of the previous generation were motivated by seeing Paul Williams and the high-profile clients he attracted,” Morris says. “We may not see another Paul Williams in our lifetime, but with the map, there’s an aggregate of all these accomplished architects joining Williams that students may see as examples today and always.”

In that spirit, we’ve put together a mix of AIA-selected architectural works and notable homes and churches by black architects. To dive into the full map, head over to the AIA|LA website.

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