Artist Janna Ireland is on a hunt across Southern California for Paul R. Williams. For nearly two years, she’s searched out buildings to photograph — mansions and housing projects, churches and banks designed by the Angeleno architect who died in 1980.
Ireland has her work cut out for her. Williams was prolific for decades. From 1923, when he became the first black member of the American Institute of Architects, until retiring in 1973, he produced a broad body of work that spanned different styles from Mission Revival to Midcentury Modern. He built homes for Hollywood elite such as Frank Sinatra, and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in West Adam, where he was a member of the congregation.