June 15, 2023

The Center for Architecture is excited to present Janna Ireland on the Architectural Legacy of Paul Revere Williams in Nevada, opening Thursday, July 13, 2023, at 6:00 pm. Originally presented by the Nevada Museum of Art and curated by Carmen Beals, the exhibition focuses on Williams’ work through the photographs of contemporary artist Janna Ireland.

Paul Revere Williams, FAIA (1894-1980), was the first licensed African American architect to work in the western region of the United States and the first black member of the American Institute of Architects. Nicknamed the “Architect to the Stars,” his clients included Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and E.L. Cord. Although Williams is associated with several Los Angeles icons, including the Beverly Hills Hotel and the LAX Airport, his work, including his many contributions in Nevada, is often underrecognized. In 2017, nearly 40 years after his death, he became the first black recipient of the AIA Gold Medal.

Since 2016, Ireland has captured Williams’ architecture, producing photographs that highlight intimate interior and exterior details of his buildings. While Ireland’s initial work on Williams focused on his projects in Southern California, in 2021, she was named a Peter E. Pool Research Fellow of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art, a fellowship that supported her study of Williams’ Nevada work.

To explore Williams’ work in Nevada is to recognize the breadth of his creative range and to examine a transformational era in the state’s history. Spanning the 1930s and 1970s, Williams’ work is related to the growth of Nevada’s distinctive culture and economy, including its development into a divorce capital, tax haven, and national tourist destination. Brought to the state by wealthy clients and important commissions, Williams made permanent contributions to the landscape through projects that include private residences, apartments and public housing, a church, and a motel, plus designs for a monorail system and an unbuilt resort.

Carmen Beals, Associate Curator and Outreach Director of the Nevada Museum of Art said, “Despite a career that spanned over 50 years and realized more than 3,000 buildings, Williams’ contributions to Nevada’s architectural legacy have not been fully recognized. Through the photographs of Janna Ireland, Williams’ many contributions to the architectural landscape of Nevada can now be known. We are proud to present his vision to those who may not know the work of this important Black architect.”

The exhibition will be on view through October 31, 2023.

RSVP to Camila Schaulsohn, cschauslohn@aiany.org.

Exhibition Opening
Thursday, July 13, 6:00 – 8:00 pm


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

About Janna Ireland
Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia in 1985 and lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and her work has been presented in several solo and group exhibitions around the world. Her photographs have been acquired by institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the California African American Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL.

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience. www.centerforarchitecture.org