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“MY CITY” Paul R. Williams

towards class, race, religion and wealth, a young man of 20 from South-Central Los Angeles named Paul Williams entered the blind competition, presenting his vision for how Pasadena should plan and develop, winning First Place over established firms. Williams designed a hierarchy of pedestrian spaces set concentrically around the intersection—from a curbside sidewalk to an offstreet arcade— and back passage market stalls providing refuge from the bustle of the street. Including a post office, firehouse, civic clubhouse, theater, park, and library; Williams’ design, the Star News wrote, would “increase the value of surrounding property to a much greater degree than if the community was left to establish its own individual form of development.”

The Four Corners Competition: First Prize

The above article is excerpted from “The California Outlook” magazine, November 14, 1914; page 15.

Pasadena Mansion

LA County Courthouse

The City Beautiful Association’s participatory approach of gathering as many ideas as possible was inaugurated by the 1914 “Four Corners Competition,” which sought solutions for intersections then at the edges of Pasadena. Despite the prevailing attitudes

Architect of the Rich and Famous (Sinatra)

The young Paul Williams was not only handsomely rewarded for his efforts, he went on to become among the most prolific and famed architects of the region and the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects. Architect of both the rich and famous, housing and government, this largely forgotten beginning to architect Paul Williams’ career is also among the lost stories of the years that followed the Colorado Street Bridge.

Beverly Hills Hotel

LAX Theme Building








"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

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