When architect Jason E. Morris set out to create a map of Los Angeles to highlight buildings designed by black architects, the body of work he found was smaller than he had hoped. Not only did African American architects lack professional opportunities—they often weren’t credited for their contributions.
So 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 said.
Those 53 points became a map, which was produced by AIA|LA, the Southern California chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, and Gruen Associates (where Morris worked at the time) and released in November 2016. The map is intended to inspire the next generation of diverse 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 said. “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, this map identifies a mix of AIA-selected architectural works and notable homes and churches by black architects. Dive into the full map on the AIA|LA website.