MAS Context Spring Talks 2021
Pioneering Black Architects in Los Angeles and Chicago
A Reflection by Janna Ireland and Lee Bey


 

LA-based photographer Janna Ireland and Chicago-based photographer Lee Bey lectured as part of MAS Context’s 2021 Spring Talks series.

 

Pioneering Black Architects in Los Angeles and Chicago

 

This event explored the work of pioneering Black architects in Los Angeles and Chicago through the lenses of photographers Janna Ireland and Lee Bey. Their recent books, Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View and Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side, examine and document the buildings, from private homes to churches and hospitals, designed by a series of Black architects that left their mark in those cities.

Janna Ireland discussed the work of Paul R. Williams, the legendary Los Angeles architect who became the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects and, later, the first Black recipient of the AIA Gold Medal. Ireland’s book, Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View, contains over 200 photographs taken at Williams’s buildings, from modest homes for middle class families to mansions for the elite.

Lee Bey’s Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side is the first book devoted to the South Side’s rich and unfairly ignored architectural heritage. It documents the remarkable and largely unsung architecture of the South Side, including buildings by pioneering Black architects such as Walter T. Bailey, John Moutoussamy, and Roger Margerum.

 

Suggested readings

Jonaki Mehta, “Regarding Paul R. Williams’ Honors Legacy Of LA’s Barrier-Breaking Black Architect,” NPR, January, September 15, 2020.

Lost LA, “Paul Revere Williams: An African-American Architect in Jet-Age L.A.,” KCET, Season 4, Episode 4.

“The Paul Revere Wiliams Project,” an initiative of the Memphis chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and The Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM).

Iker Gil and Lee Bey, “Southern Exposure:The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side,” MAS Context, September 22, 2019.

David Hammond, “South Side Building Stories: Paging Through Lee Bey’s ‘Southern Exposure’,” Newcity, October 3, 2019.

 

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View (Angel City Press Press, 2020). © Janna Ireland.

 

Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side (Northwestern University Press, 2019). © Lee Bey.

 

You can purchase the books from their publishers or your local bookstore:

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View (Angel City Press Press, 2020).

Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side (Northwestern University Press, 2019).

 

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View. © Janna Ireland.

 

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View. © Janna Ireland.

 

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View. © Janna Ireland.

 

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View. © Janna Ireland.

 

The First Church of Deliverance, 4301 S. Wabash Ave, Walter Thomas Bailey and structural engineer Charles Sumner, 1939. © Lee Bey.

 

Dr. E.J. Ingram House, 6500 S. Eberhart Ave, Roger Margerum, 1959. © Lee Bey.

 

John Moutoussamy Home, 361 E. 89th Pl, John Moutoussamy, 1954. © Lee Bey.

 

Lee Bey is a photographer, writer, lecturer, and consultant who documents and interprets the built environment—and the often complex political, social, and racial forces that shape spaces and places. His writing on architecture and urban design has been featured in Architect, Chicago magazine, Architectural Record, and many news outlets. His photography has appeared in Chicago Architect, Old-House Journal, CITE, and in international design publications including Bauwelt and Modulør. A former Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic, Bey is also a senior lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and served as deputy chief of staff for urban planning under former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
www.leebey.com | @LEEBEY

Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia but has chosen Los Angeles as her home. She holds an MFA from the UCLA Department of Art and a BFA from the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Chicago, and in group exhibitions across the United States and internationally. Her photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including Aperture, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Frieze, Camera Austria, and The Los Angeles Times. Her first monograph, Regarding Paul R. Williams, was published by Angel City Press in 2020.
www.jannaireland.com | @jannaireland



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