7 Notable African-American Architects in U.S History

Written by Jae Jones


1. Paul Williams

Paul Williams became famous for his role in designing the Theme Building at the Los Angeles International Airport. He is noted for designing over 2000 private home in California. Williams died in 1980.


2. John E. Brent

Among Brent’s most significant architectural designs is the Michigan Avenue Branch Y.M.C.A. (1928), which was his first large commission. It was initially funded by Julius Rosenwald, who was the founder of Sears & Roebuck in Chicago.


3. Albert Irvin Cassell

Cassell designed buildings for Howard University in Washington D.C. He designed and build civic structures for the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.


4. Clarence “Cap” Wigington

Cap Wigington was the first registered African American architect in Minnesota and the first African American municipal architect in po[othe United States. Wigington was the nation’s first black municipal architect, serving 34 years as senior designer for the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota’s architectural office when the city had an ambitious building program.


5. Norma Merrick Sklarek   

Norma Merrick Sklarek was the first Black woman to become a licensed architect in New York and California. Sklarek, was hailed as the “Rosa Parks of Architecture.


6. Wallace Rayfield

Wallace A. Rayfield was the second formally educated practicing African American architect in the United States.


7. Robert Robinson Taylor

Robert Robinson Taylor was the nation’s first academically trained African American architect as well as the first black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Taylor designed at least 40 brick and an uncounted number of wooden buildings at Tuskegee as well as significant structures in Selma and Birmingham in Alabama and in Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina.


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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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