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Paul R_edited.jpg


(1894 – 1980)

Groundbreaking architect Paul R. Williams was born in Los Angeles. With exceptional drive and talent, after being orphaned when at the age of four, Williams studied at the Los Angeles Beaux-Arts School and the University of Southern California. His work ranged from lavish custom celebrity homes to affordable housing. No matter the style, Williams’ projects were graceful and well-conceived. In 1923, he became the first African American to join the American Institute of Architects, later became a Fellow.


In 1954, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz commissioned Williams to design their 4,400-square-foot home at Thunderbird Country Club. Williams’ use of natural materials is evident in the elegant design, featuring paving stones, board-and-batten siding, and rock walls. Decorative entry screens greeted visitors at the front door, adding warmth and texture. The floor plan had an easy flow and seamless access to the covered patio, which offered stunning views of mountains and fairways. The home has undergone significant remodeling.


Williams partnered with A. Quincy Jones to design several projects, including an addition to the Palm Springs Tennis Club, the Town & Country Center, and 1952 additions to the El Mirador Hotel.

Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz residence photo by Julius Shulman, courtesy Getty Research Institu
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