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Did You Hear That One About Neutra and Williams?:
Architectural Spreadability in a Post-Truth Context
Doug Jackson
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In 1936, Paul Revere Williams and Richard Neutra were two of the five exhibitors in the California House and Garden Exhibition. In 1942 they were also two of the five architects who comprised the Southeast Housing Architects Associated, which was responsible for the design of the racially integrated Pueblo del Rio Housing Project. Three years later, a house design attributed to Richard Neutra was featured in the pattern book The Small Home of Tomorrow, authored by Williams. At this time Paul R. Williams had become, like Neutra, a prominent and successful architect working in Los Angeles. Unlike Neutra, this success was achieved through a continual struggle against a pervasive racial prejudice that presented innumerable obstacles to African Americans. Writing in 1937, Williams described these difficulties, and worried that the racial inequity and bias in the United States had caused his professional success to be perceived less as a positive example to which other people of color might aspire, than as an anomalous curiosity. The continued marginalization of people of color within the architectural profession and discipline confirms this fear, and is also reflected in the vast discrepancy in the historical scholarship of Neutra and Williams.

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