Paul Revere Williams-designed building with connections to the early development of Westwood Village
By Sam Catanzaro
Los Angeles City Council is considering awarding the Kelly Music Building located in Westwood Village Historic-Cultural Monument status.
Located on the west side of Westwood Boulevard, between Weyburn Avenue and Kinross Avenue in Westwood Village, the building has connections to the early development of Westwood Village. It was completed in 1930, just one year after Westwood Village officially opened in 1929.
The Kelly Music Building was one of the earliest commercial architectural commissions by beloved architect Paul Revere Williams.
Paul Revere Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1894. He studied at the Polytechnic High School, then Los Angeles School of Art and Design, and the University of Southern California. Williams received his architectural license in 1921, making him the only licensed African American architect west of the Mississippi. He worked for several noted, local architects from 1914-1924. In the early 1920s, he won national awards for his small house designs, and in 1957, Williams was inducted as the AIA’s first African-American fellow. He became well known for his modern interpretations of the period revival styles that were popular at the time. Williams had a prolific architectural career, spanning from about 1915 until his retirement in 1974, during which time he designed many large estates throughout Los Angeles. Currently, there are 17 Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments that were designed in whole or in part by Williams.
According to the LA Cultural Heritage Commission, the Kelly Music Building “exemplifies significant contributions to the broad cultural, economic or social history of the Westside in association with the early development of Westwood Village by the Janss Corporation. Although the development of the tract started in 1922, it was not until December 1927 that the Janss Investment Corporation announced the development of a planned commercial district, Westwood Village, and it launched two years later.
“These styles complemented the Italian and Romanesque architecture of the adjacent university campus. Constructed in 1930, the subject property represents the end of the first wave of development in Westwood Village.”LA Cultural Heritage Commission
“To ensure that the identity of Westwood Village remained a cohesive, unified complex, the Janss company implemented design guidelines for building exteriors that extended to a loosely defined range of Mediterranean styles. These styles complemented the Italian and Romanesque architecture of the adjacent university campus. Constructed in 1930, the subject property represents the end of the first wave of development in Westwood Village, at which time the Janss Corporation shifted their focus from the sale of property to the development of land,” the commission wrote, going on to say the building remains “an excellent example of a commercial building in the Mediterranean Revival architectural style. The building’s arched entrance doorways, arcade, balcony, and decorative metal grille work are all reflective of the style.”
The motion to award the Kelly Music Building Historic-Cultural Monument status is currently in the LA City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee.