William “Bill” J. Stanley, III, was born on May 13, 1948, at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia; making him a true native Atlantan and what is locally known as an official “Grady Baby”. Born on the same date as Joe Louis, Stevie Wonder and Denis Rodman, Stanley was destined to break down the racial barriers of the times, make beautiful music with his architecture and challenge the establishment with his thirst for social justice.
A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1972, Stanley challenged segregation head on and became the first black graduate of its College of Architecture. Stanley would later be inducted into the College of Fellows in American Institute of Architects (AIA) and serve as the 52nd Chancellor for the College in 2014. He also served as the President of the National Organization of Minority Architects. He became the recipient of the AIA Georgia Bernard Rothschild medal in 1999 – the state’s highest award. In 2011, he was recognized with AIA Atlanta’s Ivan Allen Senior Trophy for sustaining the highest ideals of the architecture profession through his contributions of service to the Atlanta community.
Just before graduating Georgia Tech at age 21, he met a beautiful young lady who had come to Georgia Tech to pursue a degree in Architecture, Ivenue Love-Stanley FAIA; she was 16. Love-Stanley would later become a trailblazer in her own right, as the first African-American woman to graduate from the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech and the first African-American woman to become licensed in the Southeast. She was inducted into the College of Fellows in AIA and became the recipient of the 2014 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, given as one of the Institute’s highest honors to the country’s most socially conscious architect. Stanley won the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award in 1995 making them the only husband and wife to accomplish such an honor. This recognition along with many others virtually makes them a “dynamic duo” of Atlanta AEC Trailblazers. After working six years with famed architect John Portman, the couple co-founded Stanley Love-Stanley P.C. in 1977 and married the next year. Over the last 38 years the firm has grown to become one of the largest African-American practices in the country; concentrating in architecture, planning, program management and interior design throughout the U.S. and abroad. Stanley has more than 40 award-winning projects to his credit.
During his StoryCorps interview, Stanley describes his design philosophy: “Architecture is a celebration of a particular type of work, a particular practice, a particular style of living…So it is very important that we take advantage of that opportunity, and every building is a new opportunity.” He recounts stories from his youth attributing the inspiration for his passion for architecture to three main sources – his father who, at the age of 11, was forced to home school himself because there weren’t any public schools for blacks during that time; the fascination for the blueprints and the construction of his family’s new home in 1955; and the transformative impact of the design of the new sanctuary for his family’s church, St. Paul African American Episcopal Church, by preeminent architect G. Lloyd Preacher at age 12. Throughout the interview Stanley explores issues of race and gender discrimination, desegregation of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture, the personal impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, working with famed architect John Portman, and collaborating with his life partner to develop one of the most influential architecture firms of the time. Use the QR code at the top of the panel to listen to Stanley’s compelling story “in his own words”.
Today, Stanley stays very active in the leadership and practice of his firm and sits on several boards including Georgia Institute of Technology where he remains engaged in the community and mentors the next generation of Atlanta architects.
The accomplishments of William J. Stanley, III, and his celebration of design, focus on social injustice and mentoring the next generation truly makes him one of NOMA Atlanta’s Trailblazers of Change.
Author: Garfield Peart | May 10, 2015 | © NOMAATLANTA
Notable Atlanta Projects:
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Horizon Sanctuary and Martin Luther King Sr. Resource Center;
The Olympic Aquatic Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology;
The B.E.S.T. Academy at Benjamin S. Carson All Male Middle and High School;
Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health Building at Atlanta Technical College;
Agricultural Sciences Building at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College;
Lyke House – The Catholic Center at Atlanta University Center;
Centennial Place Elementary School;
Reynolds Cottage at Spelman College;
United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Art Connection Gallery and Parking Deck;
John Hope Hall Science Research Facility at Morehouse College;
Southwest Family Branch YMCA;
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church;
Zion Hill Baptist Church
Herndon Tower at the First Congregational Church UCC;
Nanotechnology Research Center at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Notable National and International Projects:
Wilberforce Institute in Evaton, South Africa;
Evans & Rosedale Business & Cultural District Redevelopment Project in Fort Worth, Texas
Stanley, Love-Stanley, P.C.
1056 Spring Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30309-3818
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