Williams O'Brien Associates, Inc. papers
Scope and Contents
The collection reflects Lorenzo D. Williams and James W. O'Brien's experience working on and designing buildings in the greater Minnesota and Twin Cities areas. The collection includes working drawings and renderings.
- Williams/O’Brien Associates (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for use in the Archives and Special Collections reading room and does not circulate. Advance notice is requested.
Restrictions on Use
This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.
Lorenzo D. Williams and James W. O’Brien founded and ran one of Minnesota’s most socially conscious firms during their time as prominent architects in the field. Founded in 1962 by Williams, the firm operated well into the 90s when Williams retired. At its peak in the late 60s to the mid-70s, the firm had 26 employees and their reach spanned state-wide. Some of their most well-known works include Jamestown Homes, The Chateau in Dinkytown, and Findley Place.
Known for their “honest architecture", or “appropriate architecture”, Williams O'Brien Associates worked with government housing authorities to advocate for the people who occupied their buildings and to include their stake in the design process (Architecture Minnesota, July/August 1986). Although Lorenzo Williams was one of the few black practicing architects at the time, “he never considered himself a ‘black architect’" (Architecture Minnesota, July/August 1986).
Williams and O’Brien each served terms on state and national committees to increase the standards of the profession. Williams, appointed by President Johnson, served on the Presidential Commission on Barriers to the Handicapped. Both served terms on the NCARB Board of Directors, with Williams elected as President.
18 Cubic Feet (6 drawings boxes)
Language of Materials
This collection consists of working drawings and renderings documenting Lorenzo D. Williams and James W. O'Brien's extensive professional work as architects in the greater Minnesota and Twin Cities areas.
- Architects -- Minnesota Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Architecture -- Minnesota -- Designs and plans Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Architecture, domestic -- Minnesota -- Designs and plans Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Church architecture -- Minnesota -- Designs and plans Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Public architecture -- Minnesota -- Designs and plans Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Williams O'Brien Associates, Inc. Papers, 1921-2004
- Jake Torkelson
- October 13, 2016
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Collecting Area Details
Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area