Oral Histories

Interview of Robert A. Kennard

African American architect who designed schools and public buildings, including Carson City Hall and Community Center, Van Nuys State Office Building, and LAX Parking Structures 1, 3, and 4. Championed minorities in the architectural profession, creating mentorship programs for schools in the Los Angeles area and forming the Minority Architecture and Planning organization, a precursor of the National Organization of Minority Architects.
African-American Architects of Los Angeles: Robert A. Kennard
African American Architects of Los Angeles
African American History
Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Design
Henderson, Wesley H.
Kennard, Robert A.
Persons Present:
Tape I: Kennard, Henderson, and Kennard's daughter, Gail Kennard Madyun; Tapes II-XII: Kennard and Henderson.
Place Conducted:
Kennard's office in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
This interview was conducted by Wesley H. Henderson. Henderson holds a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design and a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles. Henderson prepared for the interview by having a pre-interview with Kennard, interviewing his associates, and relying on the background research for his UCLA doctoral dissertation, "Two Case Studies of African American Architects' Career in Los Angeles, 1890-1945: Paul R. Williams, FAIA, and James H. Garrott, AIA.
Processing of Interview:
Alex Cline, editor, edited the interview. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. Kennard reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made minor corrections and additions. Cline prepared the table of contents. Rebecca Stone, editorial assistant, assembled the biographical summary and interview history. Lisa Magee, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
9 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This project documents the work of selected African American architects who have enhanced the built environment, principally in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Influenced by earlier pioneers such as Paul R. Williams, these individuals overcame bias and discrimination to create structures which have become emblematic of the uniqueness of local architecture.