Arthur Silvers

Left to right, Robert Kennard, and Arthur Silvers in their offices [circa 1960’s] on Washington Blvd.

Robert Kennard and Arthur Silvers | Photo courtesy of the Kennard Estate.

Arthur Silvers was a partner of Kennard and Silvers, an early Black architecture firm in Los Angeles. He was from a generation of post World War II architects whose work demonstrated a break from traditional European influences. Silvers and Kennard were modernists — influenced by Richard Neutra and Victor Gruen. Silvers was the Historian and Parliamentarian for the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) in the 1970s. He and Kennard attended the USC School of Architecture and were both members of Scarab (Architecture Fraternity).

In addition to being a successful architect, Silvers was an artist concerned with social justice. He frequently spoke to students about his architectural work and gave speeches outlining the necessity for protests and civil disobedience, and sometimes got arrested. He was an active leader in the civil rights movement in Los Angeles and president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the 1960s. CORE helped to expose housing discrimination, red lining, and discrimination against Blacks in restaurants and was involved in the community of Watts. Kennard and Silvers were listed as the architects for the Mafundi Institute Building at 1827 E. 103rd Street. Slivers is credited for designing Thurgood Marshall College (College III) on the UC San Diego campus; Temple Akiba in Culver City, designed with partner Kennard; and a bedroom addition to a 1948 John Lautner house – the Jules Salkin Residence – in 1966.