Beverly Willis

Welcome to the website archive of Beverly Willis, FAIA--architect, artist, author, activist/ philanthropist--now retired from architectural practice. Willis began her prolific career in 1954 in Hawaii as a painter and multi-media artist. By 1958, when she moved to San Francisco, she expanded her repertoire to include industrial and architectural design. Architecture increasingly took over her work, and by 1966 Willis had obtained her architectural license, and a decade later was running the 35-person firm, Willis and Associates, Inc. Architects. For Willis, architectural practice has always embraced multiple approaches: whether designing residential or civic structures, pioneering adaptive re-use to revitalize downtown commercial zones, or innovating technology-driven land use planning. Her most famous building is the San Francisco Ballet Building in the City Civic Center.

In the 1970s, Willis complemented her architectural practice with professional organizational leadership-- often holding positions never before held by a woman. Willis served as President of the California Council of American Institute of Architects, which governs 22 California chapters that include San Francisco and Los Angeles. Willis also held leadership roles on the national level such as serving on the US delegation to the United Nations Conference on Habitat I, as well as serving on the executive committee of the National Academy of Science's Board on Infrastructure and Constructed Environment, or chairing the Federal Facility Council. Willis was a founding trustee of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., a position she still holds. In 2002, she founded the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, http://www.bwaf.org/about.html.