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Tue, 01.05.1932

John Moutoussamy, Architect born

John Moutoussamy

*John Moutoussamy was born on this date in 1922. He was a Black architect, educator, and designer.

John Warren Moutoussamy was from Chicago, Illinois. He earned a degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1948, where he studied under Mies van der Rohe. During his studies, he married Elizabeth R. Hunt on March 10, 1942. They had three children, John, Claude, and Jeanne.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, a photographer, was married to the tennis player Arthur Ashe from 1977 until he died in 1993. He designed a house for himself and his family at 361 East 89th Place, just south of Chatham, Chicago. 

Career

After leaving the office of Schmidt, Garden & Erikson Architects in 1956, Moutoussamy joined the office of PACE Associates. During his time at PACE, the firm continued to work on projects developed in partnership with Mies, such as preliminary studies for the Chicago Federal Center. In 1965 Moutoussamy left PACE to start his practice and work on a large-scale housing development in Bronzeville that would later be known as the Theodore K. Lawless Gardens.

Moutoussamy designed the 1971 headquarters building for the Johnson Publishing Company on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, which is still the only downtown Chicago high-rise building designed by an African American. Architectural Digest states, "Inside the stone-clad structure, colorful walls and psychedelic carpets exuded energy, celebrating black culture and commerce."

In 2018, the building was given National Historic Landmark status. In 2019, converting the building into apartments began while retaining the signage for the magazines Ebony and Jet based there. Moutoussamy designed other buildings in the Chicago area, including the Richard J. Daley College, Olive–Harvey College, Harry S. Truman College, the Chicago Urban League building, and the 36-story Regents Park twin towers in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

He was also the first African American architect to partner in a major practice, Dubin Dubin Black & Moutoussamy. He served on the board of trustees of Loyola University Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. John Moutoussamy died in 1995, had a funeral Mass celebrated at St Thomas the Apostle, and was buried at St Mary's Cemetery, Chicago.

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