Her Service Recognized : Gray Named Honorary AIA Member
Barbara Gray, vice president and director of research for Pereira Associates, has been elected an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. Gray is one of only nine people so recognized in the country this year.
The only other Californian to receive this award is Sandra M. Stickney, executive director of the AIA’s East Bay chapter in Berkeley.
Honorary memberships are given to individuals in recognition of their dedication and service to the profession. According to the AIA nominators, “Gray’s genius for research has been significant in establishing the firm’s reputation for creative design.
“Through her deep understanding, insightful mind and creative research, she has advanced the body of knowledge in architectural planning beyond measure.”
Gray was born in India, educated in England, where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in modern languages from Oxford University, and moved to Los Angeles in 1940. She first met William Pereira while both were working in Hollywood.
For more than 30 years she worked at Pereira’s right hand, researching innumerable architectural, planning and social issues that have have been utilized in the majority of his projects.
As such, she directed the extensive background studies for planning the University of California campuses on the Irvine Ranch in Orange County and near La Jolla in San Diego County, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Her research included growth patterns, regional criteria, climatological, topographical and economic factors.
“Pereira was not interested in creating architectural monuments,” Gray said. “Everything the firm did was based on research, regardless of the building type or the location. And research became an especially valuable tool in the foreign projects.”
Gray was named Times Woman of the Year in 1961. Her award noted that she was a guiding force behind master plans that changed the face and geography of the Southland.