The architectural firm Stanley, Love-Stanley was established in Atlanta in 1978 by William J. "Bill" Stanley III, an Atlanta native, and his wife and partner, Ivenue Love-Stanley, born in Meridian, Mississippi. Both have made history from the day they graduated from the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he in 1972, and she in 1977.
He was Georgia Tech's first African American to graduate with a degree in architecture, and she was the school's first female African American architect. Bill Stanley then became the youngest African American to be registered as an architect in the South, and Ivenue was the first female African American to be registered. They met on campus and were married in 1978.
Bill Stanley had gained experience working for six years with John Portman, notably serving as project architect for the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. Stanley, Love-Stanley developed a wide range of projects, some associated with the African American community, including many of the historically black colleges in Georgia and various African American churches. The firm received wide exposure as part of a larger design group on such projects as the $298 million renovation and expansion of Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta during the early 1990s, and it built a strong regional reputation that extended internationally with such projects as the Olympic Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech (1995-96), a joint venture with Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart, and Associates. The firm's best-known work may be the Horizon Sanctuary (1994-99), which provides worship space for the congregation of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District of Atlanta.
Bill Stanley's forte is marketing and design; Ivenue Love-Stanley is the business manager and principal in charge of production. Their firm has been involved in master planning, restoration of historic buildings and schools, and a wide range of government projects and housing/community projects, including commissions at educational institutions. Renovations of Reynolds Cottage (1901) at Spelman College in Atlanta, for instance, won the firm an Atlanta Urban Design Commission (AUDC) Award in 1997. Other work at Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, both in Atlanta, is noteworthy, particularly John Hope Hall (1994) at Morehouse, which was also recognized by the AUDC. A student residence hall and dining complex at Albany State University in Albany and the Health and Physical Education Building at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley are among the firm's college projects outside Atlanta.
The firm's principals claim that they have no official "house style" but believe that "each design solution is a singular response to a given set of unique criteria and conditions." Thus, for the Herndon Tower at Atlanta's First Congregational Church (1908), an Atlanta landmark originally designed by Bruce and Everett, issues of compatibility governed, and the firm's design work won the couple's first AUDC Award in 1991.
Five years later another AUDC Award recognized a joint venture with Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback, and Associates—the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta parking deck, which solved a mundane urban problem with an accommodating structure. The deck's design addressed the contextual streetscape, acknowledging the historic Sweet Auburn district nearby, and found beauty and function in facades made for people instead of for cars. The National Organization of Minority Architects also recognized the firm for design excellence, singling out its Southwest Family YMCA (1994), St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1994), Centennial Place Elementary School (1997), and Lyke House Catholic Student Center (1999) at the Atlanta University Center.
The Lyke House Catholic Student Center may be the firm's most unusual building to date. Itis a replication of a church hewn from rock in Lalibela, Ethiopia, one of twelve churches built by King Lalibela to celebrate African Christian antiquity in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Stanley, Love-Stanley's design provides a chapel, a student center, and the priest's rectory.