William J. "Bill" Stanley III became Georgia Tech's first African- American to graduate in architecture in 1972, and Ivenue Love- Stanley, who had already earned a mathematics degree from Millsaps College, became Tech's first female African-American architecture graduate in 1977.
He was the youngest African-American to become a registered architect in the South, and she was the first African-American woman to do so. After she became registered in 1983, they formed Stanley, Love-Stanley.
Since then, they've been building marriage and monuments together.
"We spend 23-and-a-half hours a day around each other, so you might think we'd split and go our separate ways at the first opportunity on Saturday or Sunday," Stanley suggests. "That's not the case. We spend a lot of time around each other on weekends, shopping, going to the movies, and playing."
"We love what we do, and I think that passion helps," she agrees.
"And we love each other," he says. "We've been married for almost 17 years."
"We have a respect for each other's talents," she adds. Stanley is responsible for marketing and is the principal in charge of design; Love-Stanley is the business manager and principal in charge of production.
"We're both very hands-on in the practice of our firm," she says. "We're actively involved in every job that comes into our office."
One of the most impressive jobs is a $17 million Aquatic Center located behind the Student Activities Building at Georgia Tech, site of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The open-air structure, equipped with a diving pool and competition pool, was designed by Stanley, Love-Stanley in a joint venture with Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates.
The permanent roof of the facility has the curve of a giant airplane hangar; a temporary addition to be constructed in May will give the roof the sweep of a gentle ocean wave. The roof will be equipped with several thousand photovoltaic solar panels, which will generate 40 percent of the energy needed for the building, saving Georgia Tech $80,000 a year in energy bills.
When it opened for competition in August - the Aquatic Center was the first of the downtown Olympic venues to be completed. Stanley, Love-Stanley is a generalist practice that has been involved in projects for almost every educational institution in Atlanta. Their design of Southwest YMCA and St. Paul's Episcopal Church both won awards from the National Organization of Minority Architects. Current projects include designing the new Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary, the Auburn Market on Atlanta's historic sweet Auburn Avenue and the National Black Arts Festival headquarters.
Stanley's work has earned him the 1995 Whitney M. Young Jr. Citation for "contributing to the economic growth and empowerment of minority communities in Atlanta and the Southeast."
"I always had the intention of being an architect," says Stanley, who as a child played with construction sets and had an artistic talent. His cousin, Nelson Harris, was a Chicago architect; his grandfather a stone mason; his father a silver smith.
As a student at Tech, Stanley became active in support of minority programs and in confronting racial prejudice. He was president of the Georgia Tech Afro-American Association, a member of the advisory cabinet to the president of Georgia Tech, chairman of campus affairs for the American Institute of Architects and a member of the Board of Regents Student Committee to choose a new president at Tech.
Love-Stanley already had a degree when she came to Tech, and her goals were different. "I had two objectives: one was to get a degree in architecture, and one was to work so I could stay in school."
Both have remained involved with Georgia Tech. They are also the first husband and wife to serve as trustees of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, although they were not on the board at the same time.
"I don't know how people define their love for Georgia Tech, but I know we have a tremendous amount of respect for Tech - and that respect has kept us involved," Love-Stanley says.
"We stress excellence," Stanley says.
"And that comes from the training we had at Tech," Love-Stanley adds. "It comes from the work-ethic Tech instilled in us."
"The work ethic is the main thing," Stanley agrees. "Even now there are nights when we just spend the night working with our projects."