California Architecture

Visit Julia Morgan's grand design at Hearst Castle, Cambria

Julia Morgan was born in San Francisco on January 20, 1872 and grew up in nearby Oakland. She was the second child of Charles Bill and Eliza Parmelee Morgan. Miss Morgan was one of the first women to graduate from University of California at Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering. During her tenure at Berkeley, Morgan developed a keen interest in architecture which is thought to have been fostered by her mother's cousin, Pierre Le Brun, who designed the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower in New York City. At Berkeley one of her instructors, Bernard Maybeck, encouraged her to pursue her architectural studies in Paris at the Ecole Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts. Arriving in Paris in 1896, she was initially refused admission because the Ecole had never before admitted a woman. After a two-year wait, Julia Morgan gained entrance to the prestigious program and became the first woman to receive a certificate in architecture. Miss Morgan opened her own architectural firm in 1904, quickly establishing herself as a fine residential architect, and securing a number of commissions in the Piedmont, Claremont and Berkeley neighborhoods. One of Morgan’s first residential commissions was to remodel and complete Phoebe Hearst’s Hacienda del Pozo de Verona in Pleasanton, California. Morgan's style was characterized by her use of the California vernacular with distinct arts and crafts attributes, including exposed support beams, horizontal lines that blended with the landscape and extensive use of shingles, California Redwood and earth tones. One of her first independent projects was the bell tower on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, which withstood the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Other notable projects included the rebuilding of the Fairmont Hotel after the 1906 quake, the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California and a series of YMCA buildings in California, Hawaii and Utah. Throughout her career she designed nearly 800 projects in California and Hawaii. In 1919 William Randolph Hearst hired Julia Morgan to design a main building and guest houses for his ranch in San Simeon, California. Mr. Hearst instructed her to build "something that would be more comfortable" than the platform tents which he previously used at the ranch. Hearst's mother, Phoebe, had recently died in the influenza epidemic and Hearst had inherited this land as well as other Hearst property and an estimated $11 million. Morgan's classical training in Paris, her background in engineering, and her use of reinforced concrete, suited her well for the project. Over the course of the next 28 years, Morgan supervised nearly every aspect of construction at Hearst Castle including the purchase of everything from Spanish antiquities to Icelandic Moss to reindeer for the Castle's zoo. She personally designed most of the structures, grounds, pools, animal shelters and workers' camp down to the minutest detail. Additionally, Morgan worked closely with Hearst to integrate his vast art collection into the structures and grounds at San Simeon.
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irishlass said...

I lived in a beautiful Julia Morgan house in Berkeley. Beautiful redwood paneling - very arts and crafts.

mal said...

Hearst Castle is gorgeous and is a MUST if you are in the area. If you feel like slurging, I recommend the evening tour followed by dinner at the Sow's Ear in Cambria. http://www.thesowsear.com/

irishlass said...

SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 2006
10 a.m. TO 4 p.m.
Tour a collection of eight historic Arts & Crafts-era homes in Bungalow Heaven™, Pasadena’s first Landmark District. Join us for a self-guided walking tour of historic homes, lectures, demonstrations, guided exterior tours, raffles and the Bungalow Heaven™ mercantile. Note: Unfortunately, due to the historic nature of the homes, there is no disabled access to houses on the tour.
Where: Pasadena, California
Bungalow Heaven™ is located north of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway in the heart of residential Pasadena between the Lake and Hill exits.

Tickets will be available at McDonald Park located at the intersection of Mar Vista Avenue and Mountain Street. Day of Tour home tour tickets are $18/person and lecture tickets are $5/person. Guided exterior walking tours are only available as advance purchase tickets.

Advance Purchase Ticket prices per person are:

Home Tour Tickets: $15; Lecture Tickets: $5; Guided Exterior Walking Tours: $20.

An advance purchase ticket order form is available online.

Bungalow Heaven, located in Pasadena, California, is a rare and mostly intact collection of over 800 homes built from the 1900s through the 1930s. The history of this neighborhood is woven from the threads of several rich and fascinating stories that include the settlement of Pasadena, the evolution of the American Arts & Crafts movement and social and cultural changes of the early 20th century.

Bungalow Heaven has been featured in several books, newspaper features and magazines, including Sunset, which named Bungalow Heaven the "Best Neighborhood" in the West in 2002.

Anonymous said...

Destination SF offers fabulous itineraries for a 5 day Architectural Tour of San Francisco - including stops in:
Jackson Square
North Beach
Telegraph Hill
North Waterfront
Russian Hill
Nob Hill
Financial District
Union Square
Western Shore
South of Market
South Park

You'll visit Coit Tower, Grace Cathedral, Palace of Fine Arts, Legion of Honor and dozens of fine architectural specimins.

For more info on San Francisco's Architectural Heritage, click here.