Likes: terrorizing mortals; libraries; serious eyeshadow; chain wallets; suspiciously lifelike marble statues
Dislikes: people who aren't statues yet; bros; Perseus
Julia Morgan: Why she kicks ass
- Julia Morgan was the first woman allowed to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and received her certificate of completion in 1902.
- She opened her own San Francisco office in 1904 and received many commissions for work after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
- In 1919, she was selected by William Randolph Hearst to construct her most well known work, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.
- From that point forward, she became Hearst’s primary architect. Although she was retained by Hearst, she continued to create well known works for other purposes such as: the YWCAs in Oakland and San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Mills College Bell Tower, and St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley as well as several residential projects.
- Not only did Morgan open the field of architecture to women through her example but she also did so by hiring and training women as artists, drafters, and architects for her projects.
“Several residential projects?” Try over 700 buildings overall! :)
I think I’ve mentioned before that friends of my parents lived in a historic residence designed by Julia Morgan in Benbow, California, which was how I first heard of her. It was a Tudor style country house, with a cobblestone center room two stories in height, and was the only house on Benbow Lake (as I believe it remains to this day). Every time we stayed there, I loved exploring the house & finding new aspects of the design to appreciate; it was the first indication of what would become a lifelong interest in architecture.
Then in college, while working in the library’s reserve book room, I discovered Sara Holmes Boutelle’s remarkable Julia Morgan, Architect—IMO, still the definitive biography & most exhaustive pictorial of her many works—and I checked it out over and over again. Unfortunately this was the fall in which the Oakland fires happened, which meant that I watched in horror as several houses depicted in that book were now going up in flames on live television. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see all this precious history disappearing right in front of my eyes—to say nothing of the human and financial cost.
In any case, I always have to reblog any posts I find about her, because Julia Morgan is someone who has inspired me immensely. She broke down barriers left and right throughout her career, and had the courage to be an independent woman when the world itself was a giant barrier to female emancipation. On top of that, the extent of her creativity and mastery of architectural form boggles the imagination. She was just a super-cool gal way ahead of her time.