Berkeley walking tour celebrates the woman who changed California architecture
Architect Julia Morgan had a genius for moderation. Althoughshe's known for building William Randolph Hearst's extravagantmansion at San Simeon, what made her work so memorable was her finesense of proportion.
"Julia Morgan looked at the whole environment ― she neverjust plopped something down," says Sabrina Klein, executivedirector of the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley.
The East Bay city is where Morgan got her professional start.Today you can take a great walking tour of Morgan's public andprivate buildings near the campus of UC Berkeley, her almamater.
Morgan's Craftsman aesthetic favored clean lines and a naturallook, though there's a range of styles in the more than 700buildings she designed. "She was one of the most prolificarchitects of the 20th century," says ranger Roxann Jacobus of theAsilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove.Morgan's accomplishments are even more impressive given that, as awoman, she was a pioneer in her field. She graduated from UCBerkeley in 1894, the only woman in the College of Engineering, andwent on to become the first female architect licensed inCalifornia. She was also the first woman accepted into thearchitecture program at the premier École des Beaux-Arts inParis.
Bay Area beginnings
Born in 1872 in San Francisco, Morgan and her family moved toOakland when she was young. Contacts she made at Cal ―including her association with Craftsman architect Bernard Maybeck― helped establish her architecture practice. And many of herearly buildings were designed for sorority sisters in the Berkeleyand Oakland Hills.