Contract - Julia Morgan Posthumously Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal

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Julia Morgan Posthumously Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal

12 December, 2013

-By Holly O'Dell



The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has posthumously awarded its 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, the first female recipient of the award. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Morgan, born in 1872, was heralded as a building technology expert and paved the way for other women in architecture throughout her career in the first half of the 20th century.

As one of the first women to study civil engineering at the University of California-Berkeley, the Oakland, California, native caught the attention of AIA Gold Medalist and professor Bernard Maybeck. He gave Morgan a recommendation to apply for the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts, the most prominent architecture school of the time, but a few things were working against her. Because she was a foreigner, she faced strict quotas for admission; because she was a woman, she faced discrimination. No woman had ever been accepted to the school, but after three tries, Morgan was admitted and completed the program in 1902.


Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Image courtesy of Mark Anthony Wilson; Julia Morgan, Architect of Beauty.


She returned to Berkeley and worked for architect John Galen Howard. Two years later, she became the first woman licensed to practice architecture in California and opened her own firm. One of her early projects, a first-of-its-kind Classic Greek theater, withstood the 1906 San Francisco earthquake when much of the city was leveled. The project not only provided her with credibility, but it also introduced her to Phoebe Apperson Hearst, a university patron and mother of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. The relationship resulted in Morgan designing the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, the 165-room opulent seaside retreat that blends Gothic, Neoclassical, and Spanish Colonial influences.



Mills College Library in Oakland. Mills College, F. W. Olin Library, Special Collections.


Between her skill with reinforced concrete and the vast array of architectural styles employed in her 700-plus buildings, Morgan is remembered as a pioneer in the profession. “She designed buildings to fit her clients, blending design strategy with structural articulation in a way that was expressive and contextual, leaving us a legacy of treasures that were as revered when she created them as they are cherished today,” AIA Gold Medalist Michael Graves, FAIA, wrote in a recommendation letter.


Asilomar YWCA Campus in Pacific Grove, California. Image courtesy of Joel Puliatti; Julia Morgan, Architect of Beauty.




St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. Image courtesy of Mark Anthony Wilson; Julia Morgan, Architect of Beauty.




The Hearst Wyntoon Estate in McCloud, California. Image courtesy of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Sarah Holmes Boutelle Archive.






Julia Morgan Posthumously Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal

12 December, 2013


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has posthumously awarded its 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, the first female recipient of the award. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Morgan, born in 1872, was heralded as a building technology expert and paved the way for other women in architecture throughout her career in the first half of the 20th century.

As one of the first women to study civil engineering at the University of California-Berkeley, the Oakland, California, native caught the attention of AIA Gold Medalist and professor Bernard Maybeck. He gave Morgan a recommendation to apply for the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts, the most prominent architecture school of the time, but a few things were working against her. Because she was a foreigner, she faced strict quotas for admission; because she was a woman, she faced discrimination. No woman had ever been accepted to the school, but after three tries, Morgan was admitted and completed the program in 1902.


Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Image courtesy of Mark Anthony Wilson; Julia Morgan, Architect of Beauty.


She returned to Berkeley and worked for architect John Galen Howard. Two years later, she became the first woman licensed to practice architecture in California and opened her own firm. One of her early projects, a first-of-its-kind Classic Greek theater, withstood the 1906 San Francisco earthquake when much of the city was leveled. The project not only provided her with credibility, but it also introduced her to Phoebe Apperson Hearst, a university patron and mother of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. The relationship resulted in Morgan designing the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, the 165-room opulent seaside retreat that blends Gothic, Neoclassical, and Spanish Colonial influences.



Mills College Library in Oakland. Mills College, F. W. Olin Library, Special Collections.


Between her skill with reinforced concrete and the vast array of architectural styles employed in her 700-plus buildings, Morgan is remembered as a pioneer in the profession. “She designed buildings to fit her clients, blending design strategy with structural articulation in a way that was expressive and contextual, leaving us a legacy of treasures that were as revered when she created them as they are cherished today,” AIA Gold Medalist Michael Graves, FAIA, wrote in a recommendation letter.


Asilomar YWCA Campus in Pacific Grove, California. Image courtesy of Joel Puliatti; Julia Morgan, Architect of Beauty.




St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. Image courtesy of Mark Anthony Wilson; Julia Morgan, Architect of Beauty.




The Hearst Wyntoon Estate in McCloud, California. Image courtesy of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Sarah Holmes Boutelle Archive.



 


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