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Renewed Views: Julia Morgan’s Historic Windows

The late architect Julia Morgan (1872-1957) collected several “Firsts” throughout her career that helped clear a path for future women architects and engineers. Among other things, she was the:

  • The first woman graduate of UC-Berkeley’s Engineering Program
  • The first woman accepted into the Ecole de Beaux Arts architectural school in Paris

Julia Morgan, the “People’s Architect”

Likely, you recognize her as the famed architect of the Hearst Castle, but her body of work represents many of our local San Francisco Bay Area buildings, including the Hearst Women’s Gymnasium at UC-Berkeley, San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel and Oakland’s YWCA. It also includes something on the order of 600 homes throughout the East Bay, mostly in Berkeley, Oakland, and Piedmont.

“Never turn down a job because you think it’s too small,” she’s been quoted as saying. “You don’t know where it can lead.”

This video does a particularly good job of giving an overview of Morgan’s career and work as well as close-up shots of several East Bay projects.

Julia Morgan once said, “”My buildings will be my legacy… they will speak for me long after I’m gone.”

That has proved true, and the more you look around the Bay Area and begin to take in the full depth of her work’s impact, the louder that legacy speaks.

1 Rim Rock -- Julia Morgan WindowsIn Lafayette, there’s some of this Julia Morgan legacy that Morgan likely didn’t anticipate but might find interesting.

Morgan was known as a “client architect” who focused on creating projects that met an individual client’s needs and style, rather than forcing her personal design sensitivities.

Have you toured One Rim Rock Road? This property was designed around large windows recycled by the original architect-owner for his 1970’s new construction. The windows had been part of Morgan’s Hearst Women’s Gym Project at U.C. Berkeley.

Renewed views for historic Julia Morgan windows. Perfect.

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