Architecture & Design

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Spotlight: Julia Morgan

The First Licensed Woman Architect in California

Julia Morgan is a Californian architect who took major strides for women in Architecture during the early to mid 1900s. She was one of the first female engineering majors at University of California, Berkeley, the first woman to pass the entrance exam in architecture for École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the school's first female graduate, and the first licensed woman in architect. Wow.
 

Morgan designed over seven hundred buildings, largely located in California, and is most commonly known for her work on Hearst Castle. In 2014, Morgan was posthumously awarded the American Institute of Architects' Gold Model in recognition of her trailblazing career & her incredible buildings - Morgan was the first woman to ever be awarded the medal in its 107 year history. 
 

Here in the East Bay we are lucky to have some of Morgan's gorgeously designed buildings in our own communities, hiding in plain view. Listed below are a few of her local designs - Now the next time you visit, or pass these buildings on your way home, you'll know a little bit more about the inspirational woman who helped to materialize them.

Morgan's East Bay Architecture

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Chapel of the Chimes
Oakland, CA

Chapel of the Chimes was founded in 1909, but the growing popular of cremation led to its expansion in 1929. Despite being busy with several projects, Morgan was enthusiastic about the opportunity -- She sent her artist and assistant Doris Day to Europe in search of local antiques to enhance her vision, and brought in local experts in concrete construction, mosaic work, and stained glass to manifest the gorgeous Chapel of the Chimes as we know it today. 

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Berkeley City Club
Berkeley, CA

In 1927, a group of woman approached Morgan to design a club where they could gather to discuss plans around social, civic, and cultural progress. By the time the clubhouse fully opened in late 1930, it had 4,000 female members -- In 1965, the club opened its doors to both men and women. It was eventually converted into a hotel, and the rooms were made available to the general public. The Berkeley City Club building is one of only three buildings in Berkeley designated as a California Historic Landmark.

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Julia Morgan Hall, UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

In 1910, Julia Morgan donated her services to design a building for the growing number of women enrolled at UC Berkeley. Senior Women’s Hall was completed in 1911 and served as a gathering place for female students, singing groups and discussions. Originally dubbed Girton Hall, it was recently renamed Julia Morgan Hall after it was relocated to a new location after being carefully disassembled and then reassembled in the UC Berkeley botanical gardens.

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El Campanil, Mills College
Oakland, CA

Mills opened in 1871 as the first women’s college west of the Rockies. Morgan’s first independent-commission project was the El Campanil clock tower that stood prominently on the grounds of the school. Originally built in 1904, the tower survived the 1906 earthquake without any damage due to Morgan’s reinforced-concrete engineering technique