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Santa Monica Conservancy Celebrates Architect Julia Morgan's Legacy


Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

February 28, 2019 -- Julia Morgan, the first woman licensed as an architect in California, would go on to design at least 700 buildings, including the legendary Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

On Sunday, the Santa Monica Conservancy will commemorate Morgan's legacy at the guest house and pool she designed in Santa Monica for the publishing tycoon, which now houses the Annenberg Community Beach House.

The celebration kicks off at 11 a.m. with a presentation on the materials and stories within the Julia Morgan collections at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Julia Morgan and William Randolph Hearst during construction of Hearst Castle in 1926 (Photograph by Irvin Willat)

The presentation by Laura Sorvetti, reference archivist at Cal Poly's Special Collections and Archives, includes architectural drawings, correspondence, photographs and family records.

The presentation will be followed by tours of the Guest House where docents will "further explore Julia Morgan's remarkable accomplishments," organizers said.

"Many myths surround Julia Morgan’s career, but one of the most persistent is the legend that she destroyed the records of her nearly fifty-year practice when she retired in 1951," according to the Julia Morgan online exhibition at Cal Poly’s website.

"In fact, Morgan carefully preserved thousands of architectural plans, drawings, sketchbooks, photographs, correspondence, project files, and other personal and professional papers, which were given to California Polytechnic State University by her heirs in 1980."

Morgan, who was licensed in 1904, received an honorary doctorate degree from UC, Berkeley, her alma mater, in 1929. It was one of the few honors that Morgan, who shied away from such accolades, accepted during her lifetime.

In 2014, the American Institute of Architects awarded her a posthumous Gold Medal, which is considered the profession’s highest honor. Morgan was the first woman to receive the medal.

“Her trailblazing career helped open the field of architecture to women in the United States,” according to Cal Poly's website.

"Her brilliant and pioneering work continues to gain public recognition," Conservancy officials said.

The tribute to Morgan continues Tuesday, March 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the Julia Morgan Legacy Talk, an annual discussion on women in public practice presented by Beach=Culture.

Participants include architect Angela Brooks, artists Deborah Aschheim and Susan Narduli, Santa Monica City public art supervisor Chris Guerra, and historic preservation planner Stephanie Reich.

The panel will join moderator and City Architect Rebecca Abano to "discuss Julia Morgan's pioneering achievements in the context of present-day issues of equity in architecture and design."

The Annenberg Community Beach House is located on the beach at 415 Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California. It is north of the Santa Monica Pier and south of Will Rogers State Beach. The Pacific Coast Bike Trail winds along the western edge of the facility.

For more information on 2019 Julia Morgan Legacy Day click here

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