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Julia Morgan: The Latest Architecture and News

Nameless Buildings Affect Us

Architecture is human. So when I entered Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning in 1973 and the entire faculty were as white and male as I was, it made no sense to me but reflected the end times of the full-on male dominance in my chosen profession. In that world, a few professors would often comment on how female students looked at juries, and some sexually victimized some students (none of whom were male).

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Julia Morgan: The Trailblazing Female Architect Overlooked No More by The New York Times

Since its founding in 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries listing the lives and legacies of some of the world’s most influential people. However, by their own admission, the listings have historically been dominated by white men. In order to address this, The Times launched its “Overlooked” series in 2018, telling the stories of women such as Sylvia Plath and Emma Gatewood.

In advance of International Women’s Day, The Times has published an obituary by Alexandra Lange detailing the life and legacy of Julia Morgan, the first woman to earn an architect’s license in California, and “a prolific designer of hundreds of buildings, namely the Hearst Castle at San Simeon."

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Arquitetas Invisíveis Presents 48 Women in Architecture: Part 1, the Pioneers

International Women’s Day, now celebrated on March 8, was first commemorated in the early 1900s, as women across the globe were actively campaigning and protesting for equal rights. What began as small protests, rose to a global scale and trigged over a period of time a series of political, labor and social advancements for women. Unfortunately, these achievements do not always guarantee gender equality in practice (and in some countries laws still exist that favor men). Women still suffer from physical and psychological violence, lower salaries, and a lack of recognition, among other things. While this is the situation for women around the world, there are also specific statistics that show how women in architecture are not valued socially and professionally. There are few women who gain international recognition, making them unknown to many professionals and architecture students, and making it seem as if they do not exist.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked the Brazilian non-profit group Arquitetas Invisíveis (Invisible Architects) to share with us a part of their work, which identifies and recognizes the work of women in architecture and urbanism. The result is this list of 48 women divided into seven categories: pioneers, “in the shadows,” architecture, landscape architecture, social architecture, urbanism and sustainable architecture.

Why We Can Thank Gehry, Graves, and Scott Brown for Julia Morgan's AIA Gold Medal Win

Considering Julia Morgan was overlooked for over 100 years and has been dead for over 50, naysayers may consider her recent accolade as the first woman to receive the AIA Gold Medal something of an empty gesture. However, the prestigious group of supporters who compiled her nomination package - among them Michael Graves, Frank Gehry, and Denise Scott Brown - would beg to differ. To find out how and why the trio championed Morgan's case, check out this article on SFGate.

A History of Women in Architecture

In this article published by the National Women's History Museum, Despina Stratigakos delivers a fresh perspective on the current phenomenon of women leaving the architecture profession. Starting with Architect Barbie and jumping back to the likes of Julia Morgan, the successes and struggles of pioneering female architects are chronicled, offering women pursuing architecture careers today a firm understanding of their roots. Read the article here.

The Indicator: What the Julia Morgan AIA Gold Medal Says about Equality in Architecture

The recent announcement that Julia Morgan has posthumously received the 2014 AIA Gold Medal, the AIA’s top honor, while positive and inspirational, raises some important questions concerning the recognition and advancement of women in the profession. She is the first woman, living or dead, to receive the honor in the award’s 106-year history. From 1907 to 2012, all recipients have been men.

It seems Morgan was destined to be first. She was the first female graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1902) and the first woman to obtain an architecture license in California. She is known principally as architect of the extravagant and stunning Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California and the designer of over 700 buildings.

Julia Morgan Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced today their decision to posthumously award the 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA (1872-1957), “whose extensive body of work has served as an inspiration to a generation of female architects.”

“Julia Morgan is unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time and a true California gem,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in her recommendation letter. “Morgan’s legacy has only grown over the years. She was an architect of remarkable breadth, depth, and consistency of exceptional work, and she is widely known by the quality of her work by those who practice, teach, and appreciate architecture.”