“My buildings will be my legacy… they will speak for me long after I’m gone.” —Julia Morgan
As the architect of over 700 buildings in California, and the first woman to receive a Civil Engineering degree from the University of California at Berkley, Julia Morgan was a force to be reckoned with. She surmounted gender barriers in the United States and abroad, and inspired generations of young women to follow their dreams.
Julia was born in January of 1872 in San Francisco. After graduating from the the University of California at Berkley, one of her instructors encouraged her to apply to the famous “École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts”, the distinguished National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France. However, she was met with a few hurdles. The administration had previously never conceived of admitting women, so Morgan was rejected. For the next two years, Julia Morgan participated in prestigious competitions in Paris, winning most of them.
In 1898, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts) in Paris finally admitted her, and Julia became the first woman to be admitted, and graduate with a degree in architecture from this prestigious institution.
Upon returning to the States, Julia Morgan became the first female architect in California. She worked for John Galen Howard in Berkeley, drawing elevations and designing details for the Hearst Memorial Mining Building and helping with the design of the Hearst Greek Theater.
Over the span of her career, Julia was the architect of over 700 buildings in California. These included such projects as several private residential projects and the Oakland’s Mills College Bell Tower (1904), as you can see below.