Locals have the opportunity to look at some of the most interesting design work of famed architect Julia Morgan on a tour this coming Sunday, November 18, 2012. Organized by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) the afternoon tour takes in ten buildings, including all the structures designed by Morgan standing on the UC Berkeley campus, the elaborate Berkeley City Club, and three off-campus houses Morgan designed as private homes which are now used as student living groups.
The self-guided tour costs $25 for the general public, and $20 for BAHA members (you can join BAHA on the day of the tour to get the discount). Tickets are for sale on line, and also on the day of the tour, starting at 11:30 at the BAHA headquarters on 2318 Durant Avenue, between Ellsworth and Dana.
The tour itself runs from noon to four PM for most of the buildings. Tour-goers go at their own pace and route, with a guidebook and map describing the houses and their history. All the buildings are within a few blocks walking distance of each other on or near the southeast corner of the UC Berkeley campus.
Off-campus, the City Club—which stands across the street from the BAHA headquarters on Durant—will be open for tour goers with its own volunteer docents. Three large homes, two on Piedmont and one on Bancroft, are also featured, including one where the Morgan touch is hidden behind a 1960s façade addition. The Bancroft Hotel, designed as the College Women’s Club by Morgan protégé Walter Steilberg, is also included on the tour.
On campus, the tour includes the Hearst Memorial Gymnasium which Morgan designed in conjunction with Bernard Maybeck, Girton Hall (Senior Women’s Hall) for which she donated plans just over a century ago, and 2232 Piedmont, originally a private home later purchased by the University and now used for academic offices.
Morgan graduated from the University of California in 1894 with a degree in Civil Engineering (there was not yet a formal architecture program at the time). She became the first woman to enroll, and earn a certificate, at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris. After completing that degree she returned to California where she worked on campus projects, then began her own design practice. Ultimately she would design some 700 buildings throughout the State and the western United States, and also become the favored architect of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Morgan grew up in Oakland and lived in San Francisco as an adult, but had close ties to Berkeley both as a student, and during her design career. She designed many private homes and institutional buildings in Berkeley.
The tour also ties in with an exhibit on Julia Morgan organized by the Environmental Design Archives, currently on display in the Environmental Design Library in Wurster Hall on campus, which will be open on Sunday. Finally, tour-goers are invited back to the BAHA headquarters for cookies and an opportunity to shop in the BAHA bookshop.
The local tour ties in with a statewide celebration of Morgan, called Julia Morgan 2012, organized by the California Cultural and Historic Endowment. It was organized with the help of several departments and offices at UC Berkeley as well as the Berkeley City Club and Landmark Heritage Foundation.
For more details, see the BAHA website at http://www.berkeleyheritage.com/
You can still purchase tickets online. It’s too late to order them by mailed in-reservation, but you can come on the morning of the tour, 11:30 or after, and purchase them directly at 2318 Durant Avenue.
Steven Finacom is the Vice President of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, and worked on organizing the tour.