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  • Writer's pictureGeo Louis


People always ask why I moved from New York to California. While there is a long, more extended answer, there is one major thing the West Coast offers that was a major selling point for me: the ability to jump in my car and drive fairly short distances and be in the middle of some of the some epic scenery.

On a recent drive up the coast to Big Sur, we made a pit stop at Hearst Castle. 250 acres of land, 165 rooms all atop a mountain side on the Central Coast of California. Designed by architect Julia Morgan. Known as California’s first female architect, Morgan designed the mansion for William Randolph Hearst beginning in 1919. I found her back story pretty interesting and pulled together a few more facts about her and some pics of the infamous property she designed below.

“Morgan, the first female architect to be licensed by the state of California and oversaw more than 700 built projects during her career”

“She steadfastly refused to enter competitions, write articles, submit photographs to architectural magazines, or serve on committees, dismissing such activities as fit only for ‘talking architects.’ Morgan built a following that was restricted to her own professional circles.”

“When she retired, she had all her blueprints and other materials destroyed. She figured the only people who might have any use for them were her clients. And they had their own copies.”

“The biggest collection of her work at one site is the Asilomar Conference Grounds, on the Monterey Peninsula, where she designed a total of 16 buildings for the YWCA between 1913 and 1929.”

“She learned French and worked as the only female architect in a series of Parisian ateliers.”

“She received the AIA Gold Medal, which has never before gone to a woman.”

I mean, mama must not have slept! If you have a chance to drive up the coast, this 100% worth the stop!!


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