Morgan, Julia

Julia Morgan

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Dates of Birth and Death



San Francisco, California


  • University of California, Berkeley, B.S. in Engineering (1894)
  • Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (1898-1902)

Years of practice

1902–1951 (estimated)


  • Drafter, Atelier of Ecole des Beaux Arts instructor Bernard Chaussemiche, Paris, CA
  • Architect, Office of John Galen Howard, San Francisco, CA
  • Julia Morgan Architect, (1904-????)

Professional organizations

  • Licensed in 1904
  • Joined AIA in 1921

Location of architect’s archive

Special Collections at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, University of California at Berkeley Enviornmental Design Archives

Related websites


California, San Francisco, commercial, institutional, residential


Early life and Education

Morgan was born in San Francisco, CA in 1872. While attending UC Berkeley as an engineering student, Morgan became interested in architecture. After graduation, Bernard Maybeck, a professor at Berkeley, advised Morgan to apply to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris to  study architecture. In 1897, the French government opened admissions for degree programs at the Ecole to women. After her third attempt to pass the entrance examinations, Morgan became the first woman accepted to the architecture program in 1898. She earned a certificat d’architecture in 1902.

Morgan died in 1957.

Career in Architecture

Morgan is known as the first female architect in California. After finishing her education in Paris, she briefly worked for an architect before passing the California licensing exam in 1904 and opening a practice in San Francisco, CA. Morgan is best known for her work on William’ Randolph Heart’s San Simeon home, known as Hearst Castle. Morgan worked on the project for twenty-eight years. Morgan designed over 700 buildings in less than 50 years and was known to supervise construction dressed in skirts and bloomers. A significant portion of Morgan’s oeuvre was designed for women clients and institutions created and run by and often for women.

Major Buildings and Projects

  • Fairmont Hotel rebuilding, San Francisco, CA
  • Phoebe Hearst Residence, Pleasanton, CA
  • Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
  • Riverside Art Museum, CA
  • Asilomar Conference Center, CA

Press and Awards

AIA Gold Medal Award, 2014 (posthumously)

Honorary Doctorate of Law, UC Berkeley

Institutional Affiliations

American Institute of Architects -1921