Hearst Castle facade

Julia Morgan – Armed with both a civil engineering degree and an architecture degree, Morgan became one of the most prolific and financially successful architects of her time. Although best known for her decades of work on Hearst Castle, the sprawling estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Morgan designed 700 buildings throughout her career, including dozens of YWCA buildings. Oakland YWCA

  • She majored in civil engineering at Berkeley and was an early expert in reinforced concrete construction methods, which came in especially handy after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
  • One of her first independent projects was the bell tower on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, which withstood the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
  • Other notable projects included the rebuilding of the Fairmont Hotel after the 1906 earthquake, the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California and a series of YMCA buildings in California, Hawaii and Utah. Throughout her career she designed nearly 800 projects in California and Hawaii.
  • for 28 years, Morgan supervised nearly every aspect of construction at Hearst Castle including the purchase of everything from Spanish antiquities to Icelandic moss to reindeer for the Castle’s zoo. She personally designed most of the structures, grounds, pools, animal shelters and workers’ camp down to the minutest detail.