Announcing our 35th Spring House Tour
and Garden Reception

Early Residences in Berkeley

Sunday, 2 May 2010, One to Five o’clock

Tour map, illustrated guidebook & refreshments provided
General $40; BAHA members $30*
(discount limit: 2 tickets per individual member; 4 per household)
* Members in Contributing & higher categories, see schedule.

Use the ticket order form or order tickets online (scroll down).

“Our Julia Morgan”... Fifty-three years after her death, the diminutive architect who stood a mere five feet tall is a giant in her field. Julia Morgan (1872–1957) is the architect most homeowners in Berkeley would like to have designed their house, judging by the scores of unsubstantiated claims and urban legends in which her name figures prominently.

Although she was raised in Oakland, and although she located her practice and residence in San Francisco, Julia Morgan has been embraced as Berkeley’s own from the very start of her career. The connection goes beyond the University of California, where Miss Morgan was an engineering graduate in 1894. It also transcends the young architect’s association with her early employers, Bernard Maybeck and John Galen Howard.

One explanation for the devotion Berkeleyans feel for Miss Morgan is that Berkeley is such a treasure trove of early Morgan-designed residences. These welcoming and refined houses, some shingled, others stucco-clad, are paragons of comfort and beauty—quintessential Berkeley homes.

Having been the first woman to study architecture at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Julia Morgan returned to the Bay Area in 1902. Almost immediately, she opened her own practice, taking on private clients even as she assisted John Galen Howard with major U.C. projects such as the Hearst Greek Theatre and the Hearst Memorial Mining Building.

The young architect began her career at an opportune time: the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire triggered a building boom, and architects found their hands full. During 1904, her first official year of practice after receiving her state architect’s license in March, Julia Morgan obtained about seven commissions for residences. By 1910, she had already designed and built numerous structures, both public and private. Her total output in a 45-year career grew to some 700 commissions.

Never a pioneering trendsetter, Julia Morgan was the consummate professional, unwedded to any particular architectural style. Above all, she paid attention to location and to her clients’ needs. Her biographer, Sarah Holmes Boutelle, wrote, “the plan itself became her most significant concern, for in Beaux-Arts fashion she designed each building from the inside out, with the exterior being of secondary importance.”

Clad in brown shingles or in stucco, Julia Morgan’s early Berkeley houses are expressions of the Arts & Crafts movement. This year’s house tour will showcase the variety of the architect’s designs within this idiom, as well as a later design in the Mediterranean style.


Pre-tour Lectures

A Visit with Julia Morgan

An impersonation by Betty Marvin

Thursday, 22 April 2010 at 7:30 pm
Berkeley City Club
Members’ Lounge (2nd floor)
2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Tickets $15

Julia Morgan’s Cohorts

Speaker: Inge Horton

Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 7:30 pm
The Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley
Tickets $15

Order tour & lecture tickets online
(please specify House Tour & number of tickets)
See instructions for using PayPal

Or use the ticket order form to order by mail.

Tour-day ticket booth will be open from 12:30 pm to 4 pm in front of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, 2837 Claremont Blvd. (see map).

Tour docents receive complimentary admission.
To volunteer, e-mail BAHA.

Copyright © 2010 BAHA. All rights reserved.
Photographs © Daniella Thompson.