Julia Morgan – American architect
Julia Morgan became the first woman to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, and the first female architect with a license in California. She was the author of architectural projects of more than 800 buildings in California. Hearst Castle became her most famous project. Morgan worked on it from 1919 to 1947. Her great talent and success helped other women to become architects.
Julia was born on January 20, 1872 to a wealthy family in San Francisco, California. She had one sister and three brothers. Julia studied hard and did very well in school.
In 1894, she became the first woman to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering. After graduation, Julia went to work as an assistant of her teacher Bernard Maybeck.
In 1896, Julia left for Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Morgan failed the entrance exams two times. On her third try, she passed. In 1902, Morgan became the first woman to graduate from the Ecole’s department of architecture.
In 1904, she opened her own architectural office in California. Her most important project during that time was rebuilding the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
In 1919, a very rich American named William Randolph Hearst wanted to build a new house. Most rich people lived in mansions, but Hearst wanted something bigger and more elegant. He wanted a castle. He hired architect Julia Morgan to design it for him. Hearst Castle in San Simeon, is now one of the most famous buildings in the world. This extravagant house has 58 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, a theater, and a zoo! Morgan worked on it for more than 20 years.
Morgan never married. She was always busy with her work.
In 1946, at the age of 78, Julia closed her office and traveled for the rest of her life.
Julia Morgan died on February 2, 1957. She was 85 years old.