In 2010, architect Julia Morgan became the first woman to win the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. It was a landmark achievement for the native Californian, who is most famous for designing Hearst Castle for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It’s the institute’s highest honor, and one shared by icons of the industry like Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Ghery. Even more remarkable – Morgan was awarded the honor 57 years after her death. The award was an attempt in part to correct a longstanding omission by the male-dominated AIA.
But while Morgan died decades ago, you can still see her legacy today in Fresno. Local historian and historic preservationist Karana Hattersley-Drayton joined us to talk about two buildings in Fresno designed by Morgan, as well as visit Morgan paid to the valley in the 1920s. They include the intact and beautifully preserved Y.W.C.A. residence hall at 1660 M Street. Morgan also designed another Fresno building at 2141 Tuolumne Street, which was heavily remodeled in the 1960s, rendering Morgan's original design virtually unrecognizable.