Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect
by Victoria Kastner
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2021
Julia Morgan was a lifelong trailblazer. She was the first woman admitted to study architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first licensed to practice architecture in California. Over the first half of the 20th century, she left an indelible mark on the American West. Of her remarkable 700 creations, the most iconic is Hearst Castle. Morgan spent thirty years constructing this opulent estate on the California coast for the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst—forging a lifelong friendship and creative partnership with him. Together, they built a spectacular and unequalled residence that once hosted the biggest stars of Hollywood’s golden age, and that now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
This compelling biography draws on interviews, letters, and Morgan’s diaries, including never-before-seen reflections on faith, art, and her life experiences. Morgan’s friendship with Hearst, her passion for California’s landscape, her struggles with familial dementia, and her devotion to architecture reveal her to have been a singularly brilliant and determined artist.
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Average rating from 6 members
Great informative book about my favorite architect. I highly enjoyed reading this informative text. I highly recommend.
Such a beautiful and insightful read about Julia Morgan's life. You get not only her life but also why she was so great at what she did. Perfect for aspiring architects, creatives, and anyone else wanting to know more about this trailblazing woman.
Victoria Kastner’s exemplary Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect traces the life of the extraordinary woman who created William Randolph Hearst’s legendary “castle” near San Simeon, California, among other influential designs. Morgan’s character, challenges, and creative vision come vividly alive in Kastner’s skillful hands, as do the complex, fast-changing times in which she lived. Readers fascinated by Morgan, architecture, female architects, the Hearst empire, and California will all love this book.
What a delightful read! This book is an overdue tribute to Julia Morgan who was an influential architect who worked over 50 years on over 700 structures (though no official record exists). The author, Victoria Kastner, who was the official historian at Hearst Castle (San Simeon) for many years, give us access to Morgan's projects, her personal life and education. Structured well into ten chapters, this book is filled with personal photographs, letters, and amazing sketches and photographs of Morgan's work. Not only do we learn of the hurdles Morgan had to overcome as a female architect in her education and her early career, she also was "invisible" by not being given credit (or her work was dismissed as not very original) on some of her major projects after her death. She was able to form long-term professional relationships and friendships with wealthy benefactors (most notably Phoebe Hearst (mother) and William Randolph Heart (son) to design and build residences, schools, and museums. This book finally sets the record straight and gives Julia Morgan the visibility and honor she deserves. The next time I visit the Bay Area, I am excited to go visit all of her remarkable buildings (even if only from the exterior). I highly recommend this book!