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AIA posthumously awards 2014 Gold Medal to Julia Morgan

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Julia Morgan, the first woman to study architecture at the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in Paris, has been recognised with this year’s American Institute of Architects Gold Medal

Morgan, who died in 1957, practiced for almost 50 years, designing more than 700 buildings including houses, churches, hotels, commercial buildings and museums.

In 1904, she became the first woman licensed to practice architecture in California, opening her own practice.

Morgan is also the first woman ever to be given the AIA Gold Medal since its foundation in 1907.

Denise Scott Brown said: ‘Her work mirrored the social and economic burgeoning of California and the changing roles of women’

Scott Brown, who missed out on the Pritzker Prize back in 1991 after her husband Robert Venturi was honoured for their joint work, added: ‘Now that we are taking off our blinders, we can see Morgan’s greatness. Including her now will help the profession diversify its offerings to include greater richness and creativity of expression.’

In a recommendation letter, senator Dianne Feinstein described Morgan as ‘unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time.’

Morgan was unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time

She added: ‘Morgan’s legacy has only grown over the years. She was an architect of remarkable breadth, depth, and consistency of exceptional work, and she is widely known by the quality of her work by those who practice, teach, and appreciate architecture.’

AIA Gold Medalist Michael Graves commented: ‘She designed buildings to fit her clients, blending design strategy with structural articulation in a way that was expressive and contextual, leaving us a legacy of treasures that were as revered when she created them as they are cherished today’.

The Gold Medal awards an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Julia Morgan timeline

1872 Born in Oakland, California

1894 Graduates from University of California-Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering

1902 Completes studies at Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in Paris

1904 Becomes the first woman licensed to practice architecture in California and opens her own practice

1906 Completes North Star House in California for mining engineer Arthur De Wint Foote

1906 Designs the Margaret Carnegie Library in California

1914 Wins the commission to design the Los Angeles Examiner Building

1919 Designs Hearst Castle in California for newspaper magnate and collector William Randolph Hearst

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

1921 Joins the AIA

1926 Completes the Hollywood Studio Club for the YWCA

1951 Retires from practice

1957 Dies at home in California

2013 Receives the AIA 2014 Gold Medal

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