Pioneering Female Architect Julia Morgan

“There is nothing more dangerous than a happy man.”

This is an incredibly powerful phrase I once read on a David Bowie interview. It took me years to understand it. At first, I thought dear David was referring to “being happy” as a powerful state that could lead and guide you through any situation; a key to open doors and not be trapped in society’s tricks. It was definitely an interesting point of view, and a very young one too. I thought it was a positive message.

Later on, I sadly but luckily got to understand it in another way, one which I think is truer to the meaning of such a statement: A so called “happy man” is not that other happy one who is inspired, well-intentioned, who’s thriving and in the search of his soul; but that one who is happily blind and blindly happy. That man who is just content with his shallow cultural achievements and is full of himself, with no vision, capacity or sensibility to register his surroundings and the people in general. That man who is actually dangerous. 

Fortunately, certain aspects of Western culture are evolving to a state that is a lot more significant and fair, more equalitarian among genres, races, religions and ethnic groups in spite of some political trends here and there. Sometimes politics cannot defeat the people’s movements and the zeitgeist. 

This is why we can actually enjoy to get to know some incredible and forgotten women from our history. This time we are talking about Julia Morgan, an architect who was born in 1872 and was a uniquely conceptual architect in the San Francisco area. She was a key professional to rebuild hundreds of homes after the 1906 earthquake, restored the Fairmont Hotel, and who worked years at her most famous project: The Hearst Castle. 

Mrs. Morgan’s differentiation from other architects was her wide range of knowledge about so many different styles of architecture, which she acquired during her studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where she was able to apply and pass the exams, being the first woman to ever do so. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts gives the name to the architectural style which is actually Weylin’s style. (Check Introduction to Beaux-Arts).

For all the great and unfairly forgotten people throughout history, we stand up. 

Federico Rozo