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Posts tagged ‘Julia Morgan’

Journey into library land: Blogging bonanza

Victoria Billings is the communications and public programs intern at Kennedy Library. ‘Journey into library land’ is a series about what she’s learned creating media for Cal Poly’s university library.

It’s been a busy two weeks! And not just because I had midterms galore last week.

What happened since we last spoke?

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Julia Morgan’s legacy lives on in Cal Poly architecture students

A tiny city sprung up almost overnight this January in Kennedy Library’s 1st Floor Gallery, thanks to the work of 2nd year architecture students.

The city, or rather, models of buildings all inspired by architect Julia Morgan, was the result of the architecture students’ work last quarter studying the history of the iconic Morgan. Architecture professors and students worked with Kennedy Library’s Special Collections to access Morgan’s own documentation of her work, and then designed projects in response to Morgan’s style of design.

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100 years is a long time

Last week, on December 12, 2012, Laura Sorvetti and I went to San Francisco to join the Book Club of California in celebrating 100 years. Since its founding in 1912 the Book Club of California (BCC) has printed fine editions focusing on California history and literature. It was started by a group of book collectors, sellers, scholars, writers, printers and entrepreneurs. It was a fun field trip!

Laura recently joined The Book Club of California; first as a member, then as a director on the board. She said that for a long time she had admired the organization from afar, but then after working with Catherine Trujillo on the Pressing Forward exhibit last spring, she was ready to jump right in and get involved. Laura said, “The first time I visited the club rooms on Sutter Street and met many of the gracious and passionate members, I couldn’t express how excited I was: “I found printing-book people like me!”"

The celebration was held in the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building. Many were dressed in period garb. I loved looking out at the sea of hats and imagining that I was visiting another era, an era when they served poached celery as an appetizer…

Photo of BCC Centennial  Menu



















Here’s more from Laura:

Any Californian who makes it to their 100th birthday is in pretty good shape. The Book Club, on their hundredth-year birthday, is still remarkably young, and it is the members who maintain that youthful and passionate character. Even at the centennial luncheon, a time for reflection and maybe a pat on the back for making it this far, the invited speakers were already planning for the next hundred years. While they acknowledged the importance of continuing the traditions of The Book Club, they are considering how we can gracefully move into the 21st century future, participating in the continued history of the book & fine printing in California. Smart move, sustainably speaking. I am looking forward to contributing to the next century’s work.

And just think: in another hundred years they’ll be telling the story of our historic luncheon.

As part of the centennial celebration, Kennedy Library hosted an exhibit about the BCC called Pressing Forward. You can learn more about opening reception — Tom Killion talking about his woodcut process, Erin Zamrzla showing us how to make handmade books — in an earlier post.

Architecture time machine!

Second year architecture students are stepping into the past with the help of Kennedy Library’s Special Collections. The upcoming exhibit, Atelier Morgan, features an inspiring collection of Julia Morgan’s sketches and drawings. As part of the exhibit, every second year architecture student at Cal Poly participated in the Julia Morgan Symposium, where they had a chance to look through the Morgan Papers to draw inspiration.

Architecture instructors rarely choose the same projects for their students, so this is an opportunity for the students to work on the same subject and explore Cal Poly’s Special Collections, architecture professor Robert Arens said.

“Students will take this opportunity to see the Special Collections and also see this great exhibit,” Arens said. The exhibit opens at Kennedy Library on November 9, 2012.

Faculty selected one of three Morgan projects to focus on for the quarter, having students design structures or create drawings that are inspired by, but not necessarily derivative of, Morgan’s iconic work.

Photo of Cal Poly architecure students review Julia Morgan papers“Everyone’s taking kind of a different approach to it,” Arens said. He described the challenge for students: “How do you fit into an existing context and kind of a revered one? How do you respond to that without imitation?”

And the students’ experience with these revered works has inspired them too.

For architecture student Karin Bjorkman, who is working on a sketch inspired by Morgan’s work at Hearst Castle, access to the Morgan Papers is a special privilege, she said. “It was really touching that they brought it down to us,” Bjorkman said.

For architecture student Eli Beckman, that privilege is also an incredible way to study something first-hand. “It’s a great sort of primary source as to what Julia Morgan’s work looked like,” Beckman said.

The Atelier Morgan exhibit is November 9, 2012 – January 11, 2013, with an opening on November 9 from 3-4pm in the second floor Gallery at the Commons. The opening is followed by The College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s 2012 Hearst Lecture Series featuring Victoria Kastner, historian for Hearst Castle and author of two books: “Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House” and “Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land.” The lecture will be from 4-5pm in the Business Rotunda at Cal Poly.

The architecture students’ Morgan-inspired projects will go on display in the Gallery at the Commons on the second floor of Kennedy Library, January 14 – February 1, 2013.

UPDATE: See photos from the exhibit opening on our Flickr.

Learn more about Kennedy Library’s Special Collections.

More information about the Julia Morgan exhibit is available at Atelier Morgan.

– Victoria Billings

Atelier Morgan The Personal Archives of Architect Julia Morgan

Writing Banner

Julia Morgan’s personal archives belie one of the most persistent myths about her: that she destroyed the records of her nearly fifty-year practice when she retired in 1951. In fact, Morgan carefully preserved thousands of architectural plans, drawings, sketchbooks, photographs, correspondence, project files and other papers that tell the story of her life and career.

Her vast archive, which was given to California Polytechnic State University by her heirs in 1980, is held in the public trust in Kennedy Library’s Special Collections. It sheds light on a life of skill and style and illustrates her influence on California architecture and the built environment.

Inspiring design

Portrait of Julia Morgan

The exhibit, which is designed to travel to other libraries and galleries, presents visual representations of Morgan’s craft and design aesthetic. It will be shown alongside Cal Poly architecture student work inspired by her design principles.

Featured in the exhibit will be reproductions of Morgan’s student work at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris, William Randolph Hearst commissions, civic work with YWCAs and residential commissions. It will also showcase her beautiful work in gouache and pastel on paper.

Statewide event

The Atelier Morgan exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Julia Morgan 2012 Festival that runs October 1 – November 16.

The Julia Morgan 2012 Festival is a statewide event that explores the life and work of Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect; the first female to graduate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris; and the architect of over 700 structures in California alone.

Exhibit Dates

Opening Reception

Friday, November 9, from 3pm – 4pm
Gallery at the Commons, 2nd Floor, Kennedy Library

Hearst Lecture Series, Sponsored by CAED

Friday, November 9, from 4 – 5 p.m. in the Business Rotunda, Cal Poly

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s 2012 Hearst Lecture Series features Victoria Kastner, historian for Hearst Castle and author of two books: “Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House” and “Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land.”

All events are free and open to the public.

Image Credit: Julia Morgan Studio Portrait, Paris, c. 1900 | MS 010 Julia Morgan Papers, Special Collections