A Tribute to Julia Morgan—AIA's First Female Gold-Medal Recipient

The American Institute of Architects conferred its top award—the Gold Medal—posthumously to Julia Morgan in December 2013, making her the first woman to receive the honor.

Morgan (1872-1957) studied at UC Berkeley and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, going on to create over 700 buildings—most located in California. The Planning Report published a tribute to recognize this exceptional architect's legacy, featuring a speech delivered at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago by Beverly Willis, FAIA.

Willis notes: "Would you believe that as recently as 1978, when we were discussing the Equal Rights Amendment, the president of the AIA declared to the press that he would never hire a woman architect? On behalf of these women practitioners, I express our collective and respectful anger."

She goes on: "Historically important women designers are still not in the history books. But conversely, at this moment, on this day, in the history of AIA, I express our collective joy... I return to my words from 36 years ago: The AIA  must reaffirm its moral commitment as architects to the goals and ideals of architecture and humanity. With the award of this Gold Medal to Julia Morgan today, which her family proudly accepts, the AIA has indeed reaffirmed its commitment as architects to its democratic ideals. This is a proud moment for us all."

Full Story: AIA Honors Architect Julia Morgan with Gold Medal—Finally!

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