Julia Morgan 1894
Although Morgan is best known for designing the European-inspired Hearst Castle, she was a trailblazing definer of California’s distinct Arts and Crafts style. She studied civil engineering — before the architecture department existed — and became the first woman to earn a certificate from Paris’s prestigious Ecole de Beaux-Arts. After returning to the Bay Area, she worked on Berkeley’s regal Hearst Mining Building and Greek Theatre, among other gems. She then started her own firm and designed an estimated 700 buildings, including, most notably, many women-commissioned projects — cementing her reputation as California’s first prominent female architect and one of the West Coast’s greatest designers of all time. An unassuming woman, Morgan said, “My buildings will be my legacy. They will speak for me long after I’m gone.” View an online exhibition on her life through Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library.