Julia Morgan

Morgan received commssions from the YWCA organizations largely because of the influence of Phoebe Apperson Hearst. However, in the case of the Oakland YWCA, Morgan's former sorority sister (at U. C. Berkeley), Grace Merrian Fisher, was the president of the local YWCA board.

The front facade

The design follows classical models, specifically Italian Renaissance palazzi. (See Alberti's Palazzo Rucellai and Michelozzo's Palazzo Medici- Ricardi.) The facade is symmetrical with a strong sense of a base (in dark yellow brick) and top. The middle register is of lighter yellow plaster.

Another view of the facade and the entrance

The main floor is raised up from the street. The Assembly Room (see interior) is located on the second floor, beautifully lighted by the triple arched windows in the front.


The second floor triple-arched windows and the top

The top floor is set back to provide a balcony (which also serves as a fire escape). Like the main windows below, the large square windows are framed by decorative terra cotta designs.


A front window and a window on the side facade

The classical window with fan light and balustrade has glazed terra cotta decoration of fruit and flowers rather than classical pilasters or colonettes. Terra cotta decoration recurs in Morgan's works. (See especially the Hearst Bulding in San Francisco.)


Details of the terra cotta decoration

Click here to see interior views of the Oakland YWCA.

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