Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Good Woman for Pools --- Day 10/48

Walk: Hood

Distance: 3 miles

Berkeley City Club Pool, 1929, Julia Morgan, designer

So, San Francisco is its usual 'naturally air conditioned" (read: cool and windy) self today. But go five miles from here and you are in a heat wave billed "life threaghtening" and "record breaking," so Ciwt is thinking of pools. Julia Morgan pools especially.

Pioneering San Francisco native Julia Morgan (1872-1957) was the first woman to receive a California architect's license. The year was 1904, and perhaps her male counterparts thought she would simply hang it on her wall as accomplishment enough. But, by the time of her death in San Francisco, Morgan, the architect/engineer/contractor/businesswoman/history and art lover left a legacy of over 800 personally designed buildings and sites. The most famous of these is Hearst Castle in San Simeon, and among her most exquisite designs were her pools.

Of those, the most beautiful and admired is Roman Pool, the second major pool at Hearst Castle. No wonder and no accident. Morgan admired and referenced history in much of her work and in this case styled the pool after ancient Roman bath houses like the Baths of Caracalla (211-217 CE). Master tile workers were employed by Morgan to design faithful copies of ancient tile patterns and colors and a master sculptor worked directly with statues in the Vatican Museum to carve copies of the Roman heroes, gods and goddesses that surround the pool. The results are truly stunning. 

Perhaps some lucky person down in San Simeon's current heat wave is enjoying a swim in it as Ciwt writes.

Roman Pool, Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA, 1927-1934, Julia Morgan, designer

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