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Practice of Architecture | 2018/02/20

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Julia Morgan, FAIA first Woman to Receive the AIA Gold Medal

Julia Morgan, FAIA first Woman to Receive the AIA Gold Medal

A long time in the making. Julia Morgan, FAIA was awarded the AIA Gold Medal posthumously.

The AIA Gold Medal is the highest honor the AIA confers on an architect. It acknowledges an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Morgan’s legacy will be honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.

See the official press release HERE, on the American Institute of Architect‘s website.


  1. OK, I will likely alienate many people with this comment and I do commend all of the people that so tirelessly advocated for the Gold Medal to be awarded posthumously to Julia Morgan. But a part of me cannot help thinking that this would have carried more weight if it was awarded next year, or the year after, so that it did not appear to be in response to what many deem as politically-correct.

    The posthumous award also raises other questions, which are difficult to answer without the without the benefit of knowing the contents of the jury’s deliberation: Is Julie Morgan the most talented dead architect? Are there living women architects more deserving of this recognition? Perhaps this is a long overdue symbolic acknowledgement that the male-dominated bigotry within the architecture industry needs to be shed once and for all. If that’s the case, then I support the recognition. However, if it’s based on who might be the most deserving recipient, I welcome the discussion.

    • Julia Donoho


      I appreciate your remarks. Julia Morgan’s award is neither token, nor purely symbolic, but this was precisely the right year to award it to Julia Morgan. It is simply long overdue. Though she had her own practice for 46 years, she did not market or advertise. She was too busy being an architect, she had a firehouse of projects flowing through her office. In a world where we only praise those who participate in the sanctioned media frenzy, are we seeing the full offering of what is being produced and deserving of recognition? This was the year that the critical mass was achieved on appreciation of Julia Morgan’s work – enough has been researched and written about her body of work, that we are finally seeing the true extent. Much remains to be written.

      Regarding politically correct, perhaps you are referring to last spring’s frenzy? The nomination of Julia Morgan was well underway when that transpired, so it was not a response to that, but rather a well orchestrated nomination process involving many individuals. In response to last spring, another effort is underway to correctly depict the history of our profession, and award two living architects with the highest honor of the Institute for the work they did together. More to come . . .

      Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.
      Architectural Advocate

      • Thank you Julie. I wholeheartedly support the long overdue of this award to Julia Morgan and all of the recognition that this award has spurred. My commentary was was indeed a reaction o “last spring’s frenzy” and the Institute’s reactive nature. The AIA should have recognized Julie Morgan decades ago. I simply felt that the timing was a bit unfortunate because of last spring’s frenzy about not recognizing the contributions of countless women. I commend you and all the other people who tirelessly advocated for Julia Morgan and did not let the timing get in your way.