Friday, July 20, 2012

Julia Morgan YWCA

Julia Morgan was the first female architect licensed in the state of California. She's famous for creating Hearst Castle at San Simeon. She also designed the YWCA building across the street from Pasadena's City Hall. You know the place--it's been boarded up for years, sliding into ruin.

A couple of years ago, Pasadena's City Council voted to exercise its powers of eminent domain and take possession of the building. I think that was a smart move. The building obviously needed protection and its owner wasn't lifting one single, proverbial finger to care for it.

I'll post more pictures next week. In the meantime, there's another opportunity for you to see inside the Julia Morgan YWCA Saturday morning (tomorrow), from 9-10 am. Enter at 78 N. Marengo Avenue and the docents of Pasadena Heritage will be there to answer your questions and keep you from stepping into any holes. After your tour, stop by City Council chambers from 10:15-11:30 for a presentation and comments.

Neglect takes a toll. Years of doing nothing are going to cost. I admit, though, I find great beauty in ruins.

23 comments:

Adele said...

Wow. I've always wanted to see what it looks like inside, and followed the story when the city was taking over. Thanks for this photo - can't wait to see more!!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Neglect does take its toll... That building is gorgeous... The color is so retro... Maybe they can turn it into a place for vendors like the Old Helms Bakery was turned into..

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't know what the plans are for the building. I think that's what the meetings are about. There are so many things it could be used for. It is in terrible disrepair, but there's much to be said for it, many special things about it.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Well, the angle u shot it from doesn't show the disrepair.. I hope they put it to good use and not destroy it..

Vanda said...

Oh, this is nice. I especially like the green walls. I can imagine the pool full of water, light filtering through the window...it must be like bathing in a hidden pond in the middle of the forest.

BaysideLife said...

Beautiful place. I'd love to do my laps there.

dive said...

Love that colour, Petrea! I feel a bathroom redecoration coming on.
Here's hoping for a sympathetic restoration for such a fine building.

-K- said...

Right from the git-go this a really compelling photo.

It's the hundred year old architecture, it's the lighting, it's the photographer taking a photograph within the photo and it's all done behind the "Caution" tape.

I think it's telling us there's an odd and exciting life to be lived if only we'd let it happen.

Laura Monteros said...

I used to take my kids there 30years ago. My baby son and I went in the pool while my daughter took ballet. Sadly, it was already in a state of disrepair, and the pool was not heated so I had to quit taking him.

There used to be a thrift shop onsite called the Wyse Penny, and its logo was an owl.

It could be such an asset to the community. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a low-cost athletic club (which is what it primarily was) so folks who can't afford gym memberships could swim and exercise?

LOLfromPasa said...

Thanks for this 'blast from the past'. Love it. I do wish the Pasadena Heritage week was last month...I would have gone. Yes, I would have! Have a good day tomorrow.

Petrea Burchard said...

It's going to take community involvement, I think. The building needs care and work. In our current economy, I don't think we can expect the city to simply plunk down the money and fix it up. They need our input of ideas and of dollars.

I'll post more photos next week and you can have a look, or you can go tomorrow and see for yourself. I think it's worth fixing. We'll see if folks agree with me.

Susan Campisi said...

That's a very cool photo! Thanks for the heads up on the tour opportunity. I think it'd be worth fixing too. Love the last few lines of this post.

Petrea Burchard said...

Susan, let us know if you get a chance to go.

Leslie said...

I love this building! Everytime we walk past it, I tell my husband how I would love to see it refurbished and turned into something wonderful.
The fact that Julia Morgan was the architect has always been part of the allure, but also the building itself is such a gem.
Thanks for the info about the tour and meeting!

Petrea Burchard said...

You're welcome, Leslie. Let us know if you go.

Leslie said...

We did go, and it was fantastic to see it! Wowee, it certainly is in a terrible state of disrepair. But what a splendid place it is. I can't fathom what kind of money it's going to take to restore the place, but I would love to see it brought back to its former grandeur. How fantastic that would be!
The pool (oh the pool!! love love love the fantastic green walls and the feel of the whole room!) the gym, the library, the lounge.... what genteel rooms, harking back to a time when architecture spoke volumes and created a presence of its own.
I'll be eager to see what develops. Wouldn't it be lovely if, in ten years, this building was a thriving center of activity in some form or other, and the poor dilapidated condition was only a memory?

Ms M said...

The color of this photo is haunting. Like the green of the ocean in certain light. I hope this building is restored. Will look forward to more photos.

Petrea Burchard said...

Leslie, I love your word "genteel." That's just it, isn't it? What a genteel place Ms. Morgan made for young women to live in. You're right, it's in terrible disrepair and will take a lot of work. I hope we can do it.

I plan to put up a few more photos this coming week, Ms. M, barring any big events or surprises.

TheChieftess said...

Your photo turned out fabulous Petrea!!! Catching the woman at the end of the pool was brilliant!!!

Thanks for including me in your tour of the building! It was a fascinating tour and great dinner!!!

Gunn said...

This is ART!

Petrea Burchard said...

Chieftess, catching the woman at teh end of the pool was lucky! It was so much fun spending the evening with you.

Gunn, thank you. I do love the photo. Chieftess was with me and she is a superb photographer, so we can hope she'll post some great shots of the place, too.

Unknown said...

Sorry I missed the tour, but I was abroad. I love Julia Morgan's work, especially the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. My professional organization has its conference there every year, and I love visiting the bungalows and public buildings, and vegging out with the wild deer.

Petrea Burchard said...

Sorry you missed the tour, Unknown. It sounds like it would have been just your cup of tea!