Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Plans for the YWCA

I believe I promised more photos of the Julia Morgan YWCA.

I noodled around the web looking for information about Morgan and about the building itself. Morgan, the first female architect licensed in the state of California, created many iconic buildings (Hearst Castle is the most famous), including several YWCAs. One is in O'ahu. I found this quote on their website:

"When Morgan closed her office in 1951, at the age of 79, she had her files, blueprints and drawings destroyed because she thought they would be of interest only to her clients who already had their own copies of relevant material."

I thought that was kind of interesting.

Here's an index of Morgan's work;
A link to some photos of the exterior of the Y;
An article by Joe Piasecki in the Pasadena Star-News about how much the renovation might cost, who might do the renovating, and how the building may or may not be used.

I haven't decided what I want the building to become, have you? There's a YMCA across the street but seeing as developer money might be involved, I suppose a YWCA is too much to ask for. But it might be nice to have some chaise lounges along the hallway downstairs and a buffet in one of the large corner rooms. I would adore a garden in the courtyard, where perhaps one could get a foot rub. Most of all, though, I want an office upstairs, with a secretary provided in an office adjacent to mine. I think I'd like to be on the third floor with my window overlooking Holly Street, but don't hold me to that. Let's wait and see what I'll have to choose from.

Oh and room service! There should be room service. And, um...toga-clad waiters.

Those are my ideas. Let's hear yours.

16 comments:

Ann Erdman said...

I went to tour and meeting on Saturday. I hadn't been inside the building since last November when the city's redevelopment manager and I took the Star-News through. On that day there was a wounded pigeon in the bottom of the empty pool. One of the skylights was broken, and a hawk swooped in, stood there and studied the pigeon for a moment, then grabbed it in its talons and flew out again. Amazing wild nature right there at the YWCA!

At the meeting on Saturday, current YWCA board members were there (they're based on North Fair Oaks now) and stated that the YW would like to "come home to the Y's original home" if the opportunity presents itself.

The city's RFP (request for proposals can be found at http://cityofpasadena.net/YWCA_RFP

Katie said...

Cool photo. Thanks for all the great links! Morgan created so many wonderful buildings but it's amazing how few people have heard of her. Not sure what they should do with the Pasadena YWCA, but how about something like the Berkeley Women's City Club that Morgan did in the late 20s? Per the info on your link Morgan was asked "to design reception and assembly rooms for educational and recreational use; a large ballroom-auditorium for dances, theatrical performances, and lectures; and a public dining room and smaller private dining spaces for special parties. They also asked for a library, a swimming pool, a beauty parlor, a tearoom, and several floors of residential accomodations". I'd stay there!

BaysideLife said...

I won't presume to offer suggestions, but I do so hope that the building is preserved and protected. It has an important history and architect.

And, toga-clad waiters would only add to the mystique and history of this building. :)

Petrea Burchard said...

I remember the photos in the Star-News that resulted from last fall's tour, Ann. That story was one of the things that got me excited about the opportunity to see inside the building. Thanks for the link.

Katie, that place sounds fabulous! I think our building could handle that.

Petrea Burchard said...

Bayside, "mystique" is exactly what I was going for.

TheChieftess said...

Dayam Petrea!!! you got all the good photos!!! Wonderful pic!!! I rather liked the concept of the boutique hotel...but going back to the Y is good too!!! I'm with Bayside...it definitely needs to be preserved...
I don't know about the toga clad waiters though...

Diana said...

Petrea, the YMCA building across the street no longer houses a YMCA - it's SRO (single-residence occupancy) housing, I believe for men only.

Ann, I was at the meeting Saturday, too, and heard the YWCA representative say they wanted to "come home." In my opinion, the YWCA has to bear some responsibility for the near-demolition by neglect this building has suffered since they sold it in the 1990s. If they wanted to be "home," then why didn't they fix the building up themselves instead of abandoning it to its fate? That comment at the meeting really infuriated me.

Laura Monteros said...

I would have liked to see it bettern maintained by the YWCA when they had it, too. It was already in advacned disrepair. maybe it was a money issue.

I think small restaurants and shops would be nice, and a tea room--all too pricey for me, of course, but charming to window shop. But no Starbucks please!

TheChieftess said...

Ohhh! I like LAURA's idea

Latino Heritage said...

Killer picture.
I don't know about the YWCA, but it is encouraging to know that there are many folks who appreciate Julia Morgan's work and see the value the building may have to our civic center.

I'd love to see a community center of sorts. We have the wonderful Pasadena Museum of History, but there is an opportunity here to share a bit more broadly some of the sense of place that is a part of our community.

It would be great to get a bit of our civic history, or our broader community history at a site that is along an access of the Bennett Plan. As a quick example, the only place we have our former mayor acknowledged is in a hallway behind council chambers. Lots of possibilibities. Be interesting to learn how similar sized cities might/have handled this opportunity.

Ms M said...

Fascinating info on Julia Morgan. I hope the building is preserved in a way that benefits the community. [Foot massages, room service, toga-clad waiters sound like great benefits to me ;-)]

Petrea Burchard said...

Ooh, I like that. I also like the no Starbucks idea.

Petrea Burchard said...

Ms. M, I think you and I posted at about the same time. My "I like that" refers to the community history idea, although I do like the foot massages/room service/waiters thing.

Margaret said...

I'll take a toga-clad waiter.

Leslie said...

I've always thought that it would be fabulous to turn this building into a boutique hotel. With a restaurant/tea room in the upstairs lounge, and the downstairs library room reserved for community events. The gym could be turned into a gorgeous ballroom (I love that beamed ceiling!) which could be used for all sorts of gatherings, including weddings.
After being inside the building last Saturday, I think that it would be utterly fantastic to see that pool restored to its former glory and see guests enjoying the ambience of a leisurely swim.
The possibilities are endless. I'm so glad that this building is being saved and not torn down!

This is Belgium said...

love the depth in this shot!