When Monday Club members began pondering a theme for this year’s Architectural Tour, they didn’t need to look far. The inspiration came from their own clubhouse and its celebrated architect.
The tour will recognize the work of women architects, in honor of Julia Morgan, who designed the Monday Club more than 80 years ago. The clubhouse is one of five San Luis Obispo tour stops that span many architectural styles including Spanish Revival-influenced, Queen Anne Victorian and Arts and Crafts.
According to the club’s secretary of publicity, Gabriella Schrader, Morgan designed the San Luis Obispo building at the same time she was working on Hearst Castle.
“Julia Morgan also was the first female Architectural Institute of America gold medal recipient,” said Schrader. “That is the reason we have looked into other local women architects who created commercial and residential buildings that contributed to the beauty of our environment.”
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Here is a preview of the five stops on this year’s Monday Club Architectural Tour.
Roy and Linda Rawlings bought a lot in San Luis Obispo without any preconceived notions of what to build on it. But, said Linda Rawlings, “we have a sense of history about us and wanted something that feels like it belongs in San Luis Obispo.”
Their inspiration came from the very tour they are participating in this year. Two years ago, they went on the Monday Club’s tour featuring Spanish Revival architecture and picked up a multitude of ideas, which they communicated to architect Laura Gough of Studio 2G Architects.
According to Gough, the home is “Spanish Eclectic,” with features like a low-pitched clay tile roof, asymmetrical facades, arched doorways and decorative Spanish tiles. It is built around a sundrenched center courtyard, accessible from all rooms on the main floor, that Gough calls “the heart of the house”
The house was designed to be energy-efficient with thick, well-insulated walls, radiant heat flooring and solar roof panels.
The Rawlings moved in last fall and decorated in a style that Rawlings called “very eclectic and comfortable, reflecting our lifestyle.” For instance, the dining room is also their library — a cozy space where they can enjoy a meal or a good read. Linda noted that the living room is “decorated like a patio,” with wicker chairs and a casual, breezy vibe.
Claiborne & Churchill Winery
Guests sipping pinot noir at this tasting room off Highway 227 may not be aware that they are inside one of the first commercial strawbale buildings in California. The structure received an American Institute of Architects design merit award for its innovative design.
Concealed within its walls is rice straw — a waste by-product “normally burned in the fields after harvest because it is extremely decay resistant,” noted architect Marilyn Miller Farmer of Habitat Studio. The material is sustainable on many levels: It replaces wood-frame construction, saving timber forests; it reduces air pollution from the burning of rice straw; and it is also highly energy-efficient.
Farmer noted that rice straw is also easy on the budget. She estimates that total building costs were around $60,000 less than they would have been with conventional wood framing.
California Department of Industrial Relations Office
The tour will include an exterior-only peek at this office building that attained a Leadership in Education and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification — the first new office building in the county to do so, according to Marilyn Farmer, who was the LEED consultant on the project. Fraser Seiple Architects designed the structure.
LEED Gold certification is second only to a Platinum certification in the successful implementation of sustainable design measures such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, healthy indoor environments, and the use of environmentally-friendly materials.
This large, two-story Queen Anne Victorian was believed to have been built in 1877 by the Righetti family, making it one of the oldest surviving wood-frame residences in San Luis Obispo. When developers Rob Rossi, Vince Fonte and Brendan McAdams chose to renovate the structure, it had been converted into apartment units and had fallen into disrepair.
They hired San Luis Obispo architect Louisa Anne Smith to oversee the restoration. The structure was restored “from the ground up, including a new foundation,” said Smith. Inside, walls were taken down to the studs to replace outdated electrical and plumbing systems. Smith noted that Fonte carefully researched and restored woodwork to the authentic style of the time, right down to the redwood gutters.
Though the house is still divided into apartment units, the goal of the project was to restore it “to its original glory,” said Kluver, which she believes was achieved “to the tenth degree.”
In 1928, the Monday Club women’s organization needed a facility large enough to contain their growing unit of more than 300 members. They called upon architect Julia Morgan, whose impressive portfolio of work not only included Hearst Castle, but also several women’s clubhouses in the Bay Area. Morgan designed the clubhouse for no charge, only accepting room and board during her trips to San Luis Obispo.
Her design is in the Arts and Crafts style. The interior of the structure is reminiscent of agarden gazebo with an awning over the stage area and light fixtures that resemble Chinese lanterns. Adorning the walls of the main hall is a mural of loquat trees that grew near the site, painted by San Francisco artist Doris Day.
The final clubhouse was dedicated on May 11, 1934, and is still used by Monday Club members in their mission “to enhance the educational, civic, social and cultural quality of the San Luis Obispo community.”