It is no coincidence that the Monterey Design Conference, with its legacy as an open forum for ideas and critical thinking from people that shape our built environment, is held at the Asilomar Conference Center.
Designed between 1913 and 1928 as a YWCA Leadership Camp, the Asilomar Conference Center was designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan as a YWCA Leadership Camp. Known as Monterey Peninsula’s “Refuge by the Sea,” the California state park is located on 107 acres of state beach and conference grounds, within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove.
Morgan is widely recognized for her significant body of work and its lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. With millions of people from around the world visiting her buildings annually to admire their beauty, their meaning, and their lasting strength and grace, it is clear that Julia Morgan elevated the profession of architecture with her rare ability, her dedication, and prolific body of work.
Today’s Asilomar still houses 13 of the original Julia Morgan designed structures and comprise her largest collection of work in one location. As Asilomar continued to develop, John Carl Warnecke, FAIA (best known for John F. Kennedy’s gravesite memorial), added seven more complexes to the conference grounds. In 1987, the original Morgan buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Warneke buildings will likely follow. While updates have been made throughout the years, the architectural legacy founded by Morgan has been well preserved.
At this year’s conference, the speakers will be first rate, the experience will be tremendous, but what you are likely to take away is inspiration by the simplicity of the venue and its impact on your thoughts about space, light, and the value of design.