Inside Berkeley

A Study Tour

Thursday–Sunday, April 26–29 | Limited enrollment

It has been said that everything begins in Berkeley—innovation, intellectual curiosity, excitement, fun, diversity, beauty, free speech, culture, food, art, and architecture.

The Houston Seminar will go inside Berkeley, California, to experience its world famous architecture and to study the architects and clients who made these buildings happen. Berkeley is where two major twentieth-century American architects—Bernard Maybeck (1862–1957) and his one-time pupil, Julia Morgan (1872–1957)—designed and built a body of work that is now indelibly associated with the San Francisco Bay Area.

New York native Maybeck, who attended the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, joined the architecture faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1894. There he became a mentor to Julia Morgan, a UC graduate, and helped her become the first woman to gain admission to the École des Beaux-Arts. Exponents of the American Arts and Crafts movement, Maybeck and Morgan were instrumental in giving it a distinctive Bay Area expression. Maybeck was the northern California counterpart of Charles S. and Henry Greene of Pasadena and the West Coast counterpart of Frank Lloyd Wright.

We will have the opportunity to visit many of the magical houses that Maybeck, Morgan, and such contemporaries as John Galen Howard designed in the Berkeley Hills in the 1910s and 1920s. These houses are renowned for their spatial surprises and ingenious use of light. Maybeck and Morgan loved redwood, exposed beams, unpainted finishes, and huge fireplaces.

We will visit Maybeck’s masterpiece, the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1910), and Morgan’s St. John’s Presbyterian Church (1910) and her Berkeley City Club (1925). We will also visit the Thorsen House (1908), Greene and Greene’s only Berkeley house. We will experience the serenity of neighborhoods where the houses have remained unaltered for decades and the plantings, untouched.

Berkeley is a culinary center, and we will enjoy eating at restaurants that are in the mainstream of the culinary world. We will stay at the University of California Faculty Club on the campus of UC, Berkeley, its oldest sections designed by Maybeck (1902) and Howard (1904).

Our guides will be Stephen Fox, architectural historian at Rice University and the University of Houston and a fellow of the Anchorage Foundation; Robin Pennell, who knew Bernard Maybeck; and Linda Perry, an expert on the Berkeley houses of Julia Morgan.

Links to sites outside of The Houston Seminar are not under their control and The Houston Seminar is not responsible for the information or links you may find there.  The presence of the link is not intended to imply The Houston Seminar endorsement.



Welcome to Spring 2018! 

Going Baroque!
Thursday, January 18, 7:30–9:00 p.m. | Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard at Greenbriar. Parking information distributed to subscribers.


An Intimate Concert of Modern and Contemporary Music of Mexico
Tuesday, January 23, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Private home. Address to subscribers.

Comida en la Cuidad
Tuesday, February 6, noon | Caracol Restaurant, 2200 Post Oak Boulevard, 77056


Modern Architecture in Mexico City
Tuesday, February 20, 12:00-1:30 P.M. | Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University


Thomas Jefferson: The Essential Democrat
Three Wednesdays, February 21, 28 and March 7, 6:30-8:00 P.M. | Covenant Church, 4949 Caroline, 77004



For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.