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.



Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Register today!


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.