YWCA – San Francisco and Marin

YWCA  San Francisco

Built in 1932 by Julia Morgan

940 Powell Street

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Landmark #122. Currently houses 120 senior residents who are primarily Chinese woman aged 79-100+. The Clay Street portion of the building houses the museum and library of The Chinese Historical Society of America which is open to the public.

The 1932 building first served as a residential hotel for young, single women flocking to San Francisco for employment who needed a safe and convenient place to live. In designing the building, Morgan integrated Chinese motifs with the framework of western architecture. The facility reveals Morgan’s intense research and interest in traditional Chinese architecture, avoiding the stereotypical interpretations of “things Chinese” reminiscent of earlier trends in Chinatown buildings after the 1906 earthquake.

The forward thinking Morgan also sought to include many amenities that seemed excessive to the YWCA board at the time. Her determination to provide private dining rooms and kitchenettes for the young women, so they could occasionally entertain friends for meals, met with opposition. “But these are minimum-wage girls,” was the protest, “why spoil them?” To which the architect replied: “That is just the reason.”

The YWCA San Francisco has been the only owner.

In 1980 the YWCA partnered with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to renovate and convert the YWCA Residence to provide affordable housing for 120 San Francisco seniors. Today, our residents are primarily Chinese women aged 79 to 100+.

Today, in addition to providing affordable housing to 120 San Francisco seniors, youth programs and immigrant computer/language literacy programs are offered.

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, 5:00 – 7:00 PM the YWCA San Francisco – Marin will hold a reception.

 ”Julia Morgan and the YWCA”

Throughout Julia Morgan’s long career she designed many buildings for the YWCA on the West Coast, and one of them is the iconic YWCA Residence located at 940 Powell Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Join us for a reception to celebrate the enormous talents of Ms. Morgan and her philanthropic work with the YWCA and other women’s organizations.

YWCA San Francisco & Marin Website