What’s to become of the former YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan?


Curbed LA has obtained renderings for a proposal to restore the historic YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan.

The images come on the heels of a Pasadena Weekly story about the growing movement by city officials and preservationists to breathe life back into the vacant Marengo Avenue property.

The renderings are part of a proposal that was designed by Cal Poly architecture student Milad Sarkis for his master’s thesis. Earlier this year, he presented the plan to the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

As part of his plan, the restored facility would also become a new headquarters for Pasadena Water and Power.

The city hasn’t yet settled on any proposal.

With officials and residents mulling future uses for the YWCA building, we decided to dig through our photo archives for images of the 1920 structure.

At top is a photo by Walt Mancini taken in 2006. The image just below it is also from the same photo shoot, after the crumbling N. Marengo structure was put on Pasadena Heritage’s endangered buildings list.

At the time, there were discussions about developing the property into a boutique hotel. Those plans were scrapped.

Third from top is a historical photo, from the J. Allen Hawkins studio, courtesy of the Pasadena Museum of History.

The bottom three are historic images, re-photographed by Sarah Reingewirtz in Dec. 2008, when the Pasadena YWCA celebrated 102 years in the city.

The YWCA sold the historic Julia Morgan
building for $1 million in 1996.

It’s worth weighing in: What would you like to see happen in a restoration of the YWCA building?

4 thoughts on “What’s to become of the former YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan?

  1. There’s no question in my mind that we’ve got to restore the YWCA. Reusing a building is less expensive than tearing it down and building a new one, for one thing. For another, Pasadena’s image would be tarnished for good if we tore down a Julia Morgan!

    I’m so intrigued by Pasadena’s architectural treasures. The second photo is especially compelling.

  2. The fact that this building is not only a precious Julia Morgan building, but that it sits across the street from the beautiful Pasadena City Hall warrants extraordinary effort to bring it back to life. The Pasadena Civic Center has the potential to be absolutely incredible. But we need to bring this beauty back to life either as the HQ for PWP or as a boutique hotel as others have tried in the past.

  3. I used this building for most of my life from swimming in the pool as a child to aerobics classes as an adult, this is a beautiful serene place and our town will be better for saving it. I do so hope that the pool is still viable, it was wonderful.

  4. It should be used for what it was designed for, as a YWCA. Many YWCA’s are running computer programs for young girls, career classes, financial literacy programs for kids. This is a service that this community needs, along with the wonderful indoor pool that could be used for senior services.

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