"Casa Grande Exterior" Top 5 Page for this destination Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Things to Do Tip by atufft
Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Things to Do: 117 reviews and 448 photos
Julia Morgan designed the building to withstand the seismic forces. Given the strong quakes experienced within recent years, the rebar reinforced poured concrete structure appears to be doing well. Thus, the appearance of marble block on the exterior is mostly a facade of decorative stone, tile, and molded stucco over a modern building. The insides of rooms are essentially concrete "boxes" with the wood ceilings and other decorative details bolted on. Really, this shouldn't be considered a compromise in terms of authentic building construction because buildings like the Taj Mahal and castles of Europe are underneath nothing like the shell of stonework seen on the outside, and those buildings do risk collapse. Many Greco-Roman era buildings have collapsed during earthquakes, destroying priceless treasures inside, so I am satisfied that at least the Hearst Castle buildings are a suitable place for the collection of antiquities and renaissance treasures stuffed inside. Actually, the original plan required construction of the "guest houses" first, so that Hearst could entertain friends, and later construction of the grand Casa Grande.
The facade of Casa Grande was inspired by the Santa Maria la Mayor cathedral in Rhonda, Spain. Having two bell towers and a grand entrance doorway, Morgan managed to combine in the facade fragmentary authentic art collected by Hearst with skillfully reproduced work created by masters, many of whom were California craftsman. The towers have since been cleaned, improved or restored as the official pictorial guide shows scaffolding around them after the acquisition by the State of California. In some cases, fragmentary art deemed to fragile has been removed to storage and replaced with exact replicas that can take better the punishment of sun and rain. Since we didnt' take Tour 1, Tour 2 & 3 entered Casa Grande through a side door that had direct access to a stairwell leading to the guest rooms on the second floor, so my images of the cathedral facade are rudimentary at best.
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