Beverly Hills selects HRG for citywide survey.

HRG is leading a project team to update the citywide survey for the City of Beverly Hills. HRG has a long history in Beverly Hills, dating back to the authorship of the first citywide survey in 1985 by Christy Johnson McAvoy, HRG’s Founding Principal. The survey update will be a vital tool for land use planning in the City, including implementation of the City’s 2010 Historic Preservation Element as well as the 2012 Historic Preservation Ordinance. The survey update officially kicked-off in April, and is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2014. An important component of the project is outreach to the local community, which will include a series of public meetings in the coming months.

Side: Photo of Beverly Hills Streetscape, c.1950s.

 

Lopez Adobe stands strong.

HRG played a key role in the rehabilitation of one of Southern California’s rare 19th century treasures, the Lopez Adobe in the City of San Fernando. HRG tasks included analysis and review of rehabilitation work, design, and execution to meet historic preservation standards. Since acquiring the early residential landmark in 1970, the City and supportive citizens have maintained the site, home, and collection as a public museum. The recently completed project improved seismic safety, repaired deteriorated features, improved accessibility, and provided for landscaping that is more compatible with the site while accommodating public outdoor uses. This work culminated in a 2013 Preservation Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy.

Side: Lopez Adobe, San Fernando. Photograph Courtesy of the City of San Fernando.

 

Lucky Baldwin landmarks are re-roofed.

Elias Jackson (“Lucky”) Baldwin’s 1885 “Queen Anne” Cottage and Coach Barn are ornate examples of Victorian extravagance. Alternating slats of cedar and redwood interior paneling and original iron grillwork contribute to the feeling of opulence. The Coach Barn housed Baldwin’s collection of private carriages. The Baldwin Estate is a popular film location, appearing in popular movies and TV series such as Tarzan, Fantasy Island, and Meet the Fockers.

Historic Resources Group assisted a large team, including Mitchell Bishop, Curator of Historic Collections at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden; LA County Parks and Recreation staff; LA County contractors; historian Sandy Snider; and historic architect Bill Ellinger, in protecting the Cottage and Coach Barn through a sound and authentic replacement of deteriorating wood roof shingles. Although the original roof materials were no longer extant, the Los Angeles County Arboretum’s records and other archival sources were used to identify the original materials and find appropriate replacements. Custom shingle widths were specified, fire-retardant stain colors were adjusted, shingle courses were counted, complex imbrication patterns were reproduced, and new sheet metal and copper flashings were installed.

Above: Coach Barn Roof, Los Angeles County Arboretum.

Side: Coach Barn, Lucky Baldwin’s Ranch, c. 1880s. Historic Photograph Courtesy of Braun Research Library, Autry National Center.


 

HRG provides national leadership.

HRG’s Managing Principal, Peyton Hall, FAIA, currently serves as one of the five national Advisors to the American Institute of Architects Historic Resources Committee. In March, he visited the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., accompanying the student winners of the 2013 Charles E. Peterson Prize for Measured Drawings given by the National Park Service, the American Institute of Architects, and Athenaeum of Philadelphia. The HABS program is jointly sponsored by the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the American Institute of Architects.

Side: Library of Congress HABS Collection, Washington, D.C.

 

New life for old buildings

In 2001 the Chinese Theatre, perhaps Los Angeles’s most visited tourist attraction, emerged from decades of obscurity behind commercial signage and awnings. HRG assisted Mann Theatres and Behr Browers Architects in that work. Sadly for historic theatres, single screen houses are failing to draw audiences, compared to cineplexes, and large chain exhibitors compete fiercely for the most popular new blockbuster movies. Currently, new owners Elie Samaha and Don Kushner are seeking a viable economic future for the “Chinese” by installing a new digital IMAX projector and projection screen. The leading edge technology is exclusive to very few venues, and will therefore draw the attention of studios, directors, and moviegoers. The only major alteration required is more steeply raked seating; this is a reversible change to the auditorium floor—a floor that has been previously altered. Later this year moviegoers will experience the best in screening technology, and the symbol of Sid Grauman’s showmanship will live on.

 HRG has worked for years with the team that just completed restoration and adaptive reuse of the 1926 28th Street YMCA designed by Paul Revere Williams, FAIA, a leading Los Angeles architect, and the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects. The project is developed and owned by Clifford Beers Housing, led by James Bonar, FAIA, and designed by Koning Eizenberg Architects. There are now 24 studio apartments in the historic building and a new rear wing of 25 apartments for low-income adults and youths transitioning from homelessness. The project saves a neighborhood icon from blight and potential demolition, providing an anchor for maintaining and improving an area of historic homes and streetscapes.
 

Above: Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles.

Side: 28th Street YMCA, Los Angeles. Courtesy of Eric Staudenmaier.