The Gamble House Photo 1
The Gamble House Photo 2

The Gamble House

For over 10 years, Historic Resources Group has served as historic preservation consultant for the Gamble House in Pasadena. A National Historic Landmark, the Gamble House is a world renowned masterpiece of the American Arts and Crafts movement by the celebrated architectural firm of Greene and Greene.

Prior to HRG’s involvement, the need for restoration work after years of deferred maintenance was evident. Hosting hundreds of visitors weekly, it was clear that a comprehensive, long-term outlook for preservation of this fragile wood structure was needed. In addition, the prominence of the project and the multiple reviewers and funding sources created a welcome but very close scrutiny of the project planning and implementation.

To address the long-term preservation and maintenance of the Gamble House, HRG completed a detailed, state-of-the-art Historic Structure Report (HSR). Supported by a grant from the J. Paul Getty trust, the HSR serves as a model for interactive digital maintenance plans at other facilities, and supports the use of new technologies in historic preservation in the 21st century. In a national context, the Gamble House Historic Structure Report has been acknowledged as a leading edge tool which provides specific guidance for physical conservation, is an appropriate and versatile container for record-keeping, and addresses the impacts of use of the facility and daily routines, as well as specific materials conservation issues. Information about the assessments and treatment methods of the materials is now available to professionals, scholars, and other historic property owners.

After completion of the HSR, HRG participated in the implementation of a comprehensive restoration project for the house. The project addresses deferred maintenance issues, seismic strengthening, and laboratory and field tests to identify specific treatments for exterior wood finishes. A protection plan to shield the Gamble House from mechanical and fire damage during construction was a critical part of the project, and crew training for safety and corrective action was required throughout the construction. The restoration was completed in 2004.

HRG is currently at work on a Cultural Landscape Report for the Gamble House to document character-defining features of the landscape and recommend appropriate treatments for maintenance and rehabilitation.

Above: Photo by Tavo Olmos.