January 31, 2014
The Santa Monica Conservancy recognized exemplary contributions to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage by honoring individuals, building owners and architectural firms at its Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 9, 2-4 pm at the historic Hotel Casa Del Mar located at 1910 Ocean Way in Santa Monica.
“The Conservancy’s Annual Preservation Awards serve two purposes” said Carol Lemlein, President of the Board of the Conservancy. “We are delighted to showcase the accomplishments of those who have made significant investments in the revitalization of our historic resources, and by telling their stories, we hope to inspire others to do the same.”
The landmark Brecht House on 26th Street provides an outstanding example of the rehabilitation of a landmark combined with compatible new construction meeting the needs of a 21st century family. This distinct American Foursquare style home, built in 1921, has unique cultural significance as the home of exiled German playwright Bertolt Brecht from 1942-1947. Owner David Golubchik, working with dub Studio, restored the exterior of the landmark and expanded the living space with a contemporary addition linked to the landmark with a second-story bridge.
Owners Kendra Sosothikul and Jonathan Ang received an award for their comprehensive restoration of 620 San Lorenzo Street, designed and built by noted Santa Monica architect John Byers in 1926. The home, also known as the W.P. Herbert House, was the first home completed in the Santa Monica Land and Water Company’s Santa Monica Canyon Mesa.
The City of Santa Monica’s Community and Cultural Services Department received an award for the restoration of the distinctive signage of the historic Camera Obscura in Palisades Park. Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura dates back to 1889 and was originally installed on the beach, where it was a popular tourist attraction. It was moved to Palisades Park in the early 1900s and was incorporated into a new public recreation building in Palisades Park in 1955.
Two projects which took place before the founding of the Conservancy in 2002 will receive awards for adaptive reuse with strong elements of restoration as well as several decades of stewardship.
The Berlant home and studio, a modest two-story, vernacular commercial building built in 1910, served as a neighborhood market for more than 60 years and was considered a tear-down when purchased by artist Tony Berlant in 1976.
Working with the architectural firm of Appleton/Phelps, the interior was reconfigured as a studio and residence, an addition was constructed to the south, and the authentic features of the exterior – the large store-front windows, signage, siding materials and trim details – were preserved. “From the time of his move-in to the present day, Berlant and his wife Helen Mendez Berlant have been exemplary stewards of this wonderful little building, which lends character, texture and presence to its Santa Monica neighborhood,” noted Awards Committee member Margaret Bach.
The Club Casa Del Mar building was designed by Los Angeles-based architect Charles F. Plummer and completed in 1926 as one of the City’s grandest beach clubs. After the Club’s closing, the building was occupied by the Synanon Foundation and then by the Pritikin Longevity Center. Edward Thomas Company acquired the property in 1996 and, after working with Historic Resources Group on an extensive renovation costing more than 50 million dollars, reopened it as Hotel Casa Del Mar in 1999. The property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As one of the only remaining examples of the 1920s beach clubs that once dominated Santa Monica’s coast, the Hotel Casa Del Mar represents an important link to the City’s past.
Volunteers Dwight Flowers and Ursula Kress received the 2014 Volunteer Service Awards. Both Flowers and Kress have volunteered since the earliest days of the Conservancy. “They both are always ready to lend a helping hand on some of the less glamorous but necessary work for the Conservancy, from preparing for an event to helping with research for a tour,” says Ruthann Lehrer, Program Committee Chair.
The Conservancy’s Annual Meeting is free and open to the public. In addition to the awards presentations, the program included an illustrated talk about the early history of the Santa Monica beachfront by historian Ernest Marquez, author of numerous books including Santa Monica Beach, a Collector’s Pictorial History, as well as the election of board members and a review of 2013.
For more information about the Conservancy visit www.smconservancy.org.