The Annenberg Community Beach House project at 415 Pacific Coast Highway has received approval from the Landmarks Commission for signage plans and sign adjustment.
The site, a City landmark, and formerly, the beach house of actress Marion Davies, is being adapted into a public beach club. Previously, the Landmarks Commission approved plans for the project design, materials, color palette and landscaping, lighting, and light fixtures.
The signage involves three wall mounted signs, one at the south end of the property, one at the main visitor entrance, and one at the central entrance, two signs on the grounds, two graphic banner signs at the entrances of the south and north parking lots, and a free-standing “sculptural” sign shaped like an umbrella, marking the pedestrian entrance from the adjacent beach.
The wall-mounted signs feature a distinctive beach ball logo, and the colors of the signs include shades of orange, yellow, green, blue, and aqua, suggested by the sand, sky, and the colors of the site’s original pool tiles.
At the August 11 Landmarks Commission meeting, a presentation of the design elements was given by representatives from the City and from an independent consulting firm. The Commission reviewed these elements and also the request for a sign adjustment (a request for the applicant to be exempted from strict application of the Sign Ordinance). The proposed 572 square feet of signage for 415 PCH exceeds the 25 square feet maximum permitted in an RVC zoning district, the two ground signs exceed the maximum of one ground sign per parcel, and the proposed free-standing umbrella sign is prohibited per the sign ordinance.
City staff reviews of the exceptions found however, that strict application of the sign ordinance would result in difficulties for the applicant, that the property has unique circumstances that do not apply to other properties in the City, and that the requested variance would not be detrimental to property owners in the area and would not affect the City’s general plan.
The Commission agreed with the staff findings and also liked most features of the proposed signage design. Their main quibble was with the proposed type fonts for the signs. These included a serif font, Clarendon, and a sans-serif, Flama. Commissioners Margaret Bach and Nina Fresco were not won over by the Clarendon font. However, they finally decided that a type font was not a major issue. The signage design and variances passed unanimously.
The Annenberg Community Beach House is “65-70 percent finished” according to Karen Ginsberg of Community and Cultural Services, and will be opening next spring.
In other actions, the Commission approved the design for exterior modifications to the former Wilshire Theatre at 1314-1316 Wilshire Boulevard. The applicant, La Brea Washington LLC, had been asked, at a previous Commission meeting, to retain the visibility of the terrazzo floor in the recessed entry, and to recess the proposed glass window and door system three feet from the building face. The new plan contained these revisions, but Commissioner Fresco was still not sold. She warned that the use of the glass doors at the front entrance was not in keeping with the preservation of the building’s original use as a theatre. With Fresco as the sole “no” vote, the Commission otherwise approved the revised design with the condition that the terrazzo floor be retained, even though the addition of the doors technically makes the floor an “interior” feature, over which the Landmarks Commission usually has no purview.The Commission also voted to file an application for designation for the 1898 brick building at 227 Broadway known as the Keller Block. It is one of the oldest buildings in Santa Monica.