At its February 9 meeting, the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission heard a presentation on the comprehensive update to the City’s Historic Resources Inventory. This is a detailed list of structures in the City that have potential historic value on the basis of their architectural style and/or the reputation of their architects.
The presentation, by two representatives from the consultant team of Jones and Stokes, was the first report since June of 2008. Since that time, six new districts have been surveyed, including the 1000 blocks of 24th and 26th Streets, Princeton Street’s English Revival homes, and Gillette’s Regent Square, an area in north Santa Monica.
The timeline for buildings surveyed has been expanded through 1968, and more architectural styles, those typical of the period after World War II, have been included. Added to the list of styles are Late Moderne, Minimal Traditional, Ranch, International Style, Vernacular Modern (seen in the style of motels, office buildings and some apartment complexes), Regency, Dingbat, and Googie.
The “Dingbat” style, which typifies many apartment houses built from the 1950s onward, was described by Peter Maruzzi of Jones and Stokes: “Many of them are not great, but there are some excellent examples.”
Likewise, Maruzzi mentioned that while there are not too many examples of the “Googie” style used for coffee shops, some are still standing, like the adaptive-reuse Penguin Coffee Shop (now an office building) near the 10 freeway.
The Update also includes new contexts: the South of Pico Boulevard area, the south of Wilshire area, African-American History, surf and lifeguard Culture, retail department stores, migration and work, religious architecture, and buildings from 1968 to the present.
The Update includes a total of 22,977 properties (including duplicate addresses), and 15,322 actual addresses. There are 11,079 properties which existed before 1969. Since the last official survey in 2000, 247 properties (19 per cent of those surveyed) have been demolished, but there are over 400 newly identified resources. There are 86 designated landmarks, three “structures of merit,” and two Historic Districts.
The Landmarks Commission also discussed a draft of the Palisades Park Regulatory Review Program. Palisades Park was designated as a landmark in 2007, necessitating regular reviews of the property. The Recreation and Parks Commission will also be analyzing the review, with both groups meeting in a joint session on March 9 to discuss the review.
The commission’s initial opinion of the draft was that sections dealing with approval for Certificate of Appropriateness activities, and activities that will be exempt from the requirements, such as installation of “temporary” structures for exhibits, installations of commemorative, and tribute plaques, and removal of public art, needed better language that would define and clarify different levels of “the hierarchy” of significant features in the park.
In other actions, the commission continued to the next meeting, the topic of a single family residential building at 534 19th Street, scheduled for demolition, in order to find out if the building is in the inventory. The commission took no action on two other buildings on the demo permit list, at 3112 Colorado Avenue and 125 Pacific Street.
The 125 Pacific property had been designated a landmark in May 2004, but the designation was overturned on appeal to the City Council.