The Quonset Hut was an innovation of World War II, a prefabricated metal building that could be easily transported and constructed. One such hut that still stands in Santa Monica was designated a City landmark in 2007. At the most recent meeting of the Landmarks Commission, the Quonset Hut at 829 Broadway received a Certificate of Appropriateness for a planned adaptive reuse of the structure as a commercial space.The cylindrical metal hut, which stands on the north side of Broadway between 9th Street and Lincoln Court, will be used for retail businesses while a five-story apartment building will be built around it on the site. A second hut on the site, not included in the designation, will be demolished but its salvageable elements will be preserved for use as replacement material for the designated hut.The historic hut will be temporarily relocated to an adjacent parcel during construction of the additions to the site. A new foundation will also be constructed for the hut when it is relocated back to the site.Plans for rehabilitation of the hut include replacing its current non-original stucco panels with authentic corrugated metal infill panels, adding two new awning type aluminum frame windows on both the north and south elevations, and painting the structure with paint in a color known as “Calico Rock,” described by the architect, John Arnold of Killefer Flammang Architects, as ”gray with just a touch of green.”Arnold spoke to the Commission about the plans for rehabilitation, saying he and his firm “really liked” the project and that they believe they are taking a “positive” approach to using the hut.Members of the Commission were also interested, but had some specific questions about the hut’s rehabilitation. John Berley wondered about exterior lighting. Arnold told him that there would be lights placed outside the structure (he also said there would be landscaping with possible tufts of grass), but no lights actually attached to the hut.Margaret Bach expressed her wish that the hut display what she referred to as “a sense of layering of history,” ie: remnants of former use such as faded lettering that can now be seen on the outside of the hut.The general sentiment was that while nobody wanted the hut to look neglected or forgotten, it ought to have something that “told the story” of why it was historic.A motion to approve the certificate was seconded and unanimously passed, with the provision that the architect work with staff on plans for the windows, paint color, and some interpretive element to connect to the history of Quonset huts.In other developments, the Commission postponed action on a proposed demolition at 2620 20th Street, because an olive tree on the site appears to be a tree of considerable age. The Commission requested a 30-day delay in order to receive information on the age of the tree and to find out if the property owner has plans for saving the tree.
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