Press Release: L.A. Conservancy Announces 2014 Preservation Awards

Contact: David Deng, ddeng@laconservancy.org, (213) 623-2489

The Los Angeles Conservancy has announced the recipients of its 33rd Annual Preservation Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation. The awards are selected by an independent jury of leading experts in architecture, historic preservation, and community development.

This was another competitive year, with 26 nominations submitted and many deserving projects. As always, this year’s projects reflect a wide range of efforts to preserve L.A. County’s architectural heritage.

The Conservancy will present the awards at its 33rd Annual Preservation Awards Luncheon on Thursday, July 31 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The luncheon is a rare opportunity for hundreds of business and community leaders to hear inspirational stories of how historic preservation strengthens communities and fosters economic development. City National Bank will serve as presenting sponsor of the luncheon for the fourteenth consecutive year.

The nine award recipients are listed below. For more information about the projects and the luncheon, visit laconservancy.org/awards.

President's Award

Wilshire Boulevard Temple

Built with the support of early movie moguls, this 1929 synagogue is an architectural treasure with a distinctly Hollywood flair. Despite its clear significance, the sanctuary languished as congregants moved to other parts of the city. In 2004, temple leaders made a commitment to not just restoring the building but making it the centerpiece of a campus to serve the congregation and the surrounding community. Ten years later, the sanctuary has been beautifully restored and upgraded for generations of future use.

Project Awards

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles and The Theatre at Ace Hotel

This 1927 Gothic Revival theatre served as the flagship for the United Artists studio, formed by legends of early Hollywood who broke from the major studio system. The adjacent office tower rose dramatically over Broadway and served as home to Texaco for many years. Ace Hotel Group transformed the office tower into a hotel and upgraded the theatre for first-rate entertainment, all with complete reverence for the building’s rich past.

Barns Area and Rancho Center, Rancho Los Alamitos

This project culminates a more than twenty-five-year effort to conserve and interpret a highly significant part of Southern California’s history: the rancho era. As part of the site’s Master Plan,  fragile barn structures were carefully relocated, the landscape restored, and a smartly designed interpretive education center and bookshop/classroom discreetly added.

Bob Hope Patriotic Hall

For more than seventy-five years, this County-owned building has served as a monument to, and resource for, members and veterans of the U.S. military. A full rehabilitation inside and out restored historic elements and upgraded building systems. Close collaboration and creative solutions transformed an underused structure into an active, multipurpose facility to serve those who have served our country.

CDI Early Learning Center

When the Canoga Park Library relocated in 2004, its original home—a 1959 Mid-Century Modern gem with a whimsical, folded-plate roof—languished for years. An adaptive reuse project transformed the building into an Early Learning Center for the Childhood Development Institute. The building now thrives as a resource for neighborhood families, its playful design a perfect complement to the activity within.

Dunbar Hotel

The Dunbar Hotel was the center of L.A.’s African American community from the 1930s through the 1950s. The hotel suffered a slow decline and stood vacant for over a decade. In 2011, the Dunbar became the centerpiece of an affordable housing project that reversed years of deferred maintenance and alterations, restored original features, and upgraded systems. The crown jewel of the neighborhood shines again, celebrating its storied past, serving the community, and boosting civic pride.

The Forum

The “Fabulous” Forum has been an icon since it opened in 1967. Designed by Charles Luckman, the unique circular building served as a sports and entertainment arena for decades. Madison Square Garden bought the Forum in 2012, reviving and repositioning it as a high-end entertainment venue with first-rate amenities while restoring its classic, mid-century appearance. The project provides a national model for reusing large, arena-type structures.

The Hercules Campus

The Hercules Campus in Playa Vista is part of the property formerly occupied by Hughes Aircraft Company. Though highly significant—including serving as the birthplace of the Hercules flying boat (aka “Spruce Goose”)—the industrial site sat vacant and deteriorating for decades. The Ratkovich Company bought the property in 2010 and transformed it into creative facilities. Continuing a legacy of innovation, the former warehouses, fire station, and other buildings now house digital entertainment and creative agencies.

Joseph L. Starr Dairy Farmhouse

Built in 1887 as part of a dairy, this farmhouse is the oldest house in the West Adams neighborhood of Jefferson Park and the last remnant of its agricultural history. By 2008, after decades of neglect, the house stood vacant, had been partially demolished, and was rapidly deteriorating. A private individual rescued it from the brink of demolition, painstakingly restoring it in an effort that redefines determination. 

2014 Preservation Awards Jury

Chair: Alfredo Fraijo, Jr., Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Jennifer Dunbar, LEED AP, Pfeiffer Partners Architects, Inc.; Founding President, West Hollywood Preservation Alliance

Judy M. Horton, Board Member, The California Garden and Landscape History Society

Nicholas P. Maricich, City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning, Policy Planning Division

Howard Sherman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Music Center | Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization that works through education and advocacy to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County. What began as a volunteer group in 1978 now has more than 6,000 members, making the Conservancy the largest local organization of its kind in the U.S.

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