Congratulations to New CPF Board Member Christine Lazzaretto!

HRG Principal Christine Lazzaretto was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of the California Preservation Foundation, the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of California’s built environment. Christine has served on the CPF education committee for the last two years, helping to organize workshops on preservation-related topics throughout the state.

The next CPF educational workshop, “CEQA: How it Really Works,” will take place from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on May 25. It will be held at the former Golden State Mutual Life headquarters (now SCLARC) designed by Paul R. Williams in 1949 and located at 1999 W. Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles. Adopted in 1970, the California Environmental Quality Act is a critical tool for protecting the state’s historic resources. All projects undertaken by a public agency, and many projects undertaken by private parties, are subject to CEQA review. Despite its widespread and effective use as a preservation tool, it is frequently misunderstood or misinterpreted. The workshop will explore CEQA from different perspectives: historic preservation professionals, City staff members, land use attorneys, and preservation advocates. Through a series of case studies, participants will discuss the strengths and limitations of CEQA in evaluating project impacts on historic resources, implementing appropriate mitigation measures, and advocating for historic properties. Speakers include HRG Principal Christine Lazzaretto; Nicole Hoeksma Gordon, Esq., The Sohagi Law Group, PLC; Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy, Los Angeles Conservancy; and Ken Bernstein, Principal City Planner, City of Los Angeles. For more information and to register for the workshop, please go to the CPF website.

Image: Golden State Mutual Life Insurance, Paul R. Williams, 1949.
Photo credit: Paul Turang Photography.


CBS Columbia Square Ready for its Debut.

Construction is nearing completion on the rehabilitation of Columbia Square, constructed in 1937 as the West Coast headquarters of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The complex is the only West Coast project designed by nationally renowned architect William Lescaze. Lescaze was hired by the head of CBS, William Paley, to design a facility that would create a prominent CBS presence in Hollywood, establish the corporate brand on the West Coast, and showcase innovative architectural solutions that met the technological needs of the growing broadcast industry. Lescaze responded with a trio of cast-in-place concrete buildings clustered around a central courtyard, raised on piloti and wrapped with bands of steel sash ribbon windows. The facility included recording and broadcast studios for radio, and later, television; corporate offices; and ground-floor retail spaces along Sunset Boulevard.

Historic Resources Group provided historic architecture and construction monitoring services for the rehabilitation project, including the preparation of a historic structure report and a paint seriation analysis to determine the historic colors. The project included removal of incompatible alterations and additions, seismic retrofit, rehabilitation of the historic steel windows, reconstruction of the ground floor glazed curtain walls, installation of new plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire and life safety systems, and tenant improvements.

Top Image: Historic Photo of CBS Columbia Square. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.

Below: Before and after rehabilitation. "Before" photo by Tavo Olmos.

CBS before construction.jpgCBS_new.JPG


HRG leads new preservation plan for the “Lucky” Baldwin Guest House.

Historic Resources Group recently led an interdisciplinary team to create a Historic Structure Report for the 1886 guest house of Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin, one of California’s most successful pioneering real estate investors and businessmen. Originally part of Baldwin’s 8,000-acre Rancho Santa Anita, the guest house is now part of remnant rancho land that comprises the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.

Commonly referred to as the Queen Anne Cottage, the guest house is a distinguished example of a combination of the Queen Anne, Stick, and Eastlake styles. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the design is attributed to San Francisco architect Albert A. Bennett whose daughter Lillie became Baldwin’s fourth wife in 1884. The guest cottage is familiar today for its many appearances in motion pictures and on television. 

The project team included Griswold Conservation Associates, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture, Krakower & Associates, and AMA Consulting Engineers. Arboretum Curator of Historic Collections Mitchell Bishop and former Arboretum Curator Sandy Snider were essential to the effort.


Sustainability & Historic Preservation: the Wright Way

Peyton Hall, FAIA, initiated the AIA’s Taliesin Colloquium, hosted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona, as an opportunity for in-depth education in a historic and retreat atmosphere. The 3rd Colloquium, which will be from October 9-11, is a joint effort of the AIA’s Historic Resources Committee and Committee on the Environment. The program’s title is Whole Building Lifecycle Assessment: New Conversations in Holistic Sustainability and Preservation. All are welcome to register at for a leading-edge look at the practice of “green architecture” alongside cultural resources. Speakers will include Jean Carroon, FAIA, of Goody Clancy; Carl Elefante, FAIA, of Quinn Evans Architects; Fred Prozzillo of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation; Michael Gamble of Georgia Tech; Jim Lindberg of the Preservation Green Lab; Stephanie Carlisle of KieranTimberlake; Nadav Malin of Building Green; and Jennifer O'Connor of Athena Sustainable Materials Institute.

Image: Photovoltaic panels at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. Photo courtesy of Archinect.


Painted Desert Community Complex Brought Back to Life

The Painted Desert Community Complex is an exceptional example of Mission 66, a nationwide infrastructure program undertaken by the National Park Service between 1956 and 1966 that resulted in a radically new Modern style of Park architecture. Prior to that time, visitors’ services were scarce or even non-existent in our National Parks and Monuments, which were becoming increasingly popular.  The Park Service hired the firm of Neutra and Alexander, Associated Architects to imagine a new complex for the Petrified Forest National Park. The complex Richard Neutra developed with his business partner, Robert E. Alexander, represented a new and innovative approach to providing visitor services, offices, maintenance, community services, and employee housing all in one location inside a park.

Neutra and Alexander designed a single complex of over 30 buildings as a Modern oasis in the middle of a strange and beautiful geological landscape. The low, crisp lines of Neutra's buildings and the limited color palette of white plaster surfaces with small accents of silver, dark red, turquoise, and yellow were intended to carefully complement and contrast with the rolling hills and valleys that surround it. Over time, changes and repairs were made that gradually altered the complex. One of the most dramatic changes was the decision to repaint the entire complex in the standard tan and brown associated with the more traditional, rustic NPS architecture. 

Historic Resources Group was hired to analyze the paint and restore the original color scheme. HRG’s John LoCascio, AIA, completed a detailed analysis of the paint colors and their locations in and around the courtyard, which is the site’s primary public space. To learn more and contribute to the ongoing rehabilitation effort, please go to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s project website:

Image: John LoCascio, AIA, of HRG takes a paint sample at the Painted Desert Community Complex.