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Pro Training: Sensible Approaches to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards

Pro Training: Sensible Approaches to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards

The Secretary of Interior Standards (SOI Standards) have become the de facto guidelines for treatment of historic properties. Often overlooked is their role in both planning management documents like Design Guidelines, as well as in materials and treatment.

First, we’ll examine how the SOI Standards inform and interact with local Design Guidelines. Using case examples from two Southern California cities, attendees will engage with the standards from a planning and management perspective.

Second, we will introduce the cultural, architectural, and structural issues of a classic California material: adobe. An architect, structural engineer, and architectural historians will examine the nature, challenges, and rewards of adobe – and how its changing nature and makeup can be addressed from an SOI Standards standpoint. Discussion will include SOI Standards, the State Historical Building Code, earthquake safety, and environmental factors in the era of global warming.

This program qualifies for a total of 2.5 continuing education units, including AIA, ASLA, and AICP units.


Mel Green, Structural Engineer, Melvyn Green and Associates. Melvyn Green and Associates, Inc. is a structural engineering and historic preservation firm that provides evaluation, design and research services to governmental agencies and private building owners. Services include seismic rehabilitation, building evaluation, structural engineering design and associated services. Our Mission Melvyn Green and Associates believes in the revitalization of the city and the preservation of our historic resources through conservation and reuse of the existing building stock; and through development of design methods and building regulatory processes that encourage the reuse of these resources while providing a safe building. Company Profile Melvyn Green and Associates was formed in 1972 by Melvyn Green, former Director of Building and Safety for the City of El Segundo, California. Mr. Green is the Past President of the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC). He is the Past Chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers Standards Committee on Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings. He is active in a several historic preservation organizations and engineering societies.

Ione Stiegler, FAIA, IS Architecture. Ms. Stiegler is the founding Principal Architect for IS Architecture, the firm, specializes in applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.  Ms. Stiegler’s elevation to a Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture recognized her interdisciplinary methodology to historic preservation.  Her firm’s work has been extensively published and has won over 80 awards. IS Architecture was the first historic preservation firm ever awarded the Distinguished Practice Award by the American Institute of Architects California Council. Ms. Steigler has lectured, published and consulted on earthen architecture and historic preservation on five continents. Her active participation in UNESCO-ICOMOS has broadened Ms. Stiegler’s 35 years of experience in earthen architecture. She is an executive board member of ICOMOS’s International Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage (ISCEAH). She reviews UNESCO nominations for World Heritage Sites and has been an invited UN Expert advisory mission member. IS Architecture is an architectural services and historic preservation planning firm that provides environmental compliance, historic preservation planning, documentation, determination of eligibility, and architectural services to governmental and institutional agencies and private building owners. Ms. Stiegler endeavors to inspire communities to appreciate, conserve and celebrate their built heritage and find creative ways to balance progress and climate action while preserving the past.


James Papp, PhD, Historian and Architectural Historian. Mr. Papp is an architectural historian; principal in Historicities; three-time chair of San Luis Obispo's preservation commission; and executive director of The Coastal Awakening, a nonprofit focusing on the avant-garde movements that have flourished on the Central Coast. Schooled at UCSD and UCLA, he did a postdoc in American cultural studies at the Free University of Berlin, taught American cultural studies in Bratislava while teaching post-Communist cultural studies in Vienna, and was an academic editor in New York. He writes monthly columns and makes monthly radio appearances on California preservation, planning, and racial history.


Elizabeth Sexton, Independent Researcher. Ms. Sexton is a recent master's graduate in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the history and design of earthen architecture, cultural landscapes, site management, and the intersection of cultural heritage and sustainability.  Prior to attending graduate school, Elizabeth worked for seven years in arts management.  She holds a dual bachelor's degree in art history and English literature from Pepperdine University. 



Mary Ringhoff is a lecturer in the Heritage Conservation program at the University of Southern California, teaching the Advanced Documentation course Practical Archaeology. She is a Senior Associate, Architectural Historian & Preservation Planner at Architectural Resources Group in Pasadena, California, where she works on a number of local and regional historic preservation projects. Mary has also worked as an archaeologist for over 14 years, acting as principal investigator and field supervisor on projects ranging from documentation of miles-long prehistoric foot trails to excavation of historic 19th century silver mining sites. She was lead author on her first book, The River and the Railroad: An Archaeological History of Reno (University of Nevada Press, 2011); this work presented the results of a massive archaeological project in a highly developed urban setting. Mary is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Historic Preservation program, and enjoys helping planners and preservationists learn to recognize and manage archaeological resources.

Evanne St. Charles is an Architectural Historian and Preservation Planner in ARG’s Los Angeles office with academic and professional training in historic preservation planning. Evanne has worked with ARG since 2013, first as a planning intern and later hired as a full-time staff member. Her experience includes historic structure reports, building rehabilitation studies, historic resource evaluations, landmark nominations, historic resources surveys, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance documentation, and Mills Act Property Tax Abatement Program administration. Evanne is also actively involved with the Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation.