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Beyond the Building: Challenges and Opportunities in Evaluating Recent Past Resources

This online panel discussion will use case studies to address the challenges and opportunities regarding the documentation and evaluation of properties from the recent past. Issues to be explored will include:1) Issues regarding significance under Criterion A and BSarah Hahn and Erica Shultz will present on the evaluation of the public spaces at San Francisco’s Civic Center for the San Francisco Planning Department. Examine how protests that occurred at Civic Center from the 1950s to the 1970s play a role in the Civic Center’s historic significance. Attendees will consider how to evaluate places associated with large social movements – particularly those whose significance is still being debated.2) Issues regarding significance under Criterion CDaniel Paul will review the architecture of the 1970s and 1980s. How do architectural historians evaluate resources from the early 1970s in California? Have scholarship, guidebooks, or surveys caught up? Is this an opportunity to interview architects or architectural critics who were practicing then?3) Historic significance for modernist architecture with a difficult historyHow do you get the public to see the value of preserving a modernist building that many would like to forget or erase. Adrian Scott Fine, LA Conservancy’s Director of Advocacy will talk about the Conservancy’s efforts to protect the 1955 Welton Becket-designed Parker Center, making the case for its protection and examining its significance as the headquarters of the LAPD during a period that many associate with corruption and oppression.Questions addressed would include the following: Should we apply lower thresholds of integrity to properties associated with people and events? How do historians evaluate buildings and sites associated with people who may still living? What should consultants and historians know about examining significance of modern architecture when the architectural design is secondary to its cultural or intangible significance?


  • Erica Schultz, Associate, Architectural Historian & Preservation Planner, Architectural Resources Group
  • Daniel Paul, Senior Architectural Historian, ICF
  • Sarah Hahn, Architectural Historian & Preservation Planner, Architectural Resources Group
  • Alan Hess, Architectural Critic, San Jose Mercury News
  • Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy, Los Angeles Conservancy

Learning Objectives

  1. Challenges of evaluating properties associated with significant events/people in the late 20th century
  2. Opportunities and constraints in evaluation of late modern architecture
  3. Evaluation of public open spaces for late 20th Century significance
  4. Integrity considerations for properties associated with people and events