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The California Preservation Conference
Preservation Springs Eternal
HILTON PALM SPRINGS | May 8-11, 2019
The California Preservation Conference brings more than 600 participants from across the state to learn, network, and share successes. The conference includes over 40 sessions, special events, networking activities, and site tours in and around Palm Springs. From its stunning architecture to its breathtaking landscapes, Palm Springs retains much of its character because of the dedicated work of preservationists who have fought to create and maintain this iconic desert oasis. The 2019 California Preservation Conference explored the innovative methods and strategies that architects, designers, planners, local advocates, and others use in the ongoing and perpetual fight to preserve cultural and architectural resources.
Wednesday May 8
6:00 – 9:00 PM | Opening Reception at Sunnylands ($100)
Kick off the 2019 conference with a cocktail reception at Sunnylands, the stunning estate created for Walter and Leonore Annenberg. The site of meetings hosted by eight U.S. Presidents, as well as political, cultural, and financial leaders from around the world, this sprawling campus has been skillfully maintained by the Annenberg Trust to balance sustainability, preservation, and reuse. The Opening Reception includes complimentary appetizers and drinks, as well as access to abbreviated visits to the historic home.
Thursday May 9
9:00 – 10:30 AM | Plenary Session
Gary Johns is the president of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, Lead Sponsor of the California Preservation Conference, and has been involved in local preservation issues beginning in 1994. His popular lecture, Lost, Saved & Endangered, is a Modernism Week staple, replete with anecdotes and rarely seen vintage photos. This motivating talk, which has been tailored to a preservationist audience, will inspire attendees to further the work of architectural preservation. Mr. Johns’ experience as the former chair of the city of Palm Spring’s Historic Site Preservation Board lends insight to this slide lecture, which is informative and educational.
5:30 – 7:30 PM | President’s Circle Reception (invitation only)
This invitation only cocktail reception takes place at the iconic O’Donnell House. Originally built in the 1920s, it was restored in the early 2000s by its current owners, and is listed as a Historic Site by the City of Palm Springs, and included on the National Register of Historic Places. Enjoy breathtaking views of the entire valley and a behind the scenes look at this exclusive home by becoming a sponsor or a CPF member at the Patron or Benefactor level.
7:30 – 9:30 PM | New! Modernism with a Twist ($45)
This year the Three Minute Success Stories is taking a break to allow room for a night of irreverent, witty, and laugh-out-loud acts exploring the hidden and hilarious sites of architectural history. Modernism with a Twist, a perennial crowd favorite at Modernism Week, is the perfect blend of social and learning events. From the fickle nature of architectural tastes to the influence of a “bunch of naked free thinkers” on Midcentury architecture, this irreverent gathering is one not to miss! Grab a beverage from the bar and settle in for an entirely different take on mid-mod madness.
Friday May 10
12:30 – 1:45 PM | Membership Luncheon (complimentary for paid attendees, with limited seating)
Hear updates from CPF’s staff and board at the annual membership meeting and luncheon. This event is free for all paid conference attendees and sponsor ticket holders, but requires advanced registration. Seating is limited, so make sure to get your ticket before they sell out!
5:15 – 7:00 PM | Closing Reception ($50)
Join us for a cocktail reception at the William F Cody designed Abernathy House, a Class 1 historic site. Guests can enjoy a drink by the pool and go on an exclusive tour of this historic home as we close out a successful conference and thank those that made it all possible.
Wednesday May 8
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM | Spanish Splendors on the Sand ($60)
Long before it was the Mecca of Modernism, wealthy winter residents, sophisticated world travelers, and Hollywood’s early elite came to Palm Springs to escape fierce wintry climates and frolic in the sunny dunes and crystal blue pools. Most came for the “Season,” October to May, bringing their children and servants to the remote desert oasis where they built stately Spanish Colonial Revival gems that rivaled last year’s crop of homes. This insightful tour provides a glimpse into that glorious era when Palm Springs lavished in the charming exotic influences of Spanish, Mexican, and Mediterranean design at its finest. From magnificent to modest homes, commercial sites and other unique desert treats you’ll enjoy savoring the finest of California’s Spanish influenced homes, hacienda, hotels and more.
1:30 – 5:00 PM | Fairway to Heaven ($60)
Among the colorful Brittlebrush and spiraling Ocotillo of historic Palm Springs just down valley is Indian Wells so named for troughs of water Native Americans dug from the desert’s underground springs. Beginning in the mid-1950s Eldorado Country Club and Indian Wells Country Club evolved to establish glamor living behind the gates of these architecturally significant developments. The Fairway to Heaven tour samples a cohort of custom homes designed during the 1960s-1970’s by several renowned mid-century architects then working for an exclusive, discriminating clientele of wealthy residents and the Hollywood elite. Adjacent to the coveted natural Barranca, this journey into the past invites you to explore a curated selection along a lush green belt in the desert.
1:30 – 5:00 PM | Designated Destinations ($60)
From gracious Spanish Colonial Revival homes to Mid-Century Modern Marvels, this tour runs the gamut of architectural styles. Each stop on the tour has received Palm Springs City and Historic Site Preservation Board (HSPB) Class One Historic Designation, or is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Focusing on residential, civic, religious, and commercial buildings, this tour represents the abundant cache of locally prominent and internationally eminent architects of their day.
1:30 – 5:00 PM | Vista Las Palmas ($60)
Mingle among the towering palm trees on this tour of classic Mid-Century Modern homes at the base of majestic mountains. Nestled in neighborhoods such as Las Palmas Estates and Mountain View Estates, these subdivisions were part of California’s booming Post-War growth and furthered the advent of elegant, efficient new ideas in American residential architecture. Many of the sites, known as “Alexanders” were originally seasonal homes for winter “Snowbirds” in tracts developed by the region’s most prolific developers and builders, George and Robert Alexander. Experience the comfort, contemporary lifestyle and innovation they brought to everyday living. You’ll see firsthand many of the post-War ideas the Snowbirds took to architects back in their home states. This tour includes the work of architect William Krisel, one of the most significant pioneers of new housing concepts in more than 40,000 housing units nationwide.
2:00 – 5:00 PM | Three Neutras in the Desert: Lecture and Private Tour of the Miller Mendensieck House ($65) SOLD OUT
This special lecture by Neutra historian and author Barbara Lamprecht will illuminate Neutra’s work in the Coachella Valley both known and largely unknown: the Miller Mendensieck House, 1937; the Kaufmann Desert House, 1947; and the Maslon House, 1962. Dr. Lamprecht will address special aspects of each of the histories of these remarkable and very different dwellings, including the controversy over the decision not to list the Kaufmann House in the National Register of Historic Places. The lecture will delve into a broad range of issues, such as the impact of additions, decisions about material finishes and historic fabric, and the terrible surprise of an overnight demolition … and how these actions sometimes serve to propel preservation law forward in cities where individual property rights are often sacrosanct. Dr. Lamprecht’s presentation will conclude with an exclusive private tour of the Miller Mendensieck House, one of only two extant Richard Neutra buildings remaining in the Palm Springs area. This lecture and tour will be limited to only 25 attendees so purchase your tickets early!
Saturday May 11
Palms to Pines ($95) SOLD OUT
A day-trip from the desert floor to the forested mountain town of Idyllwild, this tour includes lunch and an end-of-tour reception. Over a leisurely day we’ll discover a wide variety of homes that surround a rustic village center. From charming wooden cabins, chalet-inspired A-Frames and classic farmhouses to architect John Lautner’s famed 1957 Pearlman Cabin, Idyllwild is a unique assemblage of seasonal retreats and devoted townspeople savoring the mountain life in a land worlds away from the sprawling urban centers just down the mountainside. Modest and custom Mid-Century houses dot the landscape, and in the midst of it all, the ever-astonishing Wayne and Laurie Donaldson’s Futuro house. The Futuro house, designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen and built in 1969 out of plastic, epitomizes the Space Age style during the exciting era when people believed technology could solve all problems for the human race. We will experience it all, learning the area’s storied history from locals and hearing about the world-renown Idyllwild Arts Academy. Prepare to be inspired in the same ways Idyllwild lovers have been for generations.
NOTE: wear comfortable shoes as this tour includes some uneven terrain and steps.
Riverside: Heart of the Region ($95)
Truly a step into times-gone-by this all-day tour showcases decades of architecture, planning, local and national history all within a four block radius of the fabled Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in downtown Riverside. Lunch and later light refreshments will fuel our motivation as we walk through various architectural styles (including Beaux Arts, Mission Revival, Mid-Century Modern and more!) with guided visits provided by knowledgeable Doors Open Riverside docents. We will learn lessons from Riverside’s stellar adaptive reuse and Preservation of buildings by many of the most noted architects of the day, Julia Morgan, Myron Hunt, and Arthur B. Benton among them. A treasure trove of history, we’ll learn an abundance as we walk in the paths once traveled by U.S. Presidents, celebrities and dignitaries from Susan B. Anthony and Booker T. Washington to Clark Gable and Barbra Streisand!
NOTE: comfortable shoes suggested, as much of the tour will be on foot once we arrive at the central destination.
Wednesday May 8
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Making Preservation Pay – Financial Incentives for Historic Preservation: A Program for Realtors (CANCELLED)
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | California Historical Building Code: From Purpose to Practice ($45)
This workshop will review the California State Historical Building Code and its application in the preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Preservation and architectural professionals will present examples that applied the CHBC. Increase your understanding of the Fire/Life Safety, Accessibility, and Structural provisions of the Historical Building Code. Review recent updates and proposed updates to the Code. Examine how the CHBC can help make a project move forward when it otherwise wouldn’t be financially or technically feasible. See the historical building code from the perspective of a Building Official and examine how the appeals process works
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Hands-on with High-Tech Historic Survey Tools ($45)
This half-day, intensive workshop will dig deep into the latest reconnaissance survey applications used by professional preservation consultants and city planners, including time for hands-on trial runs with some of these programs. Attendees will learn the pros and cons of each technology, including functionality, user-interface, GIS integration, report production, data back-end, and cost. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops and smartphones to test out some of most common survey applications, such as Arches, RuskinARC, ArcGIS’s Collector, and Survey 123.
Thursday May 9
2:00 – 5:00 PM | Rebirth of an Icon: Restoring the Plaza Theatre ($45)
This session will be led by representatives of the City of Palm Springs and their consultant team (staff of Chattel, Gensler, Structural Focus) responsible for envisioning the programmatic future and physical improvements to the historic 1936 Plaza Theatre located on South Palm Canyon Drive in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. The consultant team was contracted to conduct historic research, evaluate systems, recommend accessibility improvements, and develop a conceptual plan to reactivate this remarkably intact atmospheric Spanish Colonial Revival performing arts venue. The Plaza Theatre is a City-owned property that served for many years as a motion picture theater, then as the first site of the Palm Springs Film Festival, and most recently, the long-term home of the “Fabulous Follies,” a lavish celebration of music, dance and comedy until 2014. This session will include a brief history of the theatre, an overview of primary research, including digitization of original drawings and review of historic photographs, and a discussion of the collaborative design process with a group of highly qualified specialists.
2:00 – 5:00 PM | Preservation, Sustainability, and Reuse of the Sunnylands Cultural Landscape ($60)
This mobile workshop will introduce Sunnylands with its 1960s lush parkland in the desert. Transforming the private estate into a world-class retreat and historic site open to the public presented many challenges. The new use of this unique property demands a balance of preservation, reuse, and sustainability. The cultural landscape, architecture, interiors, and art collections are preserved and are used for high-level retreats and for public visitation. Responsible stewardship of natural resources requires reducing water use and has led to various approaches to the historic landscape and to all new landscape projects. A discussion of the Trust’s efforts to manage the historic property with its landscape challenges, water use sensitivity, and leadership potential will highlight the careful balance that must be achieved.
Friday May 10
9:00 AM – 12:15 PM | Adobe in the Desert ($60)
This mobile tour will take us to the historic 1922 Cavanagh Adobe in Indian Wells. It is one of the oldest adobe homes in the Coachella Valley. Exploring this adobe inside and out with Diane Wilk and Michael Burch, FAIA, co-owners and participants in its rehabilitation, will provide a close examination of the structure and design of adobe construction. While hundreds of adobe homes and public buildings were built in the Coachella Valley because mud was plentiful and other building materials were not, most have washed away, collapsed, or been bulldozed. Despite the suitability of thick earth walls for moderating the harsh desert climate, adobe is vulnerable to moisture, extremes of heat and cold, and insect infestation. Our tour host will speak of the challenges of maintaining an adobe home and the delights of inhabiting it.
2:00 – 5:00 PM | Indian Canyons: Andreas Canyon National Register District ($60)
Since time immemorial, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has called the Palm Springs area home. Long ago, they built complex communities in the Palm, Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz and Chino canyons. With an abundant water supply, the plants, animals and Agua Caliente Indians thrived. They grew crops of melons, squash, beans and corn. They gathered plants and seeds for food, medicines and basket weaving. Today, remnants of the early Agua Caliente society such as rock art, house pits, foundations, irrigation ditches, dams, reservoirs, trails and food preparation areas still exist in the canyons.
Please join us for a mile long hike tour among the splendor of Andreas Canyon through the contrasting greens of the magnificent fan palms and more than 150 species of plants within a half-mile radius beckon the desert-weary traveler to this lush oasis. This scenic foot trail leads through the canyon passing groves of stately skirted palms, unusual rock formations and the perennial Andreas Creek. One can still see bedrock mortars and metates used centuries ago for preparing food. This tranquil setting is excellent for photography, bird-watching, or a picnic at one of the tables along the trail.
The California Preservation Conference will be held at the Hilton Palm Springs.
400 East Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Use this link or call and mention the California Preservation Conference when booking your room to receive a reduced rate.
Additional rooms are available at a reduced rate at Hotel Zoso, across the street from the Hilton Palm Springs. If the Hilton is full, use this link or call and mention the California Preservation Conference when booking your room.
As a Conference Sponsor you will have access to many opportunities to promote your products and services to preservation professionals from across California.
Firms can support as a Conference Sponsor or an Annual Sponsor. Conference Sponsors gain maximum exposure for the duration of the Conference advertising period. Annual Sponsors gain exposure and benefits throughout the year.
Advertisements and Exhibitors
With a focus on Southern California, the sessions in this track address the interrelated topics of hospitality, economic development, heritage tourism, and the economic benefits of historic preservation. Topics that will be presented include the rehabilitation of hotels, restaurants, and historic theaters; the benefits of identifying historic districts and developing design guidelines for them; and an examination of successful examples of architectural and heritage tourism.
Cultural Landscapes & Open Spaces
This track will explore cultural landscapes, focusing on examples throughout California. Because of the state’s relatively benign climate, there was ample opportunity for outdoor living, allowing architects and landscape architects the ability to collaborate, exploring ways to maximize a seamless indoor/outdoor experience. This was especially true in Palm Springs, which is widely known for its wealth of Mid-Century Modern architecture. However, until recently, comparatively little attention has been paid to these designed landscapes, and many fine examples have been lost. Through workshops and study tours, attendees will learn more about the unique challenges and threats to these cultural landscapes and open spaces, as well as ways to help preserve them.
Preservation Pathways: Safeguarding Our Past, Charting our Future
Great social and environmental change is on the horizon. Wildfires and rising seas threaten cherished landmarks. Shifting demographics pose questions on whose heritage are we trying to preserve. However daunting the future may seem, preservation professionals play a critical role in safeguarding cultural resources through dynamic times. Standing at the crossroads, we must navigate paths forward in the face of uncertainty. Climate change adaptation planning can increase the resiliency of historic resources. New ways of thinking about cultural heritage can inform value-based preservation decisions. And while loss is inevitable, traditional and new tools can ensure unique and special places are retained in the public memory. The time to act is now, and this track will provide both concepts and best practices to address the many future “What Ifs”.
Matériel Resource Intelligence: Conservation & Sustainability
Technologies new and old define what work can best be suited in a world of diminishing resources. We explore intelligent sustainable practices with case studies and examples. This tech track will address the thread of materiality that defines appropriate solutions throughout varied preservation and restoration projects. Sessions include the technologies behind best conservation practices, salvage and reuse strategies for finite resources ranging from stone to hardware, and building practice from adobe to modern.
Making Preservation Accessible & Inclusive
Preservation has traditionally excluded entire groups from participation and inclusion. These sessions will look at the latest practices and efforts that can help encourage broader and more diverse community engagement and inclusivity in the preservation process. It will look at sites and people that have not been traditionally well-represented in historic preservation, and it will look at the real tools and practices that professionals and advocates can turn to in order to make preservation both accessible and more inclusive.
Special Sessions: Modernism and More
This year has a roster of special sessions that focus on… modernism – of course! From a look at the use of plastics in space age architecture, to a discussion about determining significance for modern resources, to a look at iconic film sites that have been preserved – a wide variety of unique and engaging topics will be sure to whet your modernism appetite. Additional sessions will look at reconstructing lost historic neighborhoods, citywide surveys, design review, advanced CEQA discussions, and more.
While you're in Palm Springs
Yee Olde Band of Dingbats: Soft Story Nite
Wednesday, 05/08/2019, 9:30 p.m.
This free event will continue where the Opening Reception leaves off in Clark & Frey’s historic 1948 Palm Springs American Legion Post #519, just walking distance from the Hilton. Bring cash for the “cheapest drinks in town” with your fellow Dingbats, preservers, bookworms, history nerds, and bureaucrats at this Hystorical social gathering. Come to blow off some steam, gather ‘round the bar, tell stories and answer preservation trivia. Sponsored by Chattel Inc. and HABSPHOTO.com and hosted by boots on the ground oddballs Chris VerPlanck and Carrie Chasteen, who will throw out random questions and solicit members of the audience to share brief war stories that deal with the perils of preservation in a location that venerates such stories. Learn the secret Dingbat handshake as the “old guard” mixes with the “new guard;” commiserate with stories ranging from “When I was your age, the Secretary of the Interior didn’t even have Standards” to “This is how to use the measurement tool on an iPhone X to determine square footage.”
Wed, May 8 – Sat, May 11 | Varying times | $48
The Historic House Tour is the only tour that takes guests into the house. It is 90 minutes and costs $48 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online only. Tickets for May tours will be released on Monday, April 15th at 9 am Pacific Time and are likely to sell out within minutes. Due to high demand, tickets often sell out on the morning they are released. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, we recommend that you do so early on the day they are released.
Guests at the CPF Conference can enjoy an abbreviated visit to the historic home during the Opening Reception, where we will have exclusive access to the grounds. Note: no tickets to the Opening Reception will be sold on site – pre-registration is required.
Additional ways to visit Sunnylands:
- Preservation, Sustainability, and Reuse of the Sunnylands Cultural Landscape Mobile Workshop at the conference ($60)
- Birding On The Estate tours require advance ticket purchases ($35)
- The Open-Air Experience, when available, can be purchased at the Center ($21)
Hugh Kaptur: Organic Desert Architecture
The work of architect Hugh M. Kaptur (b. 1931) will be the subject of an exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center in Spring 2019.
Kaptur is a visionary designer who practiced in Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley area from the late 1950s through the early 2000s. With more than 200 built projects in the area—residential, commercial, and institutional—he played a significant role in the architectural development of Palm Springs.
Thu, May 9 | 6 – 10 PM | Free
Every Thursday evening, Downtown Palm Springs transforms into a diverse array of artists, artisans, entertainers, and purveyors of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, jewelry, snacks and sweets. Add all that to the great shops, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues located along World Famous Palm Canyon Drive – and the result is one of Southern California’s most popular weekly events: VillageFest!
Fri, May 10 & Sat, May 11 | 8 – 9:30 AM | Free
Wake up and take a 90 minute stroll into Palm Springs circa 1936. Just a block from the Hilton Hotel, you’ll meet William G. Kleindienst, Architect, Former Mayor & Palm Springs Historian for his signature (AND FREE) tour of The Plaza Shopping Center, now “La Plaza.” More than a shopping center, the walking tour delves into the inner workings of a unique concept that was the first of its kind in the country…shopping and living together with the automobile, truck deliveries, and a gasoline station and mechanics integrated into the purpose and function. An early movie theatre and an anchor store aside arcades of shops are served by drive-up parking and one of (if not) the first underground concrete parking structures in California. You’ll meander with historic architectural photos and documents in hand through charming bungalow courtyards and climb to the second floor Dance Hall, “apartments for single women” and bunker like servants/chauffeur’s quarters. La Plaza was designed for wealthy winter Snowbird, Mrs. Cornell (National Cash Register Company) by Dayton, Ohio architect, Harry Williams (Schenk & Williams) who came to the desert for the commission and remained for the rest of his life. Williams produced notable early buildings and two of Palm Springs most notable architects, his sons Roger Williams and acclaimed modernist E.Stewart Williams (Williams, Williams and Williams, Inc.).
This tour is free, but requires advanced registration. Attendees should arrive under the PLAZA THEATRE sign, in the courtyard in front of the Plaza theatre, near the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon. Guests should arrive 10 minutes prior to departure.
The California Preservation Foundation is pleased to announce the 2019 Call for Student Papers to be presented at the California Preservation Foundation’s annual conference, entitled, “Preservation Springs Eternal,” at the Hilton, Palm Springs from May 8 – 11, 2019.
Students can submit an abstract for presentation at the conference. Up to five students will be invited to present, and will receive complimentary conference registration as well as a scholarship of at least $500 to help offset their travel and hotel costs.
The California Preservation Foundation is accepting abstracts no later than Monday, February 25, 2019. Conference organizers are particularly interested in papers that allude to applied research methods and push the field of historic preservation in new directions, especially in terms of its engagement with diverse communities (in terms of race, class, gender, and age); strategies for grassroots advocacy; place-based interpretation; and means of addressing environmental sustainability and climate resiliency. We encourage submissions that consider preservation broadly to include public history, digital humanities, materials-based conservation methods, and various tools for documentation, planning, and preservation.
Header image © Gary Bembridge