Chattel’s Wild Ride in Orange County

Orange you excited to learn about preservation? We were! Last week Chattel attended the 38th Annual California Preservation Conference in Orange County and took a wild ride through a land loaded with agricultural history, small town charm, and Modern masterpieces.

Highlights included a visit to the Crystal Cathedral campus, known as the “trinity of Modernism” for its buildings from three decades in the recent past: the Tower of Hope and Arboretum, designed by Richard Neutra in 1966 and 1962; the Crystal Cathedral sanctuary, designed by Philip Johnson in 1980, and the Welcoming Center designed by Richard Meier in 2003. The same tour brought us to discover such jewels of Modernism as the 1960s Eichler Tracts in the City of Orange and the 1970s master planned community of Woodbridge in Irvine. Finally, we walked the streets of downtown Santa Ana, learning about the area’s recent renaissance, work to maintain its unique historic architecture, and efforts to grow the Artist Village as a cultural centerpiece.

Robert Chattel led a tour of Casa Romantica in San Clemente, a Spanish Colonial Revival style building constructed in 1928 for town founder Ole Hanson. Robert described Chattel’s participation in a project to reuse Casa Romantica as a cultural facility, which was completed in 2004. Robert was also a panelist in a discussion on hot topics in preservation of modern resources, including strategies for successful rehabilitation and maintenance of building materials.

Finally, Justin Greving wrote and performed an original masterpiece poem, “Twas a Morning in Compton.” This groundbreaking bit of literary genius relayed the events leading up to successful replacement and rehabilitation of windows at Compton City Hall. It was delivered with unrivaled theatrical prowess during the conference’s annual Three Minute Success Stories event. Set to the tune of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the poem describes Chattel’s efforts to rush to get the project finished in time to meet a grant deadline.

The Crystal Cathedral Complex

Justin Greving and Shane Swerdlow toured an Eichler home in Orange

Kathryn McGee and Erika Trevis explored downtown Santa Ana
Marissa Moshier, Jenna Snow and Shannon Ferguson learned about the first Japanese settlement in Huntington Beach
Robert Chattel led a tour of Casa Romantica in San Clemente

Jenna Snow enjoyed a beautiful day in San Clemente

Margarita Wuellner, PCR Services Corporation, Antonio Aguilar, National Park Service, Adrian Fine, Los Angeles Conservancy, and Robert Chattel spoke on Modern resources

'Twas a morning in Compton - by Justin Greving
'Twas a morning in Compton, when all through the Hall
Employees were sweatin or needin’ a shawl
The solution was simple, the building quite old
Yet needed an upgrade, a planner was told

The windows were tinted but not the right way
They trapped heat, or lost heat, from day to day
And so the idea they all could agree
A grant from the Department of Energy!

Funding was found without much clatter
Compton thought there was no matter
But SHPO appeared with a boom and a flash
Sacramento declared, “Do not touch one sash!”

The building, while tired and needing some care
May be historic with late Modern flair
Was designed by a Williams, but Harold not Paul
I know what you’re thinking, no relation at all!

I’ve seen halls, said the planner, that can be historic
Their entrances golden, their columns are Doric
Pasadena, and San Francisco, they ring cross the state
We’re old and we’re grand, you mustn’t abate!

A consultant was hired to write a report
‘Tis special this building, do not distort!
Did planner consultant contractor convene
Searching window replacements that would be unseen

A double glass unit they tried to install
But it ruined the look of the glass curtain wall
We’ve coated and fritted, said a glass vendor gushing
But wait here’s a type, since I know you are rushing

From federal to SHPO we all could agree
New glazing in old frames with low coated E
And so it arrived after quite some suspense
Sacramento’s signed statement of concurrence

The planner exclaimed, “Oh we all must make haste!”
“The work must be done or the money we’ll waste!”
With two months to finish, the deadline was near
“Window replacements must be done by New Year!”

The contractor hurried to gather a crew
And sped to the Hall with the new glazing goo
From top floor to ground floor out old windows flew
As they installed new glazing without much ado

So what can be learned from this three-minute story?
You can update a resource and maintain its glory!
Lovers of Modern, your glasses are clinking
Preservation for all, and to all let’s keep drinking!