Historical Resources Board hears input on two La Jolla properties

By Pat Sherman

The City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board (HRB) was presented with information about two potentially historic La Jolla properties during its March 28 meeting.

The board heard a report on a single-family residence in La Jolla Farms designed by master architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg in 1971, which was completed in 1978 by La Jolla homebuilder Peter Corrente.

The home’s current owner, La Jolla Town Council Trustee Ramin Pourteymour, is seeking to have the organic, free-form modern home at 9805 Blackgold Road listed as a historic resource.

The structure, known as both the Thomas and Margaret Turney House (for the couple that purchased the lot in 1970) and the Atoll residence (for its coral island- like shape), took eight years to complete, partly because the couple divorced shortly after the home was commissioned.

Kellogg, a licensed contractor and relative of Frederic Law Olmsted (considered the “father of landscape architecture”) studied at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Scottsdale. Like Wright, the 79-year-old architect’s buildings often follow the form of their natural setting.

Vonn Marie May of Encinitas-based Cultural Land Planning and Research, herself a former HRB member of 10 years, presented the request to the board.

Though the property is relatively new for a historic designation, May noted that the Salk Institute, completed in 1965, received a historic designation from the city in 1987.

The owner is requesting a historic designation based on the home’s distinct style of architecture and the significance of the architect (Kellogg’s work in San Diego and around the world has long been feted in the world of architecture).

“We’re lucky to have this guy,” said May of the East County architect. “It’s really important that his work is recognized.”

May said the HRB was reluctant to grant a designation based on the home’s age, and because the material used on its roof in ensuing years changed its color and texture.

The HRB granted the La Jolla Historical Society’s request for a 30-day continuance on the property. The society plans to file a letter of support for the designation before it is considered again at the HRB’s April 25 meeting.

Last chance for

WindanSea cottages

During the HRB’s public comment period, La Jolla Historical Society (LJHS) Preservation Committee Chair Leslie Davis read a letter contesting the planned demolition of adjoining 1930s cottages at 337 and 341 Playa del Sur in WindanSea.

In late 2010, HRB staff determined that the properties had suffered a “loss of integrity,” meaning a report found too many of the structures’ original features had been altered, including the replacement of 11 of 18 windows and most of the shingle siding. Also cited in the report was the “possible addition of a cobble veneer over the chimney.” The board approved the owner’s request to demolish the cottages and rebuild a duplex.

The LJHS is requesting further historical consideration of the property and a full HRB review.

The property was identified in a Historic Reconnaissance Survey Report prepared for the City of San Diego in 2002. The LJHS contends that any site identified in such a report is subject to a full review by the HRB, not just staff (which previously reviewed it).

Reading a prepared statement to the HRB board March 28, Davis said, in part, “it appears that the description of ‘loss of integrity’ is incorrectly applied in general to the entire property, when in fact the beach cottage facing the street ... retains significant original features, including windows, siding and a stone chimney.” She suggested the properties be considered separately.

Donna Blackmond, a chemistry professor with the Scripps Research Institute and a Playa del Sur resident, spoke on behalf of a group of Play del Sur residents concerned about the planned demolition of the cottages.

Blackmond, who moved to La Jolla from London three years ago, said she had read the HRB’s preliminary report on the property, and concurred with the LJHS’s findings.

“Even as a relative newcomer to La Jolla, I embrace the history of this community as it is revealed through its architecture, its people and its culture,” she said, noting that she owned two historic structures while living in Europe.

“America may have a younger past, but the richness of our past and our human need to embrace this history is no less compelling,” Blackmond said. “We cannot bring our history back once it has been destroyed.”