May 2, 2017

From Preserving History to Surveying It: Two GPA architectural historians speak at this year's CPF Conference

From helping to preserve a piece of history that depicts diverse, and often marginalized, communities of Los Angeles to pounding the pavement during a precedent-setting initiative to document a city's vast historical resources, GPA Consulting's architectural historians play a vital role. At the California Preservation Foundation's 2017 Conference in Pasadena, GPA's Allison Lyons and Teresa Grimes will join two panels of distinguished architectural historians to discuss "Preserving Latino/a History in California" and "From SurveyLA to HistoricPlacesLA" in breakout sessions May 11 and May 12.


'Preserving Latino/a History'

Lyons, an associate architectural historian with GPA, will be part of the presentation, "Preserving Latino/a History in California," which provides an overview of Latino/a heritage programs that increase awareness of California's Latino/a history through preservation, Thursday, May 11, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lyons, who wrote the nomination to list the Great Wall of Los Angeles on the National Register of Historic Places, will discuss the half-mile-long mural that tells the story of Los Angeles through the people, representing diverse and often marginalized communities, and historic events that shaped the city of Los Angeles. The Great Wall of Los Angeles is a significant work associated with the Chicano/a mural movement of the 1970s. The Great Wall of Los Angeles represents a unique time and place that has become the subject of extensive scholarly research. Latinos in Twentieth Century California, a historic context prepared by GPA, provided the framework for the National Register nomination of the mural by identifying properties significant in Latino/a heritage under the themes of labor, economic justice, struggles for social and political inclusion, arts, politics, and media.


Allison Lyons is an associate architectural historian with GPA Consulting. She has a MSc. degree in historic preservation from Columbia University.


'From SurveyLA to HistoricPlacesLA'

The City of Los Angeles undertook the precedent-setting SurveyLA to document the city's historical resources that reflect its development from 1850 to 1980. Historians covered almost 500 square miles and looked at more than 880,000 parcels during a seven-year period to inventory the city's resources that included buildings, structures, and cultural landscapes.

A panel of architectural historians will discuss the challenges and successes of SurveyLA during the session "From SurveyLA to HistoricPlacesLA: A Case Study in Creating Historic Resources Inventories with Arches" on Friday, May 12, from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Session participants will learn the value of such an inventory, including how these inventories help cities manage their resources and use the information to inform future planning policies and decisions.

Grimes, a principal architectural historian with GPA, will join the panel as a speaker. GPA was one of three firms primarily responsible for conducting SurveyLA, a project managed by the Department of City Planning's Office of Historic Resources and partially funded by a $2.5-million grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Grimes' presentation will focus on the survey findings, which include a whirlwind summary of the 30,000 properties that were identified as eligible for landmark or historic district designation under national, state, and local programs.


Teresa Grimes is a principal architectural historian with GPA. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of historic preservation in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She has a master's degree in architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles.