Jeffrey Shorn & Chuck Kaminski
Lifetime Achievement Award
The highest award SOHO bestows during People In Preservation ceremonies. The Lifetime Achievement Award is not an annual affair. It is given only to exemplary preservationists after decades of service to the cause. This evening the honor is being shared by Charles Kaminski and Jeffery Shorn. These two architects have worked relentlessly on many fronts to preserve and protect San Diego's most significant historic resources since 1975, the year they moved to La Jolla.
From the outset, their laser-like focus has never veered from the world-renowned Salk Institute for Biological Studies and El Pueblo Ribera, an innovative collection of beach cottages designed in the early 1920s by Rudolph Schindler. They drew attention to the significance of these Modernist buildings when most preservationists favored Victorian and Spanish Revival buildings. Chuck and Jeffrey, who are now married, have invested years in research, tactical efforts and architectural design to preserve the Salk Institute and El Pueblo Ribera and to improve their protection through historic designation.
Jeffrey also got involved in El Pueblo Ribera as an impassioned architect. After his own unit in the compound was destroyed by fire, he designed one with great sensitivity to replace it. The new unit is a harmonious blend of the original architecture, materials and proportions with modern concrete and upgrades that make it more livable and durable. He received a People In Preservation Award and a preservation design award from San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine for this successful project.
Back in the 1980s, these long-time SOHO members began working to save and reopen the Balboa Theatre, built in 1924 and spared the wrecking ball when Horton Plaza shopping mall swallowed other historic buildings. It took more than 20 years, but by 2008 the landmark theater with great acoustics had been restored, its lights turned back on and audiences for performances and events once again filled the elegant house.
Sometimes these men go their separate ways to work on favorite projects or causes. Jeffery was an influential architecture professor and dean, who co-taught San Diego's first historic preservation courses at the NewSchool for Architecture. He was an influential member of the City of San Diego's Historical Resources Board for eight years. Jeffrey also served on the boards of the California Preservation Foundation and the La Jolla Historical Society.
Chuck is a self-described "civic activator and agitator" who is a leader of Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 and former president of Partners for Livable Places, both of which embrace historic preservation. When he represented Partners on the 1985 Centre City Plan, he worked to balance history, the environment, culture, and growth with developer interests. Chuck is also dedicated to preserving the history, culture and artifacts of the San Diego LGBTQ community. Recently, he was instrumental in advocating for and publicizing the significance of the Michels-Carey apartment, an early meeting place for gay men on El Cajon Boulevard, but the site's developer ignored him and other preservationists and illegally demolished the building.
Chuck and Jeffrey are the only San Diegans featured in a groundbreaking book published in 2004 by Will Fellows. Its title might have been written just for them—A Passion to Preserve - Gay Men as Keepers of Culture.
SOHO is honored to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeffrey Shorn and Charles Kaminski.
(Photos clockwise from top right) Award winners Jeffrey Shorn and Chuck Kaminski, Old Scripps Building (courtesy award winners), Balboa Theatre, Salk Institute, Belmont Park Roller Coaster, Michels-Carey House, one of the Schindler homes in El Pueblo Ribera. Photos by Sandé Lollis, except where noted otherwise
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