By David Marshall
As SOHO's newest President I welcome the position with a mixture of excitement, anxiety, and pride. My two years as a SOHO Board Member have provided me with a strong sense of being involved in a vital and worthwhile cause. In the process, I've met many people who share my interest in preserving what makes San Diego so unique and special.
I've been an architect working in the preservation field in San Diego since 1990. I often work with developers, city agencies, engineers and designers who each have a stake in what happens to our older buildings. Some in the preservation field automatically assume that developers and city planners get their kicks by tearing down old buildings. Luckily, that's rarely the case. The men and women who work in the development field aren't eager to demolish historical resources, they just don't always realize that there are better alternatives available. These people need to be educated about appropriate ways of dealing with historic properties, like adaptive reuse, as well as the financial benefits of restoring historic structures, such as tax incentives.
I speak from experience. I'm an architect who had absolutely no background in historic preservation. Most students enter architecture school with the lofty ambition of being the next great designer like Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Gehry, reinventing architecture and creating buildings the world has never seen; history be damned! Universities perpetuate such myths and it isn't until architects reach the real world that they begin to understand the importance of context, heritage and the architect's role in history.
That's where SOHO comes in, educating the public, developers and government officials about preservation issues. SOHO has proven how successful cooperation can be with unprecedented agreements with the Padres and the Hotel Del Coronado. These 'win-win' agreements have become nationwide examples of what is possible when both sides get together for the good of the community.
There are many more challenges ahead. The Padres continue their sensitive restoration of the Western Metal Building as part of the downtown ballpark, yet La Jolla's Red Rest and Red Roost cottages are still decaying on the bluffs above the cove due to callous owners. There is apparent progress in protecting the old Police Headquarters, but there are few glimpses of hope in efforts to save the Hotel San Diego from the federal government's wrecking ball. No one ever said our mission was easy.
I'm looking forward to meeting many of you during my year as SOHO President. Luckily, Executive Director Bruce Coons and his staff do most of the heavy lifting, leaving me with enough time to work at a job that actually pays the bills. Please take a few minutes to read about your new board members in this issue. We are extremely proud to have such a distinguished volunteer Board of Directors to help SOHO with its preservation mission. As always, we have a lot of work to do.
MORE FROM THIS ISSUE
VIEW digital online version
Canfield-Wright House Rescued from Demolition!
Temple Beth Triumphant!
Coronado Railroad Designation to be Challenged
Executive Director Report
SOHO Files Suit to Protect Red Roost and Red Rest Cottages
Border Field State Park
Volunteer Profile, Sandé Lollis
Getting To Know Your San Diego
Historical Resources Board
Welcome New SOHO Board of Directors
Remember SOHO in Your Will
Latest on the Old Police Headquarters
The Whaley House Junior Docent Program
Dreaming of a White Christmas
Around the Whaley House
Strength in Numbers
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