Lathrop House Relocation Underway!

Beginning on May 8, the historic 1860’s era Lathrop House in Redwood City, CA will be moved down the street to make room for a new County Office building.  Garavaglia Architecture, Inc., led the A/E team, and was instrumental in the plan to save and protect the Lathrop House from potential demolition, and to maintain it’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The building, being relocated intact and placed with the same orientation at the receiver site, similar to its current setting, where it received its NRHP listing. Our work included architectural drawings for the building’s rehabilitation and a site design. The relocated historic house will continue to be used as a house museum and will be integrated into the overall visitor experience at the San Mateo County County History Museum.

Because of the proposed juxtaposition of the historic Lathrop House adjacent to the historic San Mateo County Courthouse, GA, Inc. conducted an evaluation of the potential impact under CEQA Criteria Consideration B (moved properties) Evaluation, along with discussions with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), to confirm that there would not be any negative impact to the building’s NRHP listing. The proposed relocation and siting was deemed acceptable by SHPO and NPS. 

“GA, Inc’s planning and technical involvement supported the relocation of the Lathrop house while protecting its historic significance and its continued presence in an urban area that has changed greatly from its original setting.” –Mike Garavaglia, Principal

Viewing of the house move will be available for the general public and the media, from May 8 to May 12 and will be captured with time lapse photography.  More information about the project is available on the County of San Mateo’s website:]

GA receives 3 Awards at California Preservation Foundation Ceremony

Garavaglia Architecture, Inc. was honored to receive three awards from the California Preservation Foundation in 2015. The awards represent different facets of our multi-dimensional practice which provides services to private and public clients across the state.

Marconi Conference Center Historic Structure Report, Marshall, CA

Our firm commissioned by California State Parks to evaluate the former Marconi Hotel, originally constructed in 1913. The HSR presents the historical context for the site, analyzes the building’s historic integrity and conditions, and establishes parameters for reuse of the building. Special attention was paid to the Synanon era, which spanned the period that this fringe religious group was in residence at the site, and how that might represent an additional period of significance.

Marconi Conference Center Historic Resource Evaluation
Marconi Conference Center - photo by William Porter

Palo Alto Rinconada Library Renovation, Palo Alto, CA

Our firm served as materials conservation and historic preservation consultants for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Edward Durell Stone modernist building, constructed in 1958. Our primary consultation role was advising the design team on appropriate conservation and preservation treatments; and our Core Historic Structures Report helped to guide the rehabilitation process. Acting as an independent entity, we determined the proposed project’s level of impact on the historic integrity of the Palo Alto Main Library and surrounding landscape.

Bourn Mansion, San Francisco, CA

Our firm provided architectural preservation services during an initial consultation with the City of San Francisco for this stately brick residence, located at 2550 Webster Street in San Francisco. The building is registered as San Francisco City Landmark #38 and is historically referred to as the Bourn Mansion, as it was built by William Bourn in 1896. A new owner sought to rehabilitate and upgrade the structure while maintaining its historic fabric. Our early guidance helped to guide the process in preserving this Pacific Heights gem.

GA and Group 4 Architecture - photo by California Preservation Foundation

These prestigious awards are given every fall by the California Preservation Foundation, a non-profit group which provides statewide leadership, advocacy and education to ensure the protection of California’s diverse cultural heritage and historic places. Garavaglia staff attended the awards banquet held in the iconic Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building in downtown San Francisco for an elegant evening of celebration. Principal Michael Garavaglia was on hand to accept the awards for our firm.


Garavaglia Architecture Summer News

Lorenz Hotel Re-Opening

Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Lorenz. Photo Credit: Mike Luke

Our firm was honored to attend the re-opening ceremony for the Lorenz Senior Apartments in Redding, California on February 19, 2015. The Beaux Arts–style structure — originally a hotel built by Susan Lorenz, widow of gold-mining magnate Henry Lorenz — is an important part of Redding’s history and has served the community for over 100 years.  We began work in 2010 on the 1902 historic unreinforced masonry hotel project to create upgraded, affordable senior-housing units.

GA  prepared a successful National Register nomination for the hotel, as well as the multi-part federal tax credit application. The rehabilitation transformed 78 dated residential senior-housing units without kitchens into 60 studio and one-bedroom units with full kitchens. This work included completing seismic upgrades and updating all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for the building. The project’s complex mix of requirements included following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, maintaining strict funding source requirements, completing a Probable Maximum Loss analysis and a Capital Needs Assessment, and maintaining senior-resident occupancy while phasing construction.

Lorenz Senior Apartments Exterior Facade. Photo Credit: Mike Luke

2015 Palo Alto Preservation Awards

Garavaglia Architecture received two awards for our historic preservation work from Palo Alto Stanford Heritage on the Rinconada Library and the Forbes House, both located in Palo Alto, California. Principal Michael Garavaglia attended the ceremony at the ballroom of the Lucie Stern Community Center on May 10, 2015.

The Rinconada Library, constructed in 1958, was designed by modernist architect Edward Durell Stone. The iconic building underwent a 4,000 sf expansion as well as a new program room for the library, group study rooms, and new public restrooms. We advised the design team on appropriate conservation and preservation treatments and completed a core historic report that guided the rehabilitation process. The report included treatment recommendations for the steel sash windows, molded plastic light lens that comprised the luminous ceiling — a major architectural feature — and masonry brise soleil repair.

The Forbes House at 564 University Avenue is a colonial style house that served as a single family residence and a rooming house. The historic property had been partially deconstructed with the removal of most exterior finishes, details, windows and hardware. Our work provided recommendations to restore the building to its former condition using original materials, which resulted in a Category 2 on the Palo Alto Historic Building inventory.

California Preservation Foundation Conference

Principal Michael Garavaglia and Project Manager Ambrose Wong visited the 2015 California Preservation Conference in San Diego on April 29 – May 2, 2015. Held in San Diego at the Naval Training Center at Liberty Station, the conference is a networking hub for historic preservation professionals in the Golden State. Conference highlights included pre-conference workshops focused on the California Historical Building Code, plaster casts, and disaster planning, as well as tours of local landmarks and special events.

Mr. Wong attended breakout sessions at the conference to become a certified  Safety Assessor volunteer with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. If needed, he may be called upon to evaluate buildings in the aftermath of a disaster. Congratulations Ambrose!

Credit: Garavaglia Architecture