Effort to Save Ocean Beach Architecture of Nati’s Buildings at Historic Resources Board

by on June 26, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

There’s an effort going on right now to save the architecture of the buildings at Nati’s in Ocean Beach. Locals and activists of SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization) are attempting to change the opinion of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board at their upcoming June 28 meeting.

The Nati’s building is on the agenda.

Those involved in the effort say it would be very helpful to have letters sent in support of designation prior to the HRB meeting, but also to have in person testimony at the meeting on June 28. Please send letters/emails to Shannon Anthony at santhony@sandiego.gov).

This is probably an uphill battle, as according to their agenda, HRB staff have recommended against designating the property under any historic criteria. Here is the negative staff report.

The HRB meeting is June 28, 2018 at 1:00PM, in the Environmental Services Dept. Auditorium, at 9601 Ridgehaven Court, San Diego 92123.

SOHO Letter on Nati’s

Here is the pertinent part of SOHO’s letter to the Historical Resources Board, countering assertions by HRB staff that the building has not historic merit.

Item 6: 1852-1866 Bacon Street – Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) strongly asserts that the Mid Century Modern style shopping center at 1852-1866 Bacon Street is a significant historical resource under Criteria A and C.

Significant under Criterion A, this property reflects a special element of the economic, aesthetic, and architectural development for the Ocean Beach community. See proposed resolution.

Designed by Josias Joesler, who is understood by many as “An Architectural Eclectic,” he “was highly educated in both the technical and artistic realms of architecture which, when combined with his extensive travels, provided him with a palette of styles to accommodate the emotive needs of his patron and clientele. Joesler was not selective in his importation of architectural styles; he chose all styles, historic and contemporary.” For more info, see this.

Joesler stands apart as an architect for his education (architecture in Bern, engineering in Heidelburg, history and drawing in Sorbonne in Paris), his experience (in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and North Africa), and for his palette of styles.

After WWII, Josias moved his family to San Diego, where he designed and owned this shopping center in Ocean Beach. Built as a commercial income property, his wife, Natividad (Nati) first opened an import store during 1956, the same year Josias passed away, making 1852-66 Bacon Street one of his last executed designs and the only resource to associate with this great architect in San Diego. As the only known Joesler resource within the County, as well as one of his last designs, this is in important resource to illustrate who was investing into the Ocean Beach economy during the mid 1950s as well as the use of the Mid Century style and aesthetic at this time.

Further, it is significant that Josias is a nationally renowned architect with a number of properties on the National Register, that he choose to move his family here shortly before his death, and designed this shopping center in accordance with his ideal aesthetic (as opposed to the style preference of a patron).

As a two-part and long standing commercial shopping center at a prominent and busy corner, this building is directly linked to the economic engine of the Ocean Beach community since construction; clearly reflects the new Modern aesthetic in style, materials, and design—as well as later additions; and reflects the rare architectural development of an architect designed and built income property for his family upon retirement. Further, it retains all aspects of integrity– location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, and feeling.

Also significant under Criterion C, this resource retains integrity of style as well as the period and method of construction. This shopping center anticipated expansions prior to development, as the 1956 showroom addition is noted on the original plans designed by Joesler.

Further, the later changes (all within a decade) were to expand seating of the restaurant (which also relates to the economy of Ocean Beach under Criterion A) and were completed to be distinct yet compatible, which clearly shows the respect that was given to expand upon the original design and why Robert Fowble was chosen (see www.modernsandiego.com).

Last, the building retains various primary character defining features, which are the minimally pitched, shed-style roof with deep overhangs and the non-traditional (or economical) exterior finishes such as concrete block and vertical wood siding. Building A also exhibits large aluminum framed windows, introduced as part of the restaurant’s expansion, which are differentiated and compatible with the original construction. The building also composes secondary features including the angular massing and a horizontal orientation.

Further, the later additions are clearly additions and yet contextual with the original design, meeting the Secretary of the Interior Standards. These additions should be understood and evaluated as the successful expansion for a business that has operated continuously at this site since 1960. Again, the plans themselves anticipate some of these later additions.

SOHO strongly asserts that 1852-1866 Bacon Street is an intact historical resource that is significant under Criteria A and C, and worthy of historical designation.

It was signed by Amie Hayes, Historic Resources Specialist for Save Our Heritage Organisation.

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