Five Questions for
Kaitlin Drisko
The more we learn about Conservancy Co-Executive Director Kaitlin Drisko’s work in historic preservation, the more we want to know! The Conservancy is so fortunate to have someone with the depth and breadth of her experience sharing the helm.

Read on to find out more about her practice, philosophy and advice to the next generation of preservation architects.
Kaitlin Drisko
1. Was there a formative project that turned your career towards architectural preservation?
KD: My first project right out of architecture school was at the Scripps College campus, a site on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed in the 1920s by Edward Huntsman Trout and Gordon Kaufmann, I understood immediately that I had arrived at a place with a formative vision that was so powerful, its fundamental design character and Mediterranean spirit was intact after generations. This sprit included equally compelling, though stylistically different, buildings of the 1960's and 1970's such as those by the firms of Criley-MacDowell or John Carl Warneke working in a later modernist-vernacular styles. Importantly, the College and alumnae recognize this continuity of place as part of the Scripps experience.
That was it - I found my path! 

2. What is the design approach at Drisko Studio today?

KD: I like to think we connect people across time. Our design approach for both new and historic projects is to celebrate the richness of history and create unique environments that enhance human connections and provide memorable experiences. 

3. The Studio has participated in projects for the Ebell of Los Angeles, the Mission San Gabriel and Manzanar National Historic Site to name a few. There is also your personal volunteer work with places like the Schindler House and the Rubel Castle in Glendora. What would you say connects these diverse sites?
KD: All of our projects are envisioned by their owners or stewards as places of interesting, thoughtful and timeless continuation of use. 
4. We understand the Schindler House on Kings Road is turning 100 this year! Can you tell us a little bit about the building's specific needs?
KD: The house is very fragile. There is no exterior finish or cladding separate from the structure, so it is very vulnerable to weather. The house was also altered over time with interior changes, landscape changes, and some additions. Bob Sweeney and the Friends of the Schindler House, including Schindler's descendants, have worked for decades to reverse these changes - removing additive elements, stabilizing the exterior fireplaces, reversing the interior changes to the main living spaces, and completing the beautiful gardens to Schindler's original design. The next steps are to preserve the building structure for the future, so that RM Schindler's vision can continue to inspire generations of artists and architects. This includes betterment of seismic response and structural repairs, with the most immediate needs being new roofing and wood treatments to protect the house and prevent further deterioration.
5. What do you hope to pass on to the next generation of heritage architects working in Los Angeles?
KD: Heritage conservation is thought-provoking and challenging in ways I'd not anticipated as an architecture student. With training in science and engineering, I was somewhat prepared for the uncertainty of this process, but have learned it is by no means essential to the success and gratification of being an architect on heritage projects. Creativity, vision, and purpose drive all design projects and success is when people walk in and feel the inspiration and awe of the moment in that place at that time. To work together with amazing teams of people to create that moment is worth all of the hard work, every time.

Want to hear more from Kaitlin? She will discuss the Schindler House project in person with Peyton Hall this Saturday, June 25th during Friends of the Schinder House's Centennial Celebration. For more information, click here.

You can also hear Kaitlin and fellow Drisko Studio architect Bob Knight talk about repairs to the Mission San Gabriel after the devastating fire in 2020. Watch here.
Jill Biden at the Annenberg Community Beach House
First Lady hosts lunch at the Annenberg Community Beach House June 9 2022
Photo: Clara Harter, Santa Monica Daily Press
On Thursday, June 9th, First Lady Jill Biden hosted a lunch at the 
Annenberg Community Beach House! In town with the President for the 
Summit of the Americas, the First Lady welcomed spouses of attending 
dignitaries to the historic site. Conservancy docents provide guided tours of the Guest House and were honored to be invited in case guests wanted more information about the history or evolution of the site.

Annenberg docent and Conservancy Board Member Ruthann Lehrer shared the following firsthand account. 

Jill looked lovely; she was a very gracious hostess, and her guests were all beautifully dressed. The site was also filled with secret service, police, some military personnel and a huge host of staff people. 

The Guest House was transformed. All the usual furniture was removed with lovely new tables and chairs which I had not seen before. The table settings were elegant, and there were gorgeous flowers everywhere. Most of the time I was stationed in the Artists in Residence room, along with members of the Marine Band, who played outside and inside the Guest House at intervals. They were really good! The catering was formal with servers in black marching in processional formation in and out of the living room. 

It was an amazing event. Staff had to work really hard to pull this off, but were very pleased at how well it all went.
Bob Attiyeh
I became a member of the Conservancy because I enjoyed what they were doing in preserving the character of the older small buildings and residences that have the wonderful character and spirit of the early beach community days. It’s reassuring that history and the people affiliated with it are remembered. The Conservancy is good at pulling together people with shared values and facilitating their working together. This work adds value to the City and gives it a sense of community and spirit.
– Bob Attiyeh
Friend, your generosity sustains the Santa Monica Conservancy! Join, renew or become a monthly donor and receive the benefits of membership. Your gift helps protect historic places in Santa Monica and enables us to develop new and exciting programs for our community. Thank you!
Your Membership expiration: n/a
Back after a two year hiatus, Santa Monica's 4th of July parade will again be hosted by the Ocean Park Association. Come in your red, white and blue to celebrate the holiday and represent Santa Monica's historic preservation community. Children are welcome!

The Preservation Resource Center will be open for free drop-in visits during the parade festivities from about 10:30-12:30.

We will meet at Santa Monica Beach Parking Lot 5 before the parade begins to register and sign waivers, exact time tbd. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Barnard Way & Marine, turning onto Main Street headed North. The route will finish at the Civic Center.

Paid parking is available at the Civic Center and beach lots. 

Email [email protected] for additional details and to sign up.
Conservancy Tours & Events
Fri.-Sun., June 24-26, from 12-2 p.m.
415 Pacific Coast Highway
Enjoy a free tour led by Conservancy docents and learn about the rich history of the Marion Davies Guest House, which was built by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. The hottest spot on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast during the 1920s, guests included Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. The 20-minute tours are available on a walk-up basis. Learn more
Sat., June 25 at 10 a.m.
1436 2nd Street
Discover the architectural gems and rich history of Downtown Santa Monica on our highly-rated guided tour. From Art Deco to Victorian and Romanesque Revival, you’ll explore the various styles that fill the streets of our city. Tours are approx. 2 hours and cover 6 blocks. Free for members and $10 for the general public. Register
PRC Stephen Schafer shotgun house
Free In-person Tours:
Sat. & Sun., June 25 & 26
from 12-2 p.m.
2520 2nd Street
Come and visit the last intact shotgun house in Santa Monica! Discover the journey of this incredible little house, which was saved from demolition and moved–on wheels–three times before being adapted into our modern-day Center. Reservations are not required. Learn more
2022 Preservation Awards
Watch the presentation online
Learn about the careful stewardship of the Annenberg Community Beach House, the rehabilitation of a historic bungalow court, the incredible work of our Program Committee Co-Chairs, and more! Watch
Community News & Events
Santa Monica History Museum
Exhibit open through December 23
1350 7th Street
Today, Juneteenth celebrations take place across the country to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Americans after the Civil War. Among other things, the holiday is an important time to center African American histories. Here in Santa Monica, learn how residents built Broadway into a flourishing community of color – and how the Interstate 10 freeway destroyed it in the 1960s. Explore the advertisements, oral histories, photographs, and songs from the archival material collected by the Quinn Research Center. Visit
LGBTQ Historic Places in L.A.
Short Film
Pride Month commemorates the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City's West Village on June 28, 1969. The uprising helped launch the LGBTQ civil rights movement. The LA Conservancy has created a series of three short films that explore LGBTQ places and civil rights stories here in Los Angeles. Watch
Schindler @ 100
Schindler @ 100
Friends of the Schindler House
Events Sat. and Sun., June 24 & 25
The Friends of the Schindler House invite you to celebrate the building's Centennial with a host of events this weekend. On Saturday, June 25th the Conservancy's very own Kaitlin Drisko will talk about the restoration of the house with Peyton Hall.
We Thank Our Downtown Walking Tour Sponsor
Santa Monica Conservancy

Stay connected!