Things You Should Know

DMV Closes

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in Santa Monica, at Cloverfield and Colorado, will close for renovations today, May 1, for nine weeka. It  will reopen on July 6.

In the interim, some transactions can be handled by mail or via the DMV website (www.dmv.ca.gov).

The closest DMV office is in Culver City, at 11400 West Washington Boulevard.

Daybreak Designs Sale

Daybreak Designs, which was created in 1999 as an extension of Daybreak Shelter, will hold its annual spring sale of arts and crafts on Friday, May 8, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ocean Park Community Center’s Cloverfield Services Center, 1751 Cloverfield, at Michigan.

Hand-painted greeting cards, jewelry, afghans, gifts for mothers and grandmothers and baby presents are among the handmade  items that will be featured in the sale.

Robey’s Garden

An exhibition of new works by one of Los Angeles’s most distinguished sculptors, Joan Robey, opens Saturday, May 16, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lois Lambert Gallery in Bergamot Station.

According to Robey, the exhibit, “Natural Ingredients,” consists of garden sculptures from reclaimed materials.”

Conservancy To Give Beach Party

The Santa Monica Conservancy is giving a party on Saturday, May 9, complete with live jazz, dessert and champagne, at the City’s new Annenberg Beach House.

Largely underwritten by an Annenberg Foundation grant, the Beach House opened last weekend.

Located at 415 Pacific Coast Highway, it combines the last surviving elements  of the historic Marion Davies estate — a guest house and a swimming pool, both of which have been scrupulously restored — with several new modern  buildings.

Commissioned by newspaper mogul  William Randolph Hearst and  designed by Julia Morgan, the elaborate estate was built on the site
In 1929 for Davies, Hearst’s longtime  mistress and a popular film star.
She sold the property to the state in 1947. Managed by the City, it was occupied initially by a hotel, and then, fot several decades,  by Doug Badt’s Sand and Sea Beach Club, until the City abruptly canceled the club’s lease in 1990.

Four years later, following the Northridge earthquake, the City red-tagged it, and shut it down. By the time work began on the Beach House,  it had been closed for more than a decade, and everything that remained in the site but the Davies pool and guest house was demolished.

The new buildings were designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners.

“The new Beach House is a showcase for how preservation and adaptive reuse can benefit the community,” said Conservancy president Carol Lemlein. “In addition, the Conservancy has created an informative guided tour program and has trained 75 volunteer docents who will lead tours of the Beach House.”

Free one-hour tours will be offered both on weekends and weekdays during this spring and summer with reduced hours in the fall and winter.

Tickets for the event are available at www.smconservancy.org. Admission to this kick-off party is $60 for the general public and $50 for members of the Conservancy. Parking is $8. Sponsors include Spectra and Preservation Arts.

To reserve for the Beach House party or find out more about docent-led tours, contact the Santa Monica Conservancy at (310) 496-3146 or visit www.smconservancy.org.

Whither the Moral

By Ava Tramer

Beaches
Mostly sunny
Highs: 63-74; Lows: 51-59

Inland
Partly cloudy
Highs: 71-82; Lows: 47-52

Deserts
Hot and sunny
Highs: 85-96; Lows: 58-66

And Santa Monica…
Well here’s a lesson for you folks.  The people in the East had a winter that was frosty and snowy, and their spring was gray, rainy, and cool.  They sat around bemoaning what they saw as the less than ideal weather.  Rather than appreciating the beauty of a waltzing snowflake and the delicate drumming of a springtime shower, they cursed their luck and begged for warmer, clearer weather.  Well look where they are now!  Highs in the uncomfortably hot 80s and 90s!  They begged and pleaded for something better without appreciating the changing season they already had, and look where it got them.  So the moral is, Santa Monicans, appreciate your weather, whatever it may be.  You’ve got it good, and I hope you realize it!

Annenberg Beach House Opens Today

According to the City, it’ll be a “a day of discovery and a day of celebration”  when the $29 million Annenberg Beach House at 415 Pacific Coast Highway opens later today.

The Beach House, which was largely underwritten by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, is the third and leanest iteration of the original, the Marion Davies estate. The largest and grandest estate on the California Coast, it was built by publishing mogul, William Randolph Hearst, for Davies, a talented and popular Hollywood star as well as his mistress.

Its main house had 118 rooms and 58 bathrooms. There were also three guest houses, two swimming pools, tennis courts, kennels and garages, Designed by America’s first prominent woman architect, Julia Morgan, it was built in 1929, and, for the next decade, it was the social center of the large Hollywood colony in Santa Monica.

Davies stopped making movies in 1937  and, in 1947, she sold the property to the State, which leased it to the City of Santa Monica, which, in turn, leased it to a hotel, Ocean House, whose owner,  inexplicably, demolished the 118-room   main house.

The hotel was followed by Doug Badt’s Sand and Sea Club. Badt added cabanas and dressing rooms for club members.

Wallis Annenberg. on making the grant, cited her fond memories of the Sand and Sea, the opportunity to finally chronicle the Hollywood-Santa Monica connection, and the creation of a public beach club as the primary bases for her interest in the project.

In the late 1980s, restaurateur Michael McCarty proposed replacing the Sad and Sea Club with a new “luxury hotel.”  The City loved the idea. Residents didn’t, and put a measure on the ballot that would ban any new hotels on the beach. A noisy, rancorous battle ensued, with residents prevailing over City Hall and
McCarty.

In a fit of pique, the City immediately canceled Badt’s lease, and took control of the property, but had no idea what to do with it. Its principal role was serving as a location for the TV series, “Beverly Hills 90212.”

Following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the City red-tagged the property and wrapped it in chainlink   fencing, And, in the decade that followed, the proudest, most glamorous spot on the coast was reduced to a wreck of a place, the  victim of time and neglect, the saddest sight on the coast.

By the time the resurrection got underway, most of the remaining buildings had been demolished. Only one of Davies’ guest houses and one swimming pool remain.  They have been retired and supplemented by new buildings.

Today’s beach party will feature some sort of ribbon-cutting with Annenberg  and City officials, a community picnic, volleyball games, yoga classes, a variety of performances and kite flying.

According to the City, “Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike or shuttle to the opening as no onsite parking will be available.  Free shuttle service will be available throughout the day from the Santa Monica Civic Center (4th  Street & Olympic Drive, just off the 10 freeway).”

A mega-traffic jam is inevitable.

Beginning tomorrow, April 26, the Beach House will be open daily and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to sunset.

Step Up Steps Up to 5th

Santa Monica architectural firm   Pugh + Scarpa has just completed a new 46-unit permanent housing complex with rehabilitation and support services for  homeless people and the mentally disabled.

Step Up on 5th incorporates energy efficient measures that exceed standard practice, optimize building performance, and ensure reduced energy use during all phases of construction and occupancy. The planning and design of Step Up on 5th included locating and orienting the building to control solar cooling loads, shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds, shaping the building to induce buoyancy for natural ventilation, designing windows to maximize day lighting; shading south facing windows and minimizing west-facing glazing,  designing windows to maximize natural ventilation; shaping and planning the interior to enhance daylight and natural air flow distribution. These passive steps have made the building 50% more efficient than a conventional structure.

Step Up also incorporates numerous sustainable features that exceed state mandated Title 24 energy measures by more than 30%.

Pugh + Scarpa is an architecture, engineering, planning and interior design firm with offices in Santa Monica and Charlotte, North Carolina.