PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2007) – Asilomar Conference Grounds, home to the world’s largest collection of Julia Morgan-designed Arts & Crafts architecture, has completed a $1.2 million renovation to Morgan’s Grace H. Dodge Chapel Auditorium. A team of architectural, environmental and historic building specialists collaborated on the project, guided by original structural drawings borrowed from the engineering library at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect and designer of Hearst Castle, created Asilomar’s original 15 structures between 1913 and 1928. The 196-seat, Craftsman-style Grace H. Dodge Chapel Auditorium was completed in 1915 and, today, is a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inspired by the property’s rare ecological mix of sand dunes, beach, and forest, Morgan’s clean, classic buildings complement Asilomar’s striking scenic location.
A local architectural firm and general contractor were selected based on their expertise in historic properties. The contractor dedicated a team of up to 16 daily workers who pulled 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week, to meet the aggressive construction schedule.
The Chapel Auditorium renovations feature new fire-retardant cedar shingles and wooden door and window trim replicating the building’s original design. A faux finish on the vertical log siding reflects the 1915 appearance; interior and exterior lights were also replaced with period-specific fixtures. Honoring the architect’s attention to detail, builders installed new copper downspouts, bronze handrails and tiles adorned with Morgan’s own designs. In addition to seismic bracing of the roof, walls and foundation, an upgraded fire alarm system now protects the structure. Two restrooms were completely remodeled to comply with the latest ADA guidelines, and a new concealed lift provides stage access for wheelchairs.
The Grace H. Dodge Chapel Auditorium work is part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar historic renovation plan at Asilomar Conference Grounds. The $1.2 million project was funded by the Asilomar Facilities Improvement Account, as part of an ongoing cooperative effort between California State Parks and Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts.