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Meet David Marshall, AIA of Heritage Architecture & Planning in Gaslamp Quarter

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Marshall, AIA.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Since I was a kid, playing with blocks and Legos, I wanted to be an architect. I was lucky to have drafting classes at middle school and Mission Bay High that helped prepare me for my career. After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in 1990 I took a job with Wayne Donaldson’s firm in the Gaslamp Quarter and fell in love with restoring and preserving historic buildings. Now I’m co-owner of that same firm and we continue to work on important landmarks in San Diego and beyond.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Architecture is very susceptible to economic ups and downs, so surviving periods when building owners aren’t investing in their properties is a big challenge. Several local design firms shut their doors during the last recession. Because Heritage Architecture is one of the few firms that specializes in historic preservation we work on many types of buildings, which better insulates us from those economic downturns.

Heritage Architecture & Planning – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Heritage Architecture & Planning has been around since 1978 and we have always specialized in historic preservation and adaptive reuse. We take great pride in starting with an abandoned, forgotten, or mistreated building and restoring it back to something people can use and cherish. Preservation is not only what’s best for the culture of the city, it’s the most environmentally responsible approach as well. We refer to it as “building recycling.”

The projects we are proudest of are the restorations we’ve completed in Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter. Some of our most well-known projects include the Organ Pavilion lighting restoration, Horton Grand Hotel, Western Metal Supply building at Petco Park, and the old Police Headquarters near Seaport Village.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It’s always a great honor to work on buildings designed by masters like Irving Gill and Bertram Goodhue. We feel a special responsibility to keep their legacies alive through the work that we do.

Early in my career at Heritage Architecture I was tasked with overseeing the reconstruction of the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park. This was a six year effort to document the original 1915 building, which was built to be temporary, and then work with the city, engineers, and contractors to recreate the building in permanent materials while looking exactly as it did during the exposition. The building, which now houses the Visitors Center and Prado Restaurant, won over 20 awards and I was able to go to Savanna, Georgia to accept a National Trust for Historic Preservation award for the project in 1998. It’s hard to top that.

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Image Credit:

All pictures by Heritage Architecture & Planning except for the Organ Pavilion and House of Hospitality by Edward Gohlich Photography and the Hotel Churchill by Stephen Whalen Architectural Photography.

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