Architecture Professor Luis Hoyos has been appointed to the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation by President Barack Obama.
The council promotes the preservation, enhancement and sustainable use of the nation’s historic resources and advises the president and Congress on national historic preservation policy.
Hoyos is an architect, urban designer and preservationist and the founder of Luis Hoyos Architectural Inc. His designs for adapted historic structures such as Point Fermin Lighthouse, the Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse and El Pueblo de Los Angeles buildings and plaza have won professional recognition.
“Early in my career working as an architect,” says Hoyos, “I was lucky to get projects that involved small public buildings. That led to my work with the Los Angeles Conservancy and to my advocacy.”
The Point Fermin project involved one of the first lighthouses in Southern California, which needed to be transformed from a residence to a functional museum.
Hoyos’ work on El Pueblo de Los Angeles historic district involved a structural retrofit for the preservation of seven buildings from the 1870s, the reopening of two streets and planting of new trees.
At Cal Poly Pomona, Hoyos teaches classes and studio sessions involving historic resources, buildings and landscapes in Los Angeles.
“Our design studios usually involve real case studies, talking with community groups and local government, so that students learn about the actual dynamics unfolding in the press and the real political decision-making,” Hoyos says.
One recent studio involved a retail project on the site of an old metal frame building that had been built as a camera factory in 1929. As the property evolved and was adapted over the years, it became one of the first gay clubs in West Hollywood. The students evaluated the value of development versus the value of historic preservation, and had to try to reconcile the two.
“The students were free to consider preserving the gay club or demolishing it, but they had to give reasons,” Hoyos says.
Asked for his favorite preservation project in Los Angeles, Hoyos cites El Pueblo. “They would quickly understand that the founding of Los Angeles was done by a very diverse group of people. Eleven multiracial families founded Los Angeles. We were diverse from the beginning.
“What you find in preservation on a national scale is much more attention to diversity and diverse communities,” says Hoyos. “For a long time, issues of diversity and preservation were not really well-acknowledged. It took real policy changes to cause people to start looking at African American resources, women’s histories, LGBT histories and, for my own neck of the woods, Latino history, which is so important in California.
“The overall tendency is to try to tell all of the stories, not just the prevailing story. What you will find is history is being reassessed every day. More people are willing to look at a more diverse interpretation of history. I hope this is a longtime tendency.”
Hoyos is an advisor and member of the Board of Trustees for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and national co-chair of the National Park Service’s American Latino Scholars Expert Panel. He is a former commissioner on the State Historic Resources Commission, where he served as chair for two years, and a former Board member of the Los Angeles Conservancy.
A graduate of the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico, Hoyos earned a master’s in architecture from Harvard University.