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I would like people to know that I love historic houses and have restored and lived in 3 of them for about the past 40 years, that I was very involved in preservation in Berkeley, then Alameda, and now at the Cohen Bray House in Oakland, and that I love doing research and discovering new things. I am now retired, and moved to Santa Cruz
I have been a member of several preservation organizations, including BAHA, OHA, and the National Trust; and was board president of the Alameda Victorian Preservation Society (AVPS, now AAPS) in 1983 (on the board 1982-84), founding board vice president of the Alameda Main Street Project in 1983 and president of the board 1985-1986, and a board member of the VPCO (the Cohen Bray House) since 1997 and board president 1999-2020. I have researched and led walking tours in both residential and commercial districts in Alameda and given several lectures on historic residential architecture in Berkeley and Alameda and on Victorian designer/builder A.W. Pattiani, architect Joseph Cather Newsom, and turn-of-the-century photographer Edgar A. Cohen.
In my other life I have recently retired from studying air pollution and the effects of air pollution on health. I have done work on air pollution all over the U.S. and in Juarez, Mexico and Cairo, Egypt; this has given me many opportunities to visit historic houses! I have done work on air pollution in schools very near major freeways in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Retired treasurer and currently gardener and great-granddaughter of the original family.
Patty Reidenbach has a wonderful connection to the house and vast knowledge of the house and her relatives- the Gillilands' who lived in this house for 30 years and next door 1448 29th St. - in the carriage house that was converted into a home for her grandmother Marion Cohen Gilliland (second child of four raised at 1440)
She retired from being Treasurer, and served on the board from 1990- 2020 and is on the garden committee. She and her daughter Emma continues to add their expertise to our special events and teas.
Kirk has been our probono architect for the past 30 years. He won the City of Oakland Orchid Award, Cohen House Restoration, Oakland (1990). He wrote our Historic house Report in 1983 when he first met Emelita Cohen and has been a resource and friend to the house ever since.
KIRK E. PETERSON & ASSOCIATES (KPA) is an architectural design firm that has worked on a wide variety project types – commercial, mixed-use, multi-family, custom single-family, residential remodel, historic preservation, and ecclesiastical – for private, public and non-profit clients since its founding in 1981. KPA’s design work is characterized by a traditional style, which appreciates:
context – we employ recognizable vernacular and high-style historic forms and motifs extant in the urban fabric to create an original design that is a peer of its best neighbors
sustainablility – we explore and advocate for ways in which traditional building sensibilities can support environmental conservation
Mara is an unreformed grammar cop and she takes great delight in editing the website which has involved working closely with our wonderful president, Patty Donald.
Mara takes great pride in having graduated from UC Berkeley, which was also the alma mater of her parents and several of her siblings. She has blue blood, not red. This was followed by graduate work at the London School of Economics, followed by three years teaching anthropology and sociology at Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Then she worked for the California Department of Transportation for thirty years, specializing in the agency's compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. She got Caltrans to relocate a number of historic buildings including some that are now in Preservation Park of Oakland. She ended her career at Caltrans with being the environmental manager for the new bay bridge. It practically killed her but she has lived long enough to volunteer at the Cohen Bray House.
She lives in Berkeley (naturally) with her photographer husband Don of 47 years.
Advisory Committee Members
Former Executive Director, The Crucible, Co-founder, Hack the Hood, Ex-Yahoo, TECH OG
Sue has offered her help on our Advisory committee when she is done enjoying some time off from her retirement. With her help we will develop our workshops and network with professional crafts
to help become more sustainable.
International consultant in Building Conservation with a specialty on traditional construction in earthquake areas.
Visiting Professor and Keynote Speaker at international conferences.
Recent teaching was at the University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy Department of Engineering, PhD Program: 20 hour course on traditional construction in earthquake areas in 2008.
Keynote Addresses and invited lectures have been in Italy, Portugal and the Azores, Turkey and Turkish North Cyprus, Germany, England, Canada, India, Iran, Aghanistan, Pakistan and Singapore. In October, 2014, he presented a TEDx talk in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Videos of some of his recent lectures, including an ICOMOS talk in Beijing, China in 2012, and invited lectures at the World Bank in 2011, and the USGS in November 2008 are available on the web on YouTube, the World Bank website, and the USGS website. Links to these can be found on the home page at www.conservationtech.com.
Specialties: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice
Earthquake performance of traditional buildings of different types of construction with timber and masonry.
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