We meet a lot of people in our industry that are inspiring and creative beyond measure. But, it is a rarity when we are completely blown away by one’s passion for design and architecture. We would like to introduce you to Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield, co-founders of the interior design firm Woodson and Rummerfield’s House of Design. While running the award winning design firm, Ron and Jaime could not turn a blind eye to countless special projects being demolished time and time again. They decided to take action! And so was born Save Iconic Architecture! Keep scrolling to see their inspiration for the organization and how they have beat the odds for saving iconic buildings!
Jaime Rummerfield + Ron Woodson
Newberry Architecture: Your work in preservation for iconic architecture is captivating. Can you dive into what makes you passionate about saving iconic architecture?
Jaime: In design school, and in my travels still today, I cannot get enough history of architecture. I absolutely love how the stories of the past influence the future and bring so much meaning. Today, we live in a world of rapid demolition and disposable construction. We have witnessed far too many notable structures disappear and realized something more needs to be done to bring awareness and protect iconic architecture as art.
Ron: My passion for iconic architecture started from a very early age. My father was a noted jazz musician and he took me with him to various rehearsals and events. I got to experience and enjoy incredible homes owned by luminaries such as Doris Duke, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, and Eva Gabor to name a few. This passion has never waned, just flourished through the years.
Newberry Architecture: How do you manage a successful design firm and maintain devotion to SIA Projects?
Jaime: Our design office is over 15 years old. We are lucky enough to have amazing clients, incredible design projects and a great staff. With that support comes our A+D community that helps us charge the fight to Save Iconic Architecture with enthusiasm and education.
Ron: SIA was formed because Jaime and I witnessed all too often the destruction and demolition of so many noteworthy homes and structures here in Los Angeles. We’re appalled by the caulis nature at which people feel its OK to destroy these structures. It’s the same as animal poaching and we could no longer sit by and not give a voice to this plight. Because architecture is such a passion, the work I do for SIA is not really work. We managed to run both the design firm and SIA seamlessly with the help of our staff and now board members.
Newberry Architecture: How does your team find projects that may be considered iconic and how do you find out they are in danger of being demolished? What are the first steps in recognizing a project worth saving? What is the process in deeming a project historical?
Jaime: As Los Angeles interior designers, we are out in the field everyday with clients, meetings with realtors and architects, many legendary structures appear on our radar first hand. Sadly, many people don’t know what they have and the structures are usually not landmark protected. For us, saving an iconic structure starts with recognizing a notable architect. When we realize an estate is designed by someone legendary such as Paul Williams, John Elgin Woolf or Neutra the first thing we address is the importance of saving such a pedigree. Most people have no clue who those architects are and it is our job to educate.
Ron: Because of our passion for and keen knowledge of architectural history, we know what structures still exist and which ones have been demolished. We work with architectural historians, realtors and fellow preservationist to gain awareness about the status of various iconic structures. The first steps to identifying and deeming a structure historical would be who the architect was, who lived in the home or structure and what cultural relevance happened in the structure.
Newberry Architecture: What has been your favorite saved iconic project? And, what has been the most heartbreaking loss?
Jaime: My favorite saved iconic project is Silvertop by architect John Lautner and the most heartbreaking loss is Enchanted Hill by architect Wallace Neff.
Ron: I have a couple of favorites, one being the Bullock Wilshire department store here in Los Angeles and the other would be the Sheats-Goldstein House. One of the most heartbreaking losses was the Chasen’s estate by Paul Williams.
Newberry Architecture: How can your fans join the movement and help save iconic architecture?
Jaime: We are beyond grateful for the supporters of SIA. We ask when designers and clients are working on a project, to question the contractors and outside opinions about disposable construction especially to a great or notable property. Not everything old should be torn down. Adaptive reuse is heroic and inspiring. Become a SIA member and join us at our next event at an iconic location.
Ron: Fans that are interested in helping us save iconic architecture can become members at www.siaprojects.org and give money generously so we can keep this worthwhile and essential organization going.