Churchill Corner – Approved New Construction


Churchill’s House, 1890

In 2005 one of Friday Harbor’s most celebrated landmarks was put up for sale and sold. Unfortunately the house sat across the property line of two very expensive harbor-view lots. The sale meant that the lovely 1890, two-story “L”-shaped Churchill House would have to be relocated or demolished. In 2006 the landmark was relocated a block and a half away on historic residential Argyle Avenue.

A Ticking Clock

Friday Harbor’s northern location and short summer construction season meant that work on the new development couldn’t wait long. The new owner and developer of the site was sensitive to the impact that moving the original house would have on the historic district, consequently he was motivated to work with the Town of Friday Harbor’s Historic Preservation Review Board and staff to find an alternative to demolition. At the eleventh hour, another property owner came forward to relocate the structure to a site within town limits and surrounded by other significant turn-of-the-century homes.

In early 2006 the house was moved and it seemed that all 2000 or so townresidents came out to see her home.

historic churchill house relocated friday harbor wa

Design Review

Wanting to take advantage of the Town’s valuable height and parking incentives, the developer and project architect participated in over six months of design review meetings with the Town of Friday Harbor’s historic preservation review board. Access to the incentives was predicated on complying with the Town’s historic district guidelines for new construction. The design review talks began immediately after the house was moved, with rehabilitation of the relocated historic house occurring simultaneously.

Churchill Corner,  2008

Churchill Corner Appropriate New ConstructionOne of the most important design and historic preservation aspects of the Churchill Corner Building is the deference to the pedestrian, demonstrated in the interior pedestrian street, providing access to commercial spaces from two levels, the zero lot lines, and the unobtrusive underground parking.

At just over 26,000 square feet, including parking garage, 8 commercial units, and 5 residential condos, the development is massive compared to other territorial-era historic commercial buildings in the district. However, the project design maintained  a human scale by utilizing facades laid out in manageable lengths, with recessed entries, varied materials, and abundant storefront windows. Pedestrians experience several complimentary buildings rather than one imposing monolithic structure.

The gabled roofs and yellow siding of the residences at the top pay tribute to the original Churchill House. Roof deck and flat roof areas feature a distinct, continuous cornice. The five residences on top of the two floors of commercial spaces reflect the historic tradition of apartments above storefronts in downtown areas.