No. 568 . 19 September 2012 

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Bookending the charming Friday Harbor waterfront, the Island Inn at 123 West is a high point of recent Northwest architecture. Photo: © Kevin Matthews/Artifice Images

Island Inn at Friday Harbor

by Kevin Matthews

The Island Inn at Friday Harbor has got it going on. With great bone structure, sleek proportions, and an au courant nerdy streak — wearing its hydrology on its sleeve — this nicely detailed project is a real model.

A model of Northwest Architecture, done just right.

The Island Inn on Washington's San Juan Island started life as 123 West, a LEED Silver-certified mixed-use commercial-residential redevelopment of a tight urban site with great harbor views.

Island Butterfly

The original program of seven commercial units and seven residential units on the 10,000 square-foot site was built in 2009, but the condominium units priced between $500,000 and $1.5 million failed to sell in the face of the Great Recession.

The fundamental project hung-on, however, metamorphosed from mixed-use complex to boutique hotel in 2011, and with another round of construction in 2012, has emerged as quite a lovely butterfly of sustainable island tourism.

Congratulations are due to first-time developer, artist and interior designer Misty Todd, and architect Donald K. Mackay, who did the original project while Mackay was part of the team at Seattle firm GGLO Architecture Landscape Architecture. Fish Mackay Architects, where he is now a principal, designed a four-room expansion of the hotel, to a total of 16 accommodations that range from 200 to 1400 square feet, completed in May 2012. Both phases were constructed by Wellman Zuck General Contractors.

Sited a short walk from the essential ferry and seaplane terminals, on a patch of hillside once used for fuel and oil storage, the 123 West project provides a suitably-dense while contextually-sensitive bookend to the very walkable core shoreline of Friday Harbor, Washington, the de-facto capital of the San Juan Islands with just over 2000 permanent residents.

The three stepping-stories of buildings are arranged as a pair of clustered cuboid blocks, with stepping lanes dividing them, hilltown style, providing access while distributing both daylight and beautiful views of the active harbor.   >>>


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