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Hotel Churchill

San Diego, CA

The Hotel Churchill is a restoration and renovation of a long-neglected historic hotel, originally built in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition. The building has been repurposed to provide 73 units of affordable housing and supportive services to veterans and at-risk youth.

The micro-units feature ample sunlight, board-formed concrete walls, and lofty-ceilings for a material richness and volume that belies their 231 sf average size. Seismic improvements included the replacement of an unreinforced masonry top floor addition with a steel-framed penthouse, and installation of viscous dampers – fluid-filled shock absorbers coupled with steel moment frames - to mitigate a “soft-story” condition at the ground level.

Restoration efforts focused on preserving original elements - such as the cast-concrete façade and sheet metal cornice and replacing missing elements – such as Juliet balconies, a marquee awning, and a neon blade sign– based on historic photos. Contemporary elements were detailed to be sympathetic-but-distinct from adjacent historic fabric. The new exterior stair tower is cloaked in a veil of corrugated glass panels that align with the Hotel’s cornicework. The new penthouse is clad in zinc - recalling French mansard penthouses in contemporary form - while angling back from the façade below to emphasize the historic roofline of the restored cornice. 

Merit Award from American Institute of Architects, San Diego
Orchid Award for Historic Preservation from San Diego Architectural Foundation  
Ruby Award Housing Project of the Year - Rehab from San Diego Housing Federation
Certificate of Merit in Retrofit/Alterations & People's Choice Awards from Structural Engineers Association of San Diego  
People in Preservation Award from The Save Our Heritage Organization

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