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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


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