Friday Harbor taps island firm

BC&J Architects, a Bainbridge Island firm, has designed a new waterfront development in Friday Harbor after last year’s fire that destroyed Spring Street Landing. - Image courtesy of BC&J Architects
BC&J Architects, a Bainbridge Island firm, has designed a new waterfront development in Friday Harbor after last year’s fire that destroyed Spring Street Landing.
— image credit: Image courtesy of BC&J Architects

Shortly after the August 2013 fire that destroyed Spring Street Landing, the Port of Friday Harbor Board of Commissioners selected Peter Brachvogel and Stella Carosso, founders of Bainbridge Island firm BC&J Architects, to design a new waterfront development that welcomes visitors to San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor.

The Spring Street Landing building was home to Downriggers Restaurant and other water-oriented businesses. The site is near the Washington State Ferry terminal and adjoins a passenger ferry terminal serving summer travelers from Bellingham, Port Townsend and Seattle.

Working with BC&J Architects, the port board has selected a design that honors the town’s history while providing view corridors and plaza spaces for public enjoyment.

Brachvogel shared his enthusiasm for the project and a clear understanding of the importance of the job at hand.

“We are pleased to help knit back together the waterfront fabric that is so instrumental to the sense of place of Friday Harbor,” Brachvogel said.

As a focal point, the new building is reminiscent of the early town waterfront, when warehouses built on piers lined the edge of the bay. The first floor of the structure includes retail spaces facing a new waterfront walkway and concealed underground parking.

The second level, accessed from Front Street, includes a public plaza space with a restaurant and a separate retail building.

The Bainbridge firm has earned high praise from port officials for its work on the project.

“BC&J is helping us turn the tragedy of the fire into an opportunity to build a beautiful site for waterfront businesses that incorporates important public access and enjoyment,” said Marilyn O’Connor, executive director of the Port of Friday Harbor.

O’Connor noted the original Spring Street Landing had been used and enjoyed by islanders and visitors alike.

“Our commissioners look forward to returning the waterfront businesses to a new building and to getting those jobs back,” she said.

Company officials said BC&J Architects was proud to be selected to help bring life back to the Spring Street Landing site, and the firm has relied on its long history of success working with other ports and waterfront communities in Washington state. Notably, BC&J designed the lauded Sunset Magazine Idea Houses for the first-ever Sunset Magazine Idea Town in Seabrook; the Roche Harbor Village Master Plan; and the Orcas Village Store on Orcas Island.

Since BC&J was founded 25 years ago, the firm has specialized in responsible, engaging and sustainable residential and community based projects that range from single family homes to community neighborhood planning.

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