The structure, initially a heavy timber replica of a six-beam Haida house (a traditional Haida Tribe building style), has stood tall since 1939. The edifice originally served as a Native American curio shop before its transformation into a restaurant space in 1945. Today, the Floisand Studio Architects team creatively repurposed the building for Seattle’s cherished pizza chain.
“For the structure itself, we carefully preserved the wood beams to maintain the original design and spirit of the building without erasing the history that stood before,” says Richard Floisand, cofounder of the locally based architecture firm. “Our team removed rotting elements, using the new building to wrap over half of the old. In the overlapping area, the roof is peeled back to create a double-height space and highlight the original beams.”
To further honor the site’s heritage, the firm also collaborated with Headwater People to painstakingly preserve original logs and carvings from Northwest Coast artist Jimmy John, among other projects. The exterior landscape now showcases native edible plants, with custom signage showcasing phonetic spelling in both the native Whulshootseed and English languages.
“With the help of Headwater People, we were able to learn more about the two interior watchmen carvings created by Nuu-chah-nulth tribal member Jimmy John and the existing Vancouver Island-style totem pole situated outside,” adds Floisand Studio Architects cofounder Allison Hogue. “Ultimately, we decided to remove the non-native totem pole from the property and relocate the carved watchmen to the restaurant’s new outdoor teaching garden. An educational history board provides context for the site and explains the respectful protocol for older totems, house posts, and carvings—once they live their life as intended they can return back to the ancestral world by being placed on the ground.”
Inside, the team carefully crafted custom-built furniture and handpicked finishes that demonstrate the finesse of artisan craftsmanship. To pay tribute to local Native American culture’s weaving tradition, woven window lights were also integrated into the interior design.