A new mixed-use complex proposed in Seattle aims to merge a 1921-built funeral home with new construction for a fresh approach to repurposing landmark buildings.

The Fremont Crossing along the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the southwest abutment of Fremont Bridge will include a new, four-story, 41,000-sq-ft mixed-use office building wrapping around the back of a 7,800-sq-ft redeveloped Bleitz Funeral Home, originally built in 1921. The layout creates a curved courtyard space between the two structures.

“It’s important that the historic Bleitz Funeral Home maintain its identity,” said Shannon Gaffney, co-founder of SkB Architects and co-designer on the project. “We want to showcase the simple elegance of the design, so we’ll be stripping away post-1921 additions that have eroded the building’s historic integrity. When complete, it will look very similar to how it looked originally.”

Design on the new building comes inspired by the maritime location and the light industrial area along the Ship Canal. Floor-to-ceiling windows infill each of the floors, allowing views of the Fremont Bridge, north end of Lake Union and Gas Works Park. A glazed prow, nicknamed “the treehouse,” gets encased in glass and reaches from the new building to the old building.

“It is an opportunity to visually define a courtyard,” said Kyle Garrney, co-founder of SkB Architects, “while avoiding the feel of a pass-through fissure. It’s a unifying move to connect old with new. A gesture of connection.”

In an area already popular with Google, Tableau and Adobe, Fremont Crossing expects to break ground under developer Warm Springs Investors by the end of 2018. Foushee will serve as the general contractor on the expected 12-month project. Site Workshop will serve as the landscape architect, while DCI Engineers (civil engineer), ENW Engineers Northwest (structural engineer) and Geotech Consultants all have roles on the project.

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb