This April marks the 10th Anniversary of Bernardo Wills Architects’ home in the historic Bissinger Building in Downtown Spokane. Bob Wills and Gary Bernardo’s vision transformed an abandoned warehouse building and brought new life to Jefferson Street. The Bissinger Building was built in 1910 as a warehouse and hide depot, named for Bissinger Fur & Hide Company. While honoring the original structure and reusing materials from the adjacent demolished building, BWA incorporated contemporary design elements and a modern workflow plan to create a pleasing work environment. From a forgotten structure to a bustling office, this project is close to our hearts and perfectly exemplifies our mission to make our community better.
The building was originally built in 1910 and was the home of Bissinger & Co., a hide, wool, fur, and leather company. Bissinger & Co. was headquartered in San Francisco with locations in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, The Dalles, Victoria, British Columbia, and Salt Lake City. The Bissinger Building in Spokane was called the “Spokane Hide & Fur Depot.” Bissinger & Co. handled two-thirds of all the hides and pelts produced in Oregon and Washington and shipped its products all over the world.
Bernardo Wills Architects made a strong commitment from the start of the project to respect and reuse the existing structure while transforming the space into a contemporary office building and meeting space. The design allowed over 90% of the existing warehouse building – walls, floors, and roof – to be maintained and reused. The majority of the demolition and construction waste was sent to local building material recyclers. The total amount of diverted waste exceeded 95%. The building received LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the Core & Shell and the Commercial Interiors.
Bernardo Wills Architects believes the Bissinger Building will stand as a model of sustainability for its extensive use of rehabilitation techniques, innovative design solutions, and state-of-the-art sustainable materials. The old, unoccupied, and abandoned buildings and grounds now house a beautiful office building and meeting venue with a tree-shaded parking lot for use by the design firm and their guests for at least another century to come.