“A Place of Truths” Plaza

Protecting the Spokane River with Beauty and Utility

In support of the City of Spokane’s Integrated Clean Water Plan, the City hired Bernardo Wills Architects landscape architects to aid in the design of a public plaza atop the 2-million-gallon concrete underground CSO (combined sewer overflow) tank along the bluff of the Spokane River, adjacent to City Hall.

The location of the tank was selected by the City to accommodate an underground control facility for interceptor protection of Interceptor i04. Designers collaborated with engineers to ensure that the site could be accessed by technicians and heavy equipment for repairs and routine maintenance.

Bernardo Wills landscape architects collaborated on this project with a multidisciplinary team of artists, engineers, environmental permit specialists, and contractors. Public art depicting the Spokane Tribe’s Story of Creation and the life cycle of salmon was incorporated into the design, as well as water features depicting the story of the River and likeness of Spokane Falls. To integrate the project to the natural surroundings of the Spokane River Gorge, natural basalt, carved faux basalt, and native landscaping around the site furnishings. Additional design elements, including paving patterns, guardrails, site furnishings, site lighting design, and rich color and textures, create continuity with adjacent City projects including the Gathering Area Plaza.

A pedestrian trail is attached to the northside of the tank, providing connectivity to the future Gorge Loop Trail.

Additional components of the project include:

  • Multiple presentations to the Design Review Board
  • Civic engagement with open house events for public input
  • Creation of Virtual Reality Modeling and renderings for public presentations. View the VR presentation here: http://bit.ly/CSO-Plaza-2


  • People’s Choice Award – City of Spokane Mayor’s Urban Design Awards


  • Client: City of Spokane
  • Location: Spokane, Washington
  • Size: 1.94 acres, 84,658 s.f.
  • Completed: 2020

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