Gordon S. Bennett

Bennett, Gordon S.

(1916 – 1998)

Born May 26, 1916 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Gordon Stacey Bennett, received his architectural training at the Wentworth Institute in Boston. After graduating with a degree in structural engineering in 1938, he began his formal architectural education at the University of Oregon in 1939. While his studies were interrupted by the war, Bennett eventually graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon in 1946. That same year he received his Washington State architectural license.

Bennett gained practical experience by working with Victor Louis Wulff in Spokane, and Olympia architectural firm of Wohleb & Wohleb in Olympia during the summer months. Upon graduation, Bennett took a civil service job as an instructor at the engineering school at Geiger Field in Spokane where he served from April 1946 to June 1947. He subsequently rejoined the Wohleb firm where he remained, rising to the level of associate.

In 1961, he opened his own independent practice. Early projects include his own home on French Road in Olympia (1952), the folded plate roof Medical Arts Building (1961), the Price House (1961), and homes for Henry and John Berschauer (1961), all in Olympia.

In 1962, Bennett formed a lasting partnership in Olympia with fellow architect, Steve Johnson. Together, in the firm of Bennett and Johnson and Associates, they had a profound impact on the built environment in Olympia in the second half of the 20th century. The firm’s notable projects include L.P. Brown Elementary School (1965); Dick Lewis Pontiac – Cadillac Park Dealership (1965); the multi-story Capitol Center Building (1966); the Pooles’ House (1966); Washington Associations of Industries Building (1967); Washington State Employees Credit Union (1967); Olympia Federal Savings & Loan (1967, 1978); and Pioneer Elementary School (1969).

Later projects by the firm include an addition to St. Peters Hospital; a garage and shop at Evergreen State College (1971); and the Capitol High School (1976) which won a NW Lath & Plaster Bureau award. They also completed the Thurston County Courthouse (1977).

In 1964, Robert Slenes and Frank Smith joined the firm, which was renamed The BJSS Group in 1983. After several mergers, the firm became known as Ambia in 2004.

Bennett retired from the practice in 1994, and died in Issaquah at the age of 82 on December 15, 1998.

– Michael C Houser

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