Historic Properties of Spokane

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Paulsen Building

Paulsen Building
The Paulsen Center
421 W. Riverside Avenue See Map
Dow & Hubbell and Gustav A. Pehrson

Paulsen Center is one of the most prominent features in the Spokane skyline. It consists of two buildings: the August Paulsen Building, designed by architects Dow and Hubbel and built in 1908-11, and the Paulsen Medical and Dental Building, designed by architect Gustav A. Pehson and built in 1928-29. It is architecturally significant because it used the newest form of all steel construction which allowed it to be the tallest building in Spokane up to that time. It illustrates the early formula for high-rise construction, which divided a building into three parts: a base, a shaft housing identical floors of offices, and an elaborate cornice crowning the composition. The style is generally associated with The Chicago School which signifies the skyscraper movement and the influence of Louis Sullivan. The Paulsen Medical and Dental Building was constructed next east and connects to the August Paulsen building. It was designed by Gustav Pehrson, one of Spokane’s great architects, and built in 1928-29, after Paulsen had died. Pehrson designed the fifteen story skyscraper in the Art Deco style with Spanish and Moorish styled exterior and interior detailing. Its stepped crown rises to a set-back penthouse that members of the Paulsen family have occupied since the building was erected; this distinctive feature has long been a Spokane landmark.

Nomination (PDF)