Witherspoon & Sons
Preserving a Local Landmark
The four-story Witherspoon and Sons building was constructed in the 1890s, at a time when many of Portland’s historical landmarks were being developed. Since then, it has seen a variety of uses and changes, reflecting the city's evolution over one hundred and twenty-five years. In 2014, LSW completed a major remodel of the building, transforming a site that was 2/3 vacant and in incredible disrepair into an inspiring, creative, and flexible workspace.
One of our main objectives was to preserve and enhance elements of the building’s original character, creating a textural contrast between past and present. We accomplished this by exposing the brick walls and wood-framed ceilings. Reclaimed wood plank flooring is used throughout the building, while natural daylighting is provided by frameless glass and open stud walls.
Custom casework provides storage and layout for the various tenants. The countertops for the casework islands were milled from wood joists that had been demolished when seismic modifications had been made to the first floor. Tile mosaics at the new entries greet visitors and encourage them to "Be Brave".
A new storefront façade responds to the era of the building, providing transparency to those on the street and a point of entry for the entire building.
Changes were made throughout the building to provide universal access to all areas. This included leveling out floors and restructuring the front third of the building, providing sidewalk access to the front door.
Most of the project budget was geared toward life safety improvements. As part of a seismic retrofit, huge footings and piers were installed around the perimeter to stabilize the unreinforced masonry building. Also included were extensive fire separations, a new fire sprinkler system, and a new exit stair for upper levels.
New electrical, lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems were installed to raise the overall level of comfort. Shower rooms on two levels coupled with bike storage facilities provide flexibility for users.