Johnson, Steve D.

(1931 - 2005)

Born August 3, 1931 in Jamestown, New York, Steve D. Johnson received his formal architectural education from the University of Colorado. In 1957 he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering, followed by a second Bachelor’s degree in Architecture the next year.

Upon graduation, Johnson returned to New York and worked for a variety of architectural firms in Buffalo and New York City before moving to the Pacific Northwest in order to take a job at Boeing. Further experience was gained by working with Tacoma architect Robert B. Price, who at the time was busy designing several structures at the Seattle World’s Fair. In 1962, Johnson formed a lasting partnership in Olympia with fellow architect, G. Stacey Bennett.

Together the firm of Bennett & Johnson had a profound impact on the built environment in Olympia in the second half of the 20th century. Notable projects include L.P. Brown Elementary School (1965); the multi-story Capitol Center Building (1966); Washington Associations of Industries Building (1967); WA State Employees Credit Union (1967); Olympia Federal Savings & Loan (1967, 1978); Pioneer Elementary School (1969); and the Thurston County Courthouse (1977).

Johnson worked closely with Olympia developers Jim Dutton and Virgil Adams to develop the Holiday Hills neighborhood in Olympia and created a host of small shopping centers along the west coast with developer Mo Loveless.

In 1964, Robert Slenes and Frank Smith joined the firm. The firm was renamed “The BJSS Group” in 1983, and after several mergers is known today as Ambia. Johnson retired from the practice in 1995 and left Olympia in 1996. He passed away in Sunriver, Oregon at the age of 74 on December 20, 2005.

- Michael C. Houser

Olympia Federal Savings & Loan, Olympia (1967)<br>Photo courtesy of DAHP.
WA State Employees Credit Union, Olympia (1967)<br>Photo courtesy of DAHP.
Dick Lewis Pontiac Dealership, Olympia (1965)<br>Photo courtesy of Tacoma Public Library.