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Male, US, born 1852-04-24, died 1914-07-05

Associated with the firms network

Pissis and Moore, Architects; Pissis, Albert, Architect

Professional History


Draftsman, William Mooser, Sr., Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1872. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1872, p. 531.)

Pissis probably worked for another architect upon his return to San Francisco, as he was not listed as an independent practitioner in the San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1878,(p. 908).

Principal, Albert Pissis, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1879-1914. Pissis rented office space at 302 Montgomery Street in San Francisco in 1879 and 1880. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1879, p. 936.) In 1883, Pissis operated an office at 217 Sansome Street in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1883, p. 1106.)

By about 1880, he had gained commissions for houses, warehouses and inexpensive commercial buildings. After 1892, he began to attract larger commissions, following the success of his imaginative, Beaux-Arts Classical Hibernia Bank Building, San Francisco, CA, (1892). His design for the Emporium Department Store(1896) was also a notable, large-scale commission and reaffirmed his lofty professional reputation in the city. In 1903, Pissis operated his firm at 307 Sansome Street in San Francisco.

The Pissis Office continued to be busy during the rebuilding process following the Great Earthquake of 04/18/1906.

In 1911, Pissis leased space in San Francisco's Flood Building in San Francisco. According to the San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1914, (p. 2016), Pissis was still working in his Flood Building office, the year of his death.

Professional Activities

Pissis was made a member of the San Francisco Chapter of Architects at its meeting in 05/1882. The California Architect and Building News stated in its issue of 06/1882: "Mr. Albert Pissis, having been duly proposed at a prior meeting, was elected a member of the chapter." (See "San Francisco Chapter of Architects," California Architect and Building News, vol. III, no. 6, 06/1882, p. 79.)

President, American Institute of Architects (AIA), San Francisco Chapter, 1907-1908 (elected 02/1907).



Dipl., Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1872-1876. He studied in the Atelier Guadet.



Born in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, Pissis came to San Francisco, CA, as a child of six in 1858. The family arrived by at least 04/1858, because one Pissis child, Mary, was born in the city on 04/09/1858. Albert spent most of his youth in San Francisco, and graduated from local secondary schools. In 1865, his father, Joseph Pissis, worked as a physician and had a home at 316 Sutter Street. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1865, p. 359.) An Internal Revenue Service document of 1863 indicated that Joseph had an ad valorem duty valuation of $2,233.82 and paid $67.02 for the year, a significant sum, compared with many of the other residents on the list. An ad valorem tax was paid on real estate or personal property. (See, Source Information: U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008, accessed 03/31/2020.)

Albert continued to live with his parents in San Francisco, CA, in 1870, according to the US Census of that year. This document also indicated that his family had some wealth, recording that J.E. Pissis had an estate valued at $4,000. They lived in a part of the city were neighbors had very expensive houses. Nearby, the retired merchant, Leopold Kahn, had a house worth $50,000. Another neighbor had a house listed as being worth $15,000. The Pissis House, if the entry was accurate, was valued at $30,000. These figures were far higher than the average San Francisco dwelling of the day.The Pissis Household in 1870 also included Manuela Cabiedes (born c. 1840 in Mexico), who may have been a family servant.

By 1872, Albert worked as a draftsman for the firm of William Sebastien Mooser (1834-1896), a Swiss architect, born in Geneva, who came to San Francisco in mid-1854. He probably gained professional work experience with Mooser, c. 1870-1872, before leaving San Francisco for his academic architectural training.

Joseph-Étienne had been born in France, and would have known of the great reputation that the École des Beaux-Arts , the primary French architectural school, had around the world. Albert had the distinction of being the first San Franciscan to attend the prestigious École in Paris between 1872-1877. He was also one of the first American students to attend the French academy.

Pissis returned to San Francisco in either late 1877 or early 1878. (His name was not listed in the San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1877.)He again took up residence with his parents and siblings in a house at 825 Mission Street. He lived at 825 Market between at least 1878 and 1880, the year of his his father's death. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1880, p. 735.)

Pissis passed away the day after July 4th, 1914 at the age of 62, and was buried in the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA.


Pissis's father was a French physician, Dr. Joseph-Étienne Pissis, (aka Jose Étienne Pissis, born 08/10/1808 in Brioude, Département de la Haute-Loire, Auvergne, France -d. 11/12/1880 in San Francisco, CA), who immigrated first to Mexico and then, in 1858, to San Francisco, CA. While previous city directories recorded that Joseph-tienne was a physician, the San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1872, (p. 531) indicated that J.E. worked in the real estate business. The San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1880,(p. 735), again listed him as a physician, having his office and residence at 825 Mission Street.

His mother was Juana Bazozabel de Bustamente Pissis (born 07/04/1824 in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico-d. 02/19/1893 in San Francisco, CA), who went by the name "Jane" in San Francisco. She ran the household that included five children: Albert, the eldest, Emile M. Pissis, (born 03/10/1854 in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico-d. 06/09/1934 in San Francisco, CA), Margaret J. Pissis Gallois, (born 03/17/1856 in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico-d. 08/08/1940 in San Francisco, CA), Mary I. Pissis, (born 04/09/1858 in San Francisco, CA-d. 08/22/1898 in San Francisco, CA), and Eugene D. Pissis, (born 1861 in CA-d. 06/19/1916 in San Francisco, CA).

Emile worked as a clerk with A.E. Sabatie and Company in 1872. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1872, p. 531) In 1880, Franco-American families continued to assist one another in CA, their companies providing employment to the children of French immigrants.Albert’s brother, Eugene continued to work as a clerk with A.E. Sabatie and Company, and his brother, Emile ,had employment as a bookkeeper for Pascal, Dubedat and Company.(See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1880, p. 735.)


He was married to Georgia Stein Pissis (born 05/21/1873 in San Francisco, CA-died 1930 in Baltimore, MD). After his death, she chose to travel to Europe in 12/1921 to Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain. (See, Source Citation, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications: Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, 1914-1925; Box #: 4165; Volume #: Volume 05: Special Series-San Francisco, accessed 07/14/2016.) She traveled to Europe again in 1923, 1926 and 1930.

She, like her husband, was buried in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park.

Biographical Notes

Pissis and his wife traveled to Europe in 1910.

Associated Locations

PCAD id: 696

"The Pacific Union Club Competition", Architect and Engineer of California, 13: 2, 35-43, 06/1908. Mitchell, W. Garden, "In Memoiram--Albert Pissis", Architect and Engineer of California, XXXVIII: 1, 46, 1914-08. "Albert Pissis to plan Mechanics Library", Architect and Engineer of California, 76, 07/1908. "First Electric Street Lighting on the West Coast", Architect and Engineer of California, 58, 01/1908. "Obituary Albert Pissis", Architect and Engineer of California, 94-95, 1914-07. "The Work of Albert Pissis, Architect", Architect and Engineer of California, 34-69, 1909-07. "Mechanics Institute Library, San Francisco, CA", Architectural Record, 18, 01/1912. "Site being cleared for Wilcox Block", Builder and Contractor, 1, col 2, 05/29/1895. "Plans for Panorama Building, San Francisco", California Architect and Building News, 213, 216-217, 12/1884. "Will spend summer in our midst", Capital, 5, 06/08/1896. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California, 71, 1985. Brass, Florence, History of the Wilcox Building, nd. "Illustrations of Wilcox Block, Los Angeles", Land of Sunshine, 55, 12/1896. Robinson, William Wilcox, Lawyers of Los Angeles, 108, 1959. "California Club in Wilcox Block", Los Angeles Daily Journal, 8, 02/20/1896. Hume, M., Los Angeles, Architecturally, 1902, np, 1902. "The New Panorama Building, Corner 10th and Market Streets, San Francisco", Pacific Rural Press, 210, 09/10/1887. Pictorial American Greater Los Angeles, Illustrated; the Most Progressive Metropolis of the Twentieth Century, 53, 1906. Delahanty, Randolph, Preserving the West, 60-61, 1985. "Anglo and London Paris National Bank, San Francisco, California", Western Architect, 17: 2, np, 2/1911. "Wilcox Block, Los Angeles", Western Graphic, 24, 03/04/1899.