What is the Boise Architecture Project?

The Boise Architecture Project is "a student-directed new media project focused on architectural history and preservation in the Treasure Valley."  The primary part of the project can be found at  Here historians, preservationists, and interested citizens will find pictures, architectural descriptions, and building history for over 350 buildings in and around Boise.  One of the great parts of the Boise Architecture Project is the diversity of the buildings the students choose to research and report on; one can find buildings over 100 years old, and one can find buildings that are relatively new on this student programmed website.

Students do most of the work for the Boise Architecture Project!  Students take photos, conduct interviews, and write a research paper about the building they select for their addition to the project.  On the website, a short summary of the building's history and architectural style is accompanied by select photos.  Some auxiliary functions of the Boise Architecture Project include "conducting architecture walks, blogging, documentary film making, volunteering for local history related events, and working with local preservation organizations."  The Boise Architecture Project is becoming a rather inclusive organization and certainly serving the local community.

The Boise Architecture Project helps students learn about Boise history.  This project allows students to better understand and appreciate different architectural styles as well as their connection to history.   This project is a win-win for all the parties involved.  Students are able to learn beyond the classroom by studying architecture, acquiring historical knowledge of Boise, and meeting the greater Boise community. Students are able to learn important project skills including architectural photography, oral interview techniques, and digital project management through participating in the Boise Architecture Project.  In sum, the Boise Architecture Project is a proactive, student-based, local, digital, education project.

How did the Boise Architecture Project Start?

Local high school teacher, Doug StanWiens began the Boise Architecture Project in 2006.  StanWiens started the Boise Architecture Project as a Spring Project to fill the gap that follows the AP tests towards to end of the year.  StanWiens wanted to do something fun as well as meaningful with his Advanced Placement United States History students.  The first group of students researched and visited historically and architecturally significant buildings in Boise.  They then created PowerPoint Presentations to showcase what they had learned, and one of the students put the PowerPoint Presentation on a website.  The Boise Architecture Project started with ten students choosing buildings they saw as historically or architecturally significant, and it has transformed into an ongoing project with over 350 projects.

How did the Boise Architecture Project Grow?

The Boise Architecture Project started with ten students choosing buildings they saw as historically or architecturally significant, and it has transformed into an ongoing project with over 350 projects.  Over the past seven years, individuals throughout the community have asked StanWiens to add specific to the Boise Architecture Project.  This project has gained widespread public support.  The Boise Architecture Project was picked up by Preservation Idaho, something that is mutually beneficial for both organizations.  Preservation Idaho fulfills the project’s need for funding and the project fulfills Preservation Idaho's need for education and advocacy.

Where is the Boise Architecture Project Going?

The Boise Architecture Project recently received a grant from Boise 150.  This grant is allowing them to create fourteen documentary films explaining the building of Boise.  In these films, StanWiens, with the help of students of course, hopes to explain the architectural and historical significance of buildings throughout Boise.  StanWiens also hopes to put the buildings in Boise into a national context, thereby demonstrating how national culture can be illustrated and exemplified through national architecture.  The Boise Architecture Project is growing by leaps and bounds.

This information is accurate as of February 2013.  This information is based upon an oral interview between Doug StanWiens and Lucas Sprouse.