Boise

In 1965, Spokane architect Kenneth Brooks designed a suburban Boise campus for Idaho’s newest utility – Intermountain Gas Company. Designed to take advantage of the views from its vantage at the edge of Boise’s second bench, the sleek modernist design of the campus and its structures were executed in glazed brick and glass. Efforts and expense expended on interiors were equally impressive. The campus’s central roundhouse was designed to house a natural-gas-fired turbine to generate electricity and was ringed by a water-filled moat punctuated by gas-fueled flames. Brooks and his design were awarded a National Award of Merit by the American Institute of Architects – Idaho’s only building to achieve such a distinction.

Minor alterations to the campus over the course of fifty years and years of hard water deposits from the sprinkler system robbed the beautiful buildings of some of their luster. Methodical maintenance by the company punctuated occasionally by larger project such as the cleaning of the glazed brick has left the campus much as it was originally envisioned. Landscaping efforts in recent years have restored some of the intent of Lawrence Halprin. The care exhibited by Intermountain Gas and Facilities Manager Byron Defenbach will allow this campus to retain its role as a mecca of modernist taste in southwest Boise. Intermountain Gas well deserves this Orchid Award for Heritage Stewardship.