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WATER’S EDGE: Redefining Water in Urban Boise


KATHERINE J. WOOD VARELA Spring 2012 Thesis Project August 2011 - Spring 2012 Idaho Urban Design and Research Center College of Art and Architecture University of Idaho


This project was completed with the knowledge shared by many professionals, professors, and collegues throughout my experiences in architecture. Without their support and the support of family and friends, this project would not have come to fruition. Thank you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS KEYWORDS: controlled urban waterscapes organic river edges community development sustainable neighborhoods built environment natural environment identity building inventory street inventory housing options pedestrian paths sense of place public realm geothermal traffic/pedestrian barriers place connection bioswales Irrigation flood mitigation high water table 100-year flood plain floodway water typologies





The Boise River The Linen District The River-Myrtle District Site Analysis

9 10 12 16 18

PART 2: RESEARCH & Process Sample Thesis Projects








Mixed-Use Case Studies Theory & Exploration Urban Design Studies Preliminary Design Revised Concept & Research Design Problems & Solutions

22 26 32 44 54 60 63



Site The site is located in downtown Boise, Idaho and is unique in its adjacencies to major seams of the downtown fabric. The Boise River runs along the south of the site before it encounters an aversion dam that directs water to parallel public parks. The northernmost portion of the site focuses on Grove Street, historically known for the now diverted Grove Street Canal, grand homes and large elm trees from the turn of the 20th century. The I-184 Connector runs east-west through the site, following the footprints of removed railroad tracks. A major arterial for vehicular traffic, the Connector also acts as a barrier between the Linen and the River-Myrtle Districts. Since the early 1990s, these challenging elements have been addressed in several master plans proposed by the City of Boise, yet the proposals lacked strong connecting elements. Boise City Limits

Ada County

FEMA 100-Year Flood Map



Boise Urban Renewal History In the 1960s, the US government funded a massive nation-wide urban renewal incentive. For Boise, this meant leveling eight city blocks and planning a super mall right in the heart of downtown. The Boise Redevelopment Agency proposed a single vast building, housing under one roof an air-conditioned shopping mall, over 800,000 square feet of commercial space (including three department stores), 300,000 square feet of office space, a hotel of over 250 rooms, and 2,444 parking spaces. The BRA was the central urban renewal organization in Boise and in the 1970s began to purchase old buildings only to tear them down. In 1972, Boise’s Chinatown was demolished displacing an entire historic culture and community. Chinatown had been home to immigrant Chinese workers who came over during the gold rush of the 1850s. Members of the community protested the urban renewal plan, but they were ignored. When the historic Egyptian Theater went up for demolition, the

community contested and was able to preserve and restore the building. “Let’s face it,” then-BRA-chairman Carroll Sellars told Davis in ‘74, “most of these old buildings are junk piles. We’re not tearing down a damn thing that’s worth anything. If the historic preservationists had been around in olden times, the whole world would look like the Parthenon.” BRA was not particularly sympathetic to those calling for restoration. Many of the buildings were built on wood foundations and in poor condition, which would be, they argued, prohibitively expensive to repair. In the 1960s and ‘70s, urban renewal agencies across the country decimated entire blocks, sweeping away the potential and interesting neighborhoods (like Boise’s Chinatown) along with urban decay, leaving swaths of concrete and public housing in their wake. In 1985, Dirk Kempthorne was elected Mayor of Boise and the American of Architects did a study that urged Boise

to do smaller projects, setting the model for Boise’s current urban renewal model. Since then, the city has restored the same amount that was destroyed in the 1970s. Now, Capitol City Development Corporation is the primary urban renewal organization for the city of Boise. Hale Development is a secondary organization with a 2005 masterplan for the Linen District, an area in west downtown that was hardest hit by the 1970s urban renewal and slated for suburb-type sprawl. Since the proposed masterplan, Hale Development has preserved and restored the historic Linen Building on Grove St.

Abstract Identifying place and a means of interconnection for Boise’s Linen and River-Myrtle Districts, the proposal examines pedestrian interaction with the built and natural environments and integrates concepts of water within new and existing urban fabric. The proposal challenges current river edge definitions while encouraging sustainable neighborhood development and water urbanism. The proposal consists of three parts each implementing water as pedestrian way finding from downtown Boise to the Boise River. Starting at the Grove Plaza, pedestrians can walk down Grove Street past the small businesses, live-work studios, multi-family apartments and light industrial shops of the Linen District. The pedestrian path is integrated with varying water typologies, each sourced from the Grove Street Canal along the south edge of the street. Upon arriving at 14th Street, pedestrians are greeted by the iconic gems of the Linen District, the Modern Hotel and the Linen Building. Turning south towards the River, pedestrians can follow 14th Street under the Connector on-ramp to access a high-density urban development. Three and a half city blocks isolated by the Connector turn in on themselves, harboring pedestrians in a canyonlike setting. High-rise condominiums, small offices, and open-air restaurants and galleries gather around a sustainable water element, protecting users from high traffic streets and providing views of the foot hills and downtown. Crossing the “canyon� via bridge, pedestrians continue under the off-ramp along the 14th Street flood way. Flanked by new town homes on Grand Avenue and an existing residential neighborhood to the south, the flood way acts as a corridor to the river and provides flooding support for high river water levels. At the river, a mixed-use development returns four city blocks back to the natural flood plain and wetlands, modifying the public river edge to coexist with an urban fabric. A pier jetting out over the transformed river edge terminates 13th Street in a promenade and is intersected by a boardwalk that connects the Boise Green Belt through the development to Pioneer Corridor. A new street, Reed Street, is introduced to mitigate the city block fabric and connect east to west. Transitioning from controlled urban waterscapes to organic river edges, the proposed master plan creates active urban space with a strong sense of place and enhances the connection between the site and the Boise River.



PA Rt 1

CONTEXT & Analysis

Railroad Schematics 1907



regional water The Boise River rises in three separate forks in the Sawtooth Range at elevations exceeding 10,000 feet (3,048 m), and is formed by the confluence of its North and Middle forks. The North Fork, 50 miles (80 km) long,[2] rises in the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, along the Boise-Elmore county line, 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Boise. It flows generally southwest through the remote mountains in the Boise National Forest. The Middle Fork, approximately 52 miles (84 km) in length,[2] rises within 12 miles (19 km) of the North Fork in the southern Sawtooth Wilderness

1885 Boise River

Area in northeastern Elmore County. It flows westsouthwest near the town of Atlanta, joining the North Fork to form the Boise River, approximately 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Idaho City. The main stream flows southwest into Arrowrock Reservoir joining the South Fork from the Anderson Ranch Dam. Lucky Peak Dam on the Boise River northeast of Boise The 101-mile-long (163 km)[2] South Fork rises in northern Camas County in the Smoky Mountains of the Sawtooth National Forest north of Fairfield,

1885 Boise River

65 miles (105 km) east of Boise. It flows generally southwest, descending through a basalt canyon to fill the Anderson Ranch Reservoir, then turns northwest in central Elmore County. It joins the main stream as the southern arm of Arrowrock Reservoir, 20 miles (32 km) east of Boise. Downstream from its confluence with the South Fork, the river flows generally west, and adds the major tributary of Mores Creek along Highway 21, and passes through Lucky Peak Dam to emerge from the foothills, southeast of Boise.

The Boise RIver

1885 Boise River

The irrigation projects in Boise enabled locals to transport water from the Boise River to farms on the Boise Bench and other remote areas. Before significant irrigation in the valley, farmers had to locate their farmstead within close proximity to a substantial water source, usually the Boise River. Tom Davis, for example, settled alongside the river in current day Julia Davis Park where he dug a ditch from the river to his orchard. In fact, farmers utilized much of the land along the Boise River in the early years of Boise history as few deemed it worthy of little else due to flooding. As county population

grew, however, citizens realized the need for irrigable land beyond the riverbanks. Many looked to the large expanse of land south of Boise just below the Boise Bench as well as downstream to the west. In the early 1880s, led by Arthur D. Foote, engineer, New York investors set about planning a much larger and more acceptable scheme to irrigate the Boise Valley. Foote surveyed the site and proposed a main canal departing the Boise River east of the city with several lateral ditches connecting to various locations throughout the valley. Financial problems plagued the project from the beginning as several

1917 Boise River

different parties took turns controlling the endeavor The diversion of much of the Boise River allowed settlers to begin developing residential space along the river bed. As early as 1885, the northern boundary of John McClellan’s and Dr. William L. Thompson’s riverside property was sold to developers like future Boise Mayor and “Beer Baron”* John Lemp.



Grove Street looking West

14th Street looking South

Myrtle Street looking East

Grove Street looking East

Rhodes Urban Park

Grand Avenue looking North

Connector from 12th Street

The Linen Building on Grove Street

The old American Linen Building is now the Linen Building which is a popular entertainment venue and houses Hale Development office. “…blends the fabric of existing historical buildings with an extension of the culturally vibrant North End neighborhood.” “…will be a catalyst for future revitalization of the Westside District of Downtown Boise.”

Grove Street •1866 Boise City Canal Company o Before Warm Springs, diverted water into aqua duct that runs along Warm Springs Avenue to Grove Street and heads north at 11th Street to State and 15th Streets. From there it heads northwest to Elm Grove Park and Crane Creek then north to Hill Road until it intersects creek from Stewart Gulch that diverts to Boise River just north of Garden City or to Farmer’s Canal along Canal Road.  Once in Collister, canal is owned by Boise Valley Irrigation Ditch Company • Boise City Canal ran on the north side of Grove Street as the “Grove Street Ditch” • Large water wheels every 50-100 feet to irrigate planted trees • Finest residential street in city with many fine homes o DeLamar Mansion o Lafayette Cartee home • 1891 geothermal introduced by Artesian Hot & Cold Water Company • First YMCA was located on 10th & Grove St. • Historic buildings of Idaho and Main streets constructed around residences of Grove St from 1900-1930. • Neglected in the 1950s Boise 1960s urban renewal left several open undeveloped blocks in west downtown, mostly used for parking.



Site Analysis The Linen District consists of roughly nine blocks at the beginning of the Boise Connector heading west. This location offers some challenges for infill development, particularly concerning vehicular traffic as the District is essentially bounded by Front Street. However, the District has started to creep across both Front and Myrtle Streets, defying the multiple lanes of traffic. Not only is this gesture an indication of pushing the bounds, it also creates multiple opportunities for types of development, increasing program options and sizes. Circulation at this intersection is key as it is highly visible from the arterial streets of Front and Myrtle. Historic Grove and Main Streets cut through the site, directing traffic to Downtown Boise or Chinden Boulevard. Bounded by 13th Street to the east and 16th Street to the west, each city block is roughly 280’ x 340’ or 2.1 acres. A diverse mix of restaurants, shops, services and retail, the Linen District already has a sense of place and character that can be manifested in a neighborhood complete with multi-family residences and live-work units. Currently, a multi-family condominium is planned on the south side of Front Street between 14th and 15th Streets. There are currently five buildings listed as Linen District Buildings: the Linen Building, the B.F. Evans Building, the Furness Building, the Matthews Building, and the Lincoln Building.

Figure Ground

Circulation/Block Size

Commercial Mix

Linen District Buildings



River-Myrtle District The irrigation projects in Boise enabled locals to transport water from the Boise River to farms on the Boise Bench and other remote areas. Before significant irrigation in the valley, farmers had to locate their farmstead within close proximity to a substantial water source, usually the Boise River. Tom Davis, for example, settled alongside the river in current day Julia Davis Park where he dug a ditch from the river to his orchard. In fact, farmers utilized much of the land along the Boise River in the early years of Boise history as few deemed it worthy of little else due to flooding. As county population grew, however, citizens realized the need

for irrigable land beyond the riverbanks. Many looked to the large expanse of land south of Boise just below the Boise Bench as well as downstream to the west. In the early 1880s, led by Arthur D. Foote, engineer, New York investors set about planning a much larger and more acceptable scheme to irrigate the Boise Valley. Foote surveyed the site and proposed a main canal departing the Boise River east of the city with several lateral ditches connecting to various locations throughout the valley. Financial problems plagued the project from the beginning as several different parties took turns controlling the endeavor.

The diversion of much of the Boise River allowed settlers to begin developing residential space along the river bed. As early as 1885, the northern boundary of John McClellan’s and Dr. William L. Thompson’s riverside property was sold to developers like future Boise Mayor and “Beer Baron”* John Lemp.District, an area in west downtown that was hardest hit by the 1970s urban renewal and slated for suburb-type sprawl. Since the proposed masterplan, Hale Development has preserved and restored the historic Linen Building on Grove St.

1903 Depot

Riverside Park Steetcar

Hummel Residence

Riverside Park Structures

Front Street Depot

Idaho Transportation 1950s

Railroad Schematics 1893

New York Canal


18 Existing Figure Ground

Vistas & Landmarks

Pedestrian Paths & Transit

Existing Green Space

Existing Vehicular Flows

Site Analysis

The Grove Existing Canal New Canal Existing Geothermal New Geothermal




Research & process



Sample Thesis

natURban: building “L’Union” with nature Master’s Thesis Proposal by Charlotte Lartigue, 2011 Chalmers Technical University

Located in the Lille Metropolis of France, Union is a continuing development that has been master-planned and studied. L’Union is the sustainable development proposal meant to act as a model for urban growth integrated with the natural environment. Focusing on two main goals, L’Union is to be democratic in design (nature for everyone) and sustainable design method (sustainability is nature.) The thesis project is separated into three sections: systematic analysis, research and design proposal. Each section goes into great detail about the processes that drove the design proposal while comparing existing development proposals against the alternative urban nature thesis.The project creates an integrated series of community farms and green pathways that encourage interaction with nature in a densely populated area.



Sample Thesis

Back to the City: Sustainable Regeneration of the 4th

Urban Corridor of Rotterdam over Nieuwe Mass River, The Netherlands Master’s Thesis Proposal by Newsh Mirzaie, 2011 University of Texas at Austin

The Randstad has the population of 7 million; 45% of the total population on the 26% of the country’s land area. A number of key figures on the spatial development of the Randstad indicate that a significant demand for housing still needs to be met. Since the 1950s, the government has been aiming to make the Netherlands competitive on the global market, and the physical structuring of the country is one of the means of achieving this. Although this country has been facing water issues and lack of land, it has the second most important port in the world. Rotterdam city-port will meet more expansion and population untill 2040 as well as other Randstad major cities like Den Haag, Delft, Leiden and Amsterdam. Viewed against the backdrop of the anticipated growth in the demand for urban space, it is of the utmost importance to limit the new utilization of space and keep valuable landscapes free. The traditional image of a ring os cities around a green heart needs to be changed. The green heart has already been fragmented by more urbanized areas penetrating the agricultural landscape. Studing a new pattern in order to control the unplanned sprawl, the Green Heart 2040 should try to follow a hyrbidized pattern of landscape, water, infrastructure, and urbanization. It means that proximity to the Randstad transit corridors can work as an urbanization catalyst to attract and form the developments along mobility network.



Mixed-Use Districts Pearl District, Portland, OR A formerly industrial area north of downtown Portland that includes The new residential buildings in the Pearl mean more residents are most of the historic North Park Block from 1869 and is now home to art on the streets and in the stores, supporting retailers and creating a galleries, residences and upscale businesses. sense of vibrancy. New residents also equate to a stronger, healthier neighborhood that can support small business and retail and increase Urban renewal efforts began in the late 1990s and helped preserve the likelihood of additional reinvestment in the existing historic several Portland landmarks: Powell Books, Weinhard Brewery, Union buildings. Station, and the main processing facility for the US Post Office.



Figure Ground

Circulation/Block Size

Land-Use Mix

Abandoned industrial area inner northwest Portland consiting of 100 city blocks that house the historic Hoyt Street Rail yards and furniture industry. All but two of the 31 buildings in district are “contributing� buildings: history and character are deemed significant enough to contribute to the overall historic integrity of the district.

Commercial Mix

Residential Mix

The Portland Streetcar provides transit from the Pearl District to downtown and Portland State University. The Pearl District is key in Portland housing strategy and in achieving regional and state goals for growth management and has become an exemplary model for urban redevelopment nationwide.



Mixed-Use Districts

Keirland Commons, Scottsdale, AZ

Studies from Grid/Street/Place Each of the districts shown are comparable in size and character to the Linen District.

Santana Row, San Jose, CA

Sunnyvale Town Center, Sunnyvale, CA

Birch Street Brea, CA

Figure Ground

Circulation/Block Size

Land-Use Mix

Commercial Mix

Residential Mix



Mixed-Use Districts

Caper’s Block, Vancouver, British Columbia One of Vancouver’s most successful mixed use projects, Caper’s Block is contingent on the area’s retail storefront and pedestrian friendly scale while providing offices at the second floor and residences on the third through fifth floors. Intermittent courtyards provide social spaces for lingering and people watching. The fourth floors terrace back away from the street edge providing deck space. Penthouses occupy the fifth floors to help create a variety of housing options. This project also utilizes passive design systems, such as a groundsource heat pump system, to heat and cool the complex. Overall, Caper’s Block acts as a model of modest mixed use sustainable development at the neighborhood scale.



Theory & Exploration

Concepts of Space, Time & Perception How would our culture and history would change if time were perceived as something real? Addressing matters of time, culture is defined time through abstractions, a human means of managing time into something tangible. In doing so, we have made time a static element rather than embracing the dynamic of time as nature intended, ever changing.

The product of change can be defined as novelty: “…a vehicle, by which or through something new appears in the world.” Real can be described as a limitation as anything can exist as “possible” but cannot always be realized. On the opposite end, the possible is a resemblance of what is real. The traditional timeline aligns with this notion where the reality becomes snapshots of repeated possibilities. Kwinter points out that as ambiguous as the two realms can be, Western culture was built on the “realm of possibility” and therefore, belies actuality. Change can be perceived as a flow of matter through time. This movement makes way for transformation and invention, making the new possible and necessary. Virtuality while not actualized becomes real, and possibility becomes the difference between realization and actualization. Therefore, representations of possibility such as philosophy, science, art and architecture become products of time. Herein lies the cultural revelation to discover absolute novelty as a means of defining place in time:

becoming instead of being. Kwinter brings up the “history of practices” in architecture in reference to the relationships created by architecture through social, political and historical context. He defines “architectures” as social technical objects; requiring understanding of not only form and materials, but specific character and relationships. One prevalent relationship is social context and science, where science has demanded the “will to order” and social models have followed. The invention and implementation of the clock in culture is rational and purely functional, yet it becomes inseparable from the human elements, disassociating us with time. This can be seen in the way we have adopted sectoring or gridding in design philosophy. Managing space, people, and time become practices and techniques, separate from time itself, and static in nature.



Theory & Exploration

Concepts of Private, Public & Civic The main idea of labor versus work can be applied to varying areas of human relationships, art and architecture included. Work is the unnaturalness of human existence, devoted to static, public and permanent. Labor is an action of perpetual movement in which it is processal, private and impermanent. Labor corresponds to human biological processes; labor of life. During the Renaissance, innovation and technique garnered new processes in architecture, relaying the typical roles of mason, roofer, framer, etc. into one role of master builder. The master builder decides what is to be built, what the labor will be. The master builder then coordinates with the engineer who determines how it will be built, what work will take place. These roles continue today [however, in recent years, there has been push to replace the master builder role with an integrated design team]. This idea of labor-power eventually gives way to the Industrial Revolution, workefficiency driven mass production that effectively creates mass accessibility to mass society and in turn, creates mass consumption. Mass society can destroy

the public and the private realms, blurring individual identities and invading private spaces. Kitsch, the Internet and television are prime examples

of such phenomena. Product, art and architecture become optimized, work overtaking labor and uniqueness. The public realm is an artifice of human means and social environments, created in work. However; without human social environments and architecture housing these environments, the human artifice would exist as unrelated parts of meaningless things that become through the discretion of the individual. Therefore, public space is not only artifice to house social environments but to represent reality.



Theory & Exploration



Theory & Exploration

Theory & Exploration

Diagramming Interiors



Theory & Exploration

Concepts of Material, Tectonics & Representation The built environment is as much about the ground as it is about the built form and the built environment consists of the topos, the typos, and the tectonic. The first statement refers to the fact that a building should not be considered without considering the site on which it is built. The site is the stereo, the solid, and the building is the tectonic, the built whole. This feeds into the second statement outlining the three elements of the built environment. Topos is place, typos is type, and tectonic is builder. These three elements create a complete system of built environment, varying from culture to culture, yet still distinctly the same.

“The worst enemy of modern architecture is the idea of space considered soley in terms of its economic and technical exigencies indifferent to the ideas of the site.” Vittorio Gregotti, 1983 “...rejoice in the progress of our body across the uneven surface of the earth and our spirit is gladdened by the endless interplay of the three dimesnions we encounter with every step...” Pilkionis, 1931 “Architects don’t invent anything, they transform reality.” Alvaro Siza “...belief that architecture cannot be a means for changing social relationships; but I maintain that it is architecture itself that needs, for its very production, the material represented by social relations.” Vittorio

Gregotti, 1983becomes memory pieces.

Response Article

The Architectonics of Memory: On Built Form and Built Thought by Rodney Parker Mneumonics is defined as a learning technique used to aid in memorizing through associations with visual, auditory, verbal and kinesthetic qualities. Human knowledge lies within memory which is comprised of experiences. Experience eventually creates expecation.

Architecture represents a stable element in a large “cognitive map” that keeps our reality stable within a series of smaller cognitive maps. “Loci” is pictoral

and concrete whereas reality is verbal and abstract. Architecture then becomes memory pieces.



Child-like Thought Inhibition and Imagination

Children learn how to associate colors, shapes, sounds and images with reallife objects, animals, and experiences. We all remember learning how to color in our coloring books are children. The allure of colors and shapes drove our artistic notions until we learned that an apple is red, not blue, and that it is round, not square. Rational is taught through learning, but children don’t cease to create and imagine . Even though the apple must be red and round, the apple can be anything from a house or a pattern to a picture or just good old food. Children don’t color inside the lines naturally. They move through them with color and shape , constantly creating a new picture, a new association and changing the way they view the world.

Idea: Community Connection

Solution: Atrium/Courtyard

Theory & Exploration

Designing a Design Problem: “Different Lenses” “Architecture must remain experimental and open to new ideas and aspirations in the face of conservative forces that constantly push it toward the already proven, already built, and already thought. Architects must explore the not yet felt. The realization of one inspired idea in turn inspires others.” Stephen Holl: Idea, Phenomenon, and Material Each seminar student was to design a design problem, and each of student was then to pick one of the top five design problems to respond to. “Different Lenses” created by Ron Politan encouraged exploring solutions as a child would. The problem: two multi-story buildings sitting approximately 200 feet apart are being developed to utilize both existing structures for a new single program use. We were to create an architectural design solution to fill the void in a cohesive manner while providing circulation between the two separate structures.



Urban Design Capitol City Development Corporation (CCDC) • 2025 Downtown Boise Redevelopment Plan • River-Myrtle Plan (24-year plan) o Mixed use, infill neighborhood with pedestrian friendly streets o Office parks along river o Preserved river edge for public Green Belt • Blueprint Boise Plan: Decrease commuting, fuel consumption, and traffic capacity Downtown Housing Initiative 2004 o Noise, parking, loading and unloading, trash collection, property maintenance, graffiti and safety o Since Initiative, 260 units completed or under construction. • Streetscape Standards • 1993 Westside Plan o Not updated since 2005

Urban Form: “compact, urban form with lively mix of uses. Emphasize quality sustainability and a feeling of permanence …each has its own sense of identity.”

II. THE PLAN Framework Plans & Design Guidelines

Figure 2: Downtown Boise Plan (1993) – Land Use


1993 Preferred Development Plan



1993 Downtown Boise Land Use Plan

2001 Westside Masterplan

Figure 5: Preferred Development Concept

Urban Neighborhoods






“Provide refreshment and relief from urban surroundings and add to livability of downtown.” RIVER STREET–MYRTLE STREET MASTER PLAN

Figure 7: Built Form


2001 Building Heights

Overall Plans, Guidelines & Action Steps

2001 Preferred Development Plan


Appendix B: Zoning Map

Overall Plans, Guidelines & Action Steps




• Retain alleys • Public restrooms Adopted by the Boise City Council Ordinance No. 6108 – December 4, 2001 available • Recycling facilities Effective Date – December 8, 2001 • Sound mitigations standards for residential Recommended by Capital City Development Corporation Resolution No.from 861 units exterior sources and October 15, 2001 between units • Non-residential uses such as daycare, churches, schools, and community centers • Unique, high-quality design • Cultural center for community • Preservation of historic character • Adaptive re-use • Business incubators • Live-work units • Housing and studio space for artists o Studio spaces designed for visit, observation and participation of public • Economic development


2001 Zoning Map



Figure 9: Civic Spaces

Urban Design Plug-In Urban Design Elements of infrastructure are plugged into an existing urban fabric in hopes of spurring new development or providing a public amenity



Overall Plans, Guidelines & Action Steps


2001 Civic Spaces Figure 8: Streetscape Character

Eligibility Report

Places to preserve, to create, to enhance: Places • Parks/open spaces • Public • Neighborhood • Historic districts • Bridges Connections • Streets • Pedestrian and bicycles • Transit • Open space/green space • Freeway • Bridges River edges • Riverfront parks • Connection to river • Esplanade • Riverfront activites


2001 Deterioration Plan

Overall Plans, Guidelines & Action Steps


2001 Streetscape Guide Figure 11: River Myrtle–Old Boise Subdistricts

People Place: “Offering a delightful and enriching environment for living, working and playing… people over vehicles.”




2001 Subdistricts

Subdistrict Plans, Guidelines & Action Steps


Idaho Growth

(Arthur C. Nelson, Metropolitan Research Center, University of Utah)

Building Heights Study

1. WESTWARD HO Idaho and other Western states are projected to remain the nation’s fastestgrowing states. 2. QUALITY OF LIFE Many seniors, families and young professionals will be looking for the same thing: slower pace, recreational opportunities, clean air and water. 3. CHANGING HOUSEHOLDS Idaho’s senior population and homes without children will increase. 4. MOBILE JOBS Newcomers will bring their own jobs. Instead of moving to their job, people will choose where they want to live and bring their job with them via telecommuting, working from home and utilizing technology not available 20 years ago. 5. LONGER LIVES Healthier lifestyles and better health care mean people will live longer. Already, insurance actuarial tables have been extended from 100 years to 120 years. Aging populations will have different housing and transportation needs. 6. SUBURBAN FLIGHT In the past few decades people fled urban areas for isolated suburban living. Now people are breaking from the past and returning to cities to get out of their cars and enjoy amenities and services not found in suburbs. 7. REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION The entire corridor is already connected by a freeway and a railway, providing necessary infrastructure for a cross-state and local public transportation network. 8. HOUSING FINANCES Changes in lending practices will mean less demand for $1 million-plus homes and more demand for smaller homes on smaller lots and an increase in renters. 9. BETTER TECHNOLOGY Communication improvements have improved regional social and economic networks. 10. GREEN MOVEMENT More efficient water, energy, land-use and transportation practices will help ease growth’s strain on natural resources, air and water quality, and farmland.



Urban Design

Land Use & Zoning Vector Map

Infill Opportunities

Programming/Massing Study

Zoning & Land Use

Infill Benefits

Boise Population

Connector: Commercial use •Previously zoned for auto commercial and light industrial

• Recycle used land, save fringe land • Avoid extending new infrastructure • Reduce vehicle miles traveled • Improve air quality • Improve water quality • Use less energy • Clean-up contaminated properties 2050

1%+ live in Downtown Boise = 20,000 people 2%+ live in secondary centers = 40,000 people 5%+ live in center-accessible (walking/transit) = 100,000 people 25%+ live in mixed-use, mixed-housing, walkable suburban = 500,000 people

Linen District: Mixed use • 24-hour activity • Office, retail, & service business • Residential • Hotel and convention venues • Civic, cultural, educational, entertainment, medical programs

= 1/3 of population in 2050 but 2/3 of all new development by 2050 in infill, smarty growth and compact centers

Linen District •Green strip on west side •Left-turn lane •Bike lane on east side •No on-street parking •3 southbound lanes

Americana Drive Street Study A preliminary study of the progressive street conditions along Americana Drive tranversed several different typologies, all addressing different urban conditions and pedestrian relationships.

Urbanity Preferences (National Assoc. of Realtors, American Preference Survey 2004) • 46% Transit Access • 46% Walk to School • 51% Stores/Restaurants • 72% Sidewalks • 38% Housing Mix • 47% Ethnic Mix • 45% Income Mix • 65% Generational Mix

Industrial •No green strip •On-street parking •Bike lanes •Sidewalks •3 lanes of one-way traffic Commercial 1 •Green strip •No on-street parking •Bike lanes •Sidewalks •3 lanes of one-way traffic Commercial 2 •Green strip 2x wider = larger bldg setback •Narrower bike lanes •No on-street parking •Median between 2-way traffic •2 northbound lanes •3 southbound lanes o 1 left turn at light Park 1 •Green strip as wide as Commercial 2 o Sidewalk and green strip and bldg setback •Wider bike lanes •2 southbound lanes •3 northbound lanes o 1 left-turn lane at light Bridge •Bike lanes •2 lanes of traffic each way •Sidewalk w/guardrail •Turning lane



Promenade at the Connector Wedge

Town homes along Grand Avenue

Urban Design Human Needs: 1. Psychological: survival, health, comfort, development 2. Social Order: equality, justice, liberty, moral order 3. Safety & Security: physiological protection from machines, nature, people 4. Affiliation: formal organizations, kinship, community, financial groups, spiritual groups

Pedestrian-friendly street

5. Self-Actualization: social relationships, control over life, intellectual 6. Aesthetic: beauty, sensory, symbolism, intellect 7. Cognitive: learning, experiencing 8. Esteem: personalization, rewards, sense of place, spiritual ends

Mixed-use office block w/ parking structure



Urban Design Urban Mapping Using important places around downtown Boise, this map uses vectors to identify areas with potential for development. The yellow represents the Linen District, the red represents downtown and Boise landmarks, the green represents park space and the hatched areas represent institutional uses.

Techtonics In considering the site, the most potential for techtonic strategies was the development between the Connector on- and off-ramps. The section studies to the left explored the relationships among buildings outside of the Connector wedge, the Connector roads themselves, and site inside the wedge all within context of the existing, or lacking, urban fabric. Site Section Studies of Connector Development

Reserving pedestrian access from the Linen and River-Myrtle Districts to flow under the Connectors allowed for building massing to right high above the roadways. The integration of water and vegetation create different situations and conditions of public realm. A public green space that slopes down from the Connector ramps creates a naturalistic yet protected environment. The shift of building mass up and to the edges of the wedge bounds begins to act more urban, responding to the specific site conditions of noise and traffic while addressing views and program. Designating water elements to interact with various points within the site tie the design intent together. Specifically addressing building facades, techtonics can be applied, integrated or remedial. The way techtonics are used in buildings directly affects the public realm and human scale.

Architectural Studies of Building Integration



Preliminary Design Grove Street Four blocks of focused daylighting of the Grove Street Canal creates pedestrian-friendly environments that create a sense of place and harken to historical identity. Adding elements such as trees, planters, and designated pedestrian path materials to areas such as 16th and Grove Streets, creates an integrated public realm designed for the pedestrian. The large setback at the Furness Building between 15th and 16th Streets that currently parks vehicles right up to the building entrances is reallocated for the Grove Street Canal and layers of green and furniture strips that create a pedestrian friendly environment. The presence of the canal drastically enhances the building edge, activating points of transition between public and private space. The continuation of the canal along Grove Street links the Linen District to downtown Boise, particularly the Grove fountain. Proposed infill development includes nine live-work units in what is currently a surface parking lot as well as a multi-family apartment building.



Preliminary Design The Connector Tucked into the wedge between the Connector on- and off-ramps is a high-rise condominium building with a large promenade towards BoDo. The pedestrian promenade acts as vista and entrance to the wedge site, leading to a plaza that intersects the pedestrian-only 14th Street. Large pools compliment the promenade, creating terraced edges that respond to seasonal water levels and the high water table. The pedestrian path continues east across 13th Street to a block of garden loft apartments. The path shifts, contracts and expands to create public spaces for residents and pedestrians. At 12th Street, the pedestrian path acts as alley in a block of mixed use buildings.



Preliminary Design

Grand Avenue The Grand Avenue development utilizes space along the Connector off-ramp as public realm, hardscaping a path from the existing condominums on 13th Street to Rhodes Park under the Connector on 15th Street. Fourteen proposed single-family rowhouses with new sidewalk and green strips compliment a gathering node and pool that marks the pedestrian entrance to 14th Street.

Mid-Review The mid-review presentation lacked a central concept that tied everything together. Goals for finishing my thesis project include: • Develop the pedestrian/vehicular environment further to create a convincing design. • Use context of place history to create strong concept. • Make grand gestures with main ideas particularly tectonic moves with the Connector. • Use water in unexpected ways in unexpected places. • Start daylighting the canal at the Grove and portray movement and connection to the river somehow; stronger concept with a definite beginning and ending. • Consider a park street with pedestrian path in middle and vehicular traffic to edges. • Make water fundamental design element and play it to its strengths.

CONCEPT: transition from controlled urban waterscapes to organic river edges. • Use water to connect “nodes” using the Grove as a starting point and example, and moving through my project site with water in unexpected ways (under buildings, on buildings, up buildings, through buildings, over roadways, etc.) creating unique relationships with water that terminate at the Boise River at 13th street. • These nodes are already evident in plan; however they are limited. Extending the reach and the number of these nodes throughout the plan could help reinforce the idea of water and the urban relationship to water. • The four main elements of the design are water, built environment, natural environment and pedestrians • Diagram water as movement through downtown, the Linen District and my project site, branding an experience to compliment proposed development. • Use experiential vignettes to present design ideas. • Make sure to diagram program in building massing to present visual idea.

Water Concept Diagram & Studies



Revised Concept

Canyon Concept

Canyon Sketch

Masterplan Sketch

The Concept of Water Water can host a series of properties, have many meanings and functions. Water can be a solid, a liquid, a gas. By nature, the water molecule of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom is cohesive and irrepricable in controlled laboratories. Water sustains life, can create microclimates within ecosystems, and is temporal. The effects of water are evident in corroded or eroded materials. Water is temporal. It can submerge a place in time, creating a particular experience and character. When the water receeds, another environment is revealed with new character and identity. Water can act as barrier or connector, Water/Geothermal Typology Studies

Wetland Sketch

Looking at water typologies such as rivers, canyons, streams, and mist, and what each of these typologies encourage in an environment was key to this project. A canyon typology has been carved away by the path of water, revealing layers of techtonic strata formed of water’s influence. A creek typology offers movement and edge, gathering and solice. The limits of water are boundless and greatly influenced the project.

Water/Pedestrian Paths


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SE 3 Eriogonum umbellatum Sulfur Buckwheat Yellow flowers with hints of reddish orange or cream bloom profusely above the erect, spatula-shaped leaves in June and July. The semi-evergreen foliage reaches 6”x 6”, is deep green and woollier on the underside. The flowers are 12” tall on leafless stalks, although leafy bracts surround the base of each flower. Within 3-5 years, it can spread 2-3’ D3 wide. Plant in moderately coarse, well-drained soil. Commercial availability has grown recently as xeriscapers Balsamorhiza sagittata Arrowleaf Balsamroot and native plant enthusiasts recognize its many attributes: Tender leaf shoots of silvery velvet emerge in April or May, semi-evergreen foliage, nice in dried flower arrangements, prior to the unfurling of large deep green, basal, arrowhead good fall structure and moderate drought tolerance. Native shaped leaves. Plants eventually grow 18” wide, with to sagebrush deserts, and alpine rocky ridges, mostly east of numerous 12-24” tall flower stalks. Each stalk carries a 1. Native Intermountain plantings the Cascades, single flower head of golden petals surrounding a darker from southern British Columbia to CA, east to MT, •don’t Beauty center. Plants flower until they are about five WY, yearsCO and AZ.

Native Plants

old. spring forage for deer and elk, and grows It provides • Drought Tolerance well on hot dry slopes once established. A few weeks after • Wildlife flowering the foliage will begin to dry up and die as the goes dormant • Hardiness plant until the following spring. It is a good idea to mark the location, so the large taproot is not accidentally dug up in the summer or fall when the plant is 2. “Thefoliage. Seven of Xeriscape” from The Xeriscape Flower Gardener without It isPrinciples native from lowland to mid elevations in the mountains, and is widespread east of the Cascades. (Knopf 1991).

• Plant and design comprehensively from beginning • Create practical turf areas of manageable siazed, shapes, and appropriate grasses Eriophyllum lanatum • Use appropriate plants and zone the landscape according to D3 the water needs of the plants Eriophyllum • Consider improving the soil with lanatum organicWoolly matterSunflower like compost The 6-12” tall perennial has yellow flowers that bloom in or manure spring. The leaves have a gray green color from the densely • Consider using mulches such aswooly wood chips matted, soft hairs. Requires a well drained to coarse textured soil and full sun. Plants are drought tolerant and • Irrigate efficiently with properly designed systems (including commercially available from several nurseries. It occurs hose-end equipment) and applying right amount ofCA water fromby lowland to midthe elevations from BC to and east to Balsamorhiza atsagittata the right time of day MT, ID and UT. Aquilegia caerulea • Maintain the landscape appropriately by mowing, pruning, D2 D 4properly. fertilizing D3

It has been used by the horticulture industry and can be obtained commercially from farm raised plants. It has twice the chromosome number ofand thecovered commonwith camassticky and prodeeply lobed and serrated, hair. The duces moreknown leaves. As noted forBill Bluefor Camas, Cusick’s genus is also as Crane’s the elongated Camas also prefers moist conditions in the spring, followed seedpod. Medicinally they are used to tone up the muscles by a dry summer. Blue Camas ranges from British of the digestive tract, reduce diarrhea and heal sores in the Columbia south to California and east to southwest Alberta, mouth 1997). MT,(Ogle WY and UT. Native east of the Cascades on fairly

dry to moist sites with two varieties: var. viscosissimum ranging from BC to northern CA, northern NV, and east to 3 while var. nervosum Saskatchewan and northernD WY, stretches farther southeast into and UT. Echinacea purpurea Purple CO Coneflower

Eriogonum heracleoides Wyeth Buckwheat The low-growing (6-16” tall and wide) perennial forb blooms in late spring to early summer. It has creamy white flowers produced on an erect stalk, green ovate basal leaves with a wooly or pubescent underside, and a whorl of leaves below the flowers. Wyeth buckwheat is very drought tolerant and semievergreen. It is one of the many Eriogonums that could Eriogonum heracleoides be used more frequently in landscaping. The flower stalks are brittle once dry and do not tolerate foot traffic. Found in ID, MT and UT.

Blooming from summer to autumn, this sturdy wildflower grows 2-3’ tall by 1-2’ wide. It is unparalleled for its continuously blooming, stunning purple ray flowers and the raised golden brown center of disk flowers. The root and rhizomes are harvested for their medicinal use to bolster the immune system. Adaptable to many soil conditions, a long slender taproot provides a moderate drought tolerance once 3. Manicured/Green established. Native to the Great Plains where it and its relative, E. angustifolia, are subjected to over-harvesting. Per p35 Idaho Native Plant guide from the National Wildlife Foundation D4 Geum triflorum in bud (left), seed head (right)

• green lawn costs $700/acre/year vs. a wildflower meadow Eriogonum niveum Snow Buckwheat D 2 $30/acre/year The flower stalk typically branches 3 ways at the base and Geum triflorum Prairie Smoke splits twice again farther up. Plants range from 6-18” tall • 60% water consumption is used for irrigating landscapes Aquilegia caerulea Also known as old man’s whiskers, this reddish to purplish and wide. In the summer and fall, white flowers appear in • Amount of hydrocarbon emitted in 1 hour of lawn mower = clusters where the branches fork. The foliage is wooly gray flowered perennial does best in full sun to partial shade in D2 and typically 6” tall. Grow for a nice ground cover on 50 miles in car drought tolerant, it well-drained soils. While moderately slopes and hillsides and forAquilegia erosion control. It provides a caerulea Colorado Blue C will do much better with regular irrigation. Without flowers in • Amount of hydrocarbon emitted 1 hour chain saw = good source of of late season nectar for honeybees and food plant is unique for its long nectar sp the height is relatively short (6-8”), but in bloom, the stalks for mule deer and elk. The This cultivar “Umatilla” has car meadow habitats from improved vigor and growthwhite appear can reach up to200 18”. miles Native in to upland (Ogle blooms 1997). Itthat requires wellfrom June to A

ranges from 12-30” sagebrush plains to subalpine ridges, it occurs east of the soils and is native from sagebrush desertstall to by 9-18” wide. It D 3New- drained ponderosa pine forests, mostly eastplace of thewith Cascade Mts, moist partial sun, particularly Cascades British Columbia to California, east to per Referfrom to Site Specific Recommendations Idaho Native Plant guide p34 . southern BC to south noon. centralSoil OR and into be west central should moderately fine for sagittata Arrowleaf foundland, NY, IL, and southBalsamorhiza to the Rocky Mountain States. fromBalsamroot ID.

Tender leaf shoots of silvery velvet emerge in April or May, prior to the unfurling of large deep green, basal, arrowhead D3 SE 3 shaped leaves. Plants eventually grow 18” wide, with numerous 12-24” tall flower stalks. Each stalk carries a Aquilegia formosa Western Columb Erigeron compositus Cut-leaf Daisy single flower head of golden petals surrounding a darker Growing slightly taller than Aquilegia ca This small wildflower (6” tall) produces numerous white to center. Plants don’t flower until they are about five years lavender flowers with yellow centers on short, single stalks can reach 2-3’ by 18” wide. It has the sam old. It provides spring forage for deer and elk, and grows in spring. The leaves are divided at the tips, almost fern well on hot dry slopes once established. A few weeks after but in red and yellow. It blooms from spr like, and covered in hairs. The short stature and wooly Western Columbine prefers medium to co flowering thesun foliage will begin to dry up and die as the texture protect this plant from the blazing and constant plant goes dormant until the following spring. It is a good cooler location with moderate water. Erigeron compositus

wind of its native habitat of sagebrush deserts to subalpine to markfor therock location, soorthe large taproot is not mountain ridges. This makesidea it excellent gardens accidentally dug up in the or fall when the plant is exposed slopes with good drainage. The genus name Erisummer is D without It isman’s native from lowland to mid elevations Greek for early; and geron, old man, foliage. like an old gray in thesummer mountains, and(right) isfrom widespread east of the Cascades. whiskers (Phillips 1997). The common name comes Eriogonum umbellatum with dark yellow flowers (left), Aster spp. Wild Aster Hesperaloe parviflora (foliage, left), flowers Aquilegia caerulea Colorado Blue Columbine Camassia quamash Blue Camas its use as an insect repellant, where it would be hung in the E. heracleoides with creamy flowers (right) Gaillardia aristata Blanket Flower This plant is unique for its long nectar house spurs or onburned blue and The flower consists of six to Erepel 5 fleas and other insect pests (Ogle This blue perennial to 24”x 24” with flowerfrom June to1997). DThere 3Theare blooms that appear August. size distinct, narrow petals wildflower growswhite three varieties: some are found along rays aoutwards mix of red, yellow or orange, blooming fromtall summer ranges from 12-30” by 9-18” wide. It does well in aat low Texas pointing straight sandy riverbanks elevations in WY, OR and adjacent Hesperaloe parviflora Red Yucca Balsamorhiza sagittata Arrowleaf Balsamroot to pattern, fall. Drought wellwith drained soils moisttoplace partial sun, particularly the late afterto form a star in the tolerant in moderate ID,inwhile at moderate to high elevations in the Reaching 4’ others tallvelvet bygrow 3’emerge wide, this slow growing yucca-like Tender leaf shoots of silvery in April or May, noon. Soil should be adequate drainage. onceisestablished. when clustered in moderately groups, fine for center of which six bright Looks excellent Rocky Mountains.

plant produces summer that can reach 5’ tall. prior to the unfurling of large red deepblooms green, in basal, arrowhead yellow stamens. plants WhileThe short lived, it reseeds easily and is deer resistant. leaves are long grow and narrow andwith have a gray green color,5 shaped leaves.ItsPlants eventually 18” wide, grow 1-2’ xNative 1-2’, bloom intermittently east of the Cascades at 5,000’- 9,000’ numerous tall not flower stalks. stalk a flowers prove to be but are sharp like Each yucca. Thecarries tubular D 3 12-24” from mid-May to June, and in open meadows, hills and plains. single flower hummingbird head of goldenfavorites, petals surrounding a darker and the large black seeds that prefer fine to coarse soil Aquilegia formosa Western Columbine center. Plants don’t flower until are about five yearscoarse soil, it will follow are easy tothey germinate. Requiring where very moist springs Growing slightly taller than Aquilegia caerulea, thisfor species old. It provides forage deerwithout and elk,adequate and growsdrainage. Very rotspring in heavy clay soils are followed by relatively can reachD 2-3’2by 18”well wide. hasdry the same tolerant unique flower, onIthot slopes once established. A few weeks drought and widely used in theafter southwest US, it is a dry summers. To the Native but in red and yellow.flowering It bloomsthe from spring to begin summer. foliage to dry up and die as the Geranium Sticky Geranium native ofwill TX. Americans of the North-viscosissimum E3 Western Columbine prefers medium to coarse soilfollowing and a plant goes dormant until the spring. It is a good west, the root was indispeGrowing 12-30” tall and wide, the showy flowers dot grassy Achillea Western Yarrow Aquilegia millefolium caerulea cooler location with moderate water. idea to mark the location, so the large taproot is not Balsamorhiza sagittata nsable as a mountain food source. from Mayintodense, September. are Camassia quamash White flowers fadingslopes to cream bloom round The petalsaccidentally dug up in the summer or fall when the plant is Anaphalis margaritacea Lewis and Clark’s fortunate pink to lavender, with dark red veins. Opposite leaves are Dspring 2 to fall on this common topped clusters from without foliage. It is native from lowland to mid elevations encounter with the Nez Perce Indians in September of 1805 D mountains, 46 wildflower. Some consider it weedy because in moist D4 in the and is widespread D east 4 of the Cascades. caerulea Colorado Blue Columbine meant their very survival. The NezAquilegia Perce Indians knew the



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Design Problems& Solutions Design Problems

Design Solutions

• How does integrated design of urban environment benefit the city of Boise?

• Divert and daylight Grove Street Canal from 9th St. to 15th St.

• Can built and natural environments be integrated through master planning? • How can urban planning address history of place, reintroducing area to origins while using sustainable building systems and mixeduse land use to encourage and support a neighborhood? • Can water urbanism provide regeneration of urban facbrics? • What are the opportunities of infill development on the site? • How can we challenge the Boise convention of river edges as private domain and encourage active urban space with a strong sense of place and a stronger connection to downtown Boise and the Linen District? • How do we eliminate the barrier the Connector creates at the seams of the Linen District and the River-Myrtle District? •How does the natural environment inform architecture, rather than architecture inform the natural environment?

• Create high-density protected mixed-use development between Front and Myrtle from 15th to 11th Streets • Implent infill housing and public space between Grand Avenue and the Connector and along Grove Street • Use water as a means of pedestrian gathering, connection, and navigation to connect three urban renewal districts. •Bring river into city: o Irrigate green spaces o Pedestrian friendly o Integrated urban flood management • Use the common element of water to create urban edges and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. • Geothermal can be used not only as a general energy source but can also be a heat source for Grove Street pedestrian paths in colder winter months.

•What constitutes a successful public realm and how does the public realm inform architectural program?



PA Rt 3

F inal D esign



Proposed Vehicular Flows Proposed Green Space

Proposed Figure Ground

Existing Vehicular Flows Existing Green Space

Working with the existing urban fabric, implement a pedestrian corridor along 14th Street Floodway to connect the Boise RIver to the Connector site and the Linen District. Reinforce the pedestrian corridor along Grove Street from the Boise Centre on the Grove through the Linen District via various opportunities to interact with water. Water acts as navigation tool while vehicular corridors are separated from pedestrian paths. Use existing Pioneer Corridor as secondary pedestrian path from site to the river. Within the Connector site, a tertiary pedestrian corridor is created as a link to BoDo. A constructed wetland that responds to the historic floodplain provides a new type of water urbanism.

Existing Figure Ground


16 t

hS tre



Grove Street Canal The Linen Building

Gr Str

ee t


15t h

I-184/Hwy 26 Connector



Pedestrian Access under I-184 to Canyon Typology



tre et

Multi-Family Apartments hS

Stream Typology

14 t


Extend Proposed Reed St. to 17th St.


Canyon Typology

Mixed-Use Block w/Commercial Emphasis & Parking Structures

Single Family Row Houses



B na

a eric



r Str

e Riv

Studios & Galleries along 15th St.


1 Existing Apartments along 14th St. Existing Single-Family Residences along 14th St.


ed Re eet


Shopping/ Grocer/ Drug



Extend 12th Street to Myrtle Street


Multi-Family Apartments Sho ne


Gathering Space



nue Ave nd


Boise River Green Belt

4 Restaurants/ Small Businesses

14th Street Flood Way & Pedestrian Corridor

Pedestrian Access along Connector Edge

Single Family Row Houses

Garden Loft Apartments

Multi-Family Apartments

Mixed-Use Office Block w/ Parking Structure

Boise Mission

Existing Single-Family Residences

US Post Office




M yr





SIngle-Family Residence Townhomes 12th



Gathering Space

Boise River Aversion Dam

Mixed-Use Development

Constructed Wetland/ Floodplain

River Information Center t




Ash S

Live-Work Units


tre e 11t hS

Pioneer Corridor


Pier & Boardwalk

Mixed-Use Development





Adjacent Building Parking





Tree On-Street Bike Strip Parking Lane



Bike On-Street Lane Parking



Tree Strip

Public R.O.W.

Existing Street Section



Pri- Public vate R.O.W.

10’ Canal




Tree On-Street Bike Strip Parking Lane





Bike On-Street Lane Parking



Tree Strip

Public R.O.W.

Proposed Street Section

Grove Street Design The current Grove Street condition allows for large building setbacks from the street, most of which are used for vehicular parking right at building entrances. The proposed street section uses the setback as a pedestrian corridor, removing the cars from the semi-private realm in front of shops and giving the space to users. The alternates for the canal design offer different levels of user interaction and right of way.

Restricted Interaction

Site Plan

Direct Interaction



High-density mixed-use development between Front and Myrtle Streets creates an urban edge that directly activates the natural edge. The building forms of the site respond to the builtup topography and reeds at water’s edge while optimizing daylight exposure and views.

Perspective looking Northeast from Condominiums

Connector Site Section Not to Scale

15th Street

14th St. Ped. Corr.

The Connector Development The site is flanked by high volume, high noise Front and Myrtle Streets which required the development of the site to be protected. A canyon typology applied to the development allows for the buildings to turn their backs on the exterior, creating a safe haven deep within the site. Built-up topography in the wedge block integrated natural and built environments, leading users to explore and discover. Garden lofts occupy the second block, responding in a more abstract fashion to the canyon typology. The last block ends in typical urban fabric massing, mixed-use with a parking structure and pedestrian alley.

Site Plan

Apartments Condominiums Arts/Culture

The site transects the 14th Street pedestrian corridor, using water to reinforce sense of place and inform architectural decisions

13th Street

Mixed-Use Offices

12th Street

11th Street



The Wetland Development Returning the River-Myrtle District to the historic floodplain, this portion of the project lets organic river edges define building placement and massing. Buildings are oriented for optimal daylight, river views and pedestrian flow. The 14th Street Floodway is temporal,reclaiming a vehicular roadway with high spring waters from the river, and receeding into a different character during the summer. A boardwalk connects the site to the existing Pioneer Corridor and transverses the site, providing views and interaction with the river. A promenade terminates 13th Street, ending in a pier that reaches out to the river.

Apartments Condominiums Arts/Culture Mixed Use Development Offices Live-Work Units

Site Plan


14th Street Site Section Not to Scale Boise River



Reed Street

River Street

Wetland Pier & Boardwalk

Grand Avenue

I-184 East Myrtle St.

I-184 West Front Front St. Street

Grove Street

Main Street








Existing Sidewalk

Pedestrian Path

Flood Way

Pedestrian Path

Existing Sidewalk

Section Perspective at 14th Street Floodway

Rain Garden Rainwater collection for urban planting irrigation

Bioswale Stormwater collection and filtration for entry into canal system

Water Typologies Various methods for collecting rainwater and stormwater can be implemented throughout the site. Bioswales, rain gardens and permable structures all allow for controlled movement of water in flood mitigation and planting irrigation. The 14th Street Floodway acts as a pedestrian corridor providing flood mitigation and place identity. The hard urban edge of 14th Street give users a specific experience as they pass through a residential neighborhood to access commercial development at the river.

Stormwater Development Issues

Permeable Berm Flood mitigation and wetland remediation

1. Flood management: • Annual flooding • Flash flooding o Rapid snow melt o High precipitation 2. Filtration: • Bio-swales • Groundwater recharge • Remediate combined sewer overflow 3. Irrigation: • Bio-swales • Drought-tolerant plantings • Greenscapes along streets and building edges



C onclusion Project Evaulation The original intent of this project began with daylighting the Grove Street Canal. Throughout the process, it was apparent that a larger comprehensive move using the same idea was more appropriate for the larger context. The Grove Street Canal acted as the main driver of concept as I continued to build my reaserch and supporting conecpts. The overall masterplan implemented a simple solution to connect three very disjointed and controversial districts in downtown Boise, offering public realm development ideas to the city instead of focusing soley on building program and use. The project’s subtle yet poweful result allows existing factors of identity within each district to remain in tact, returning users to a historical context while encouraging sustainable urban design.



BIBLIOGRAPHY Capitol City Development Corporation CCDC. Web. Accessed Sept-Dec 2011. Cherry, Nathan, and Nagle, Kurt. Grid / Street / Place : Essential Elements of Sustainable Urban Districts. Chicago: American Planning Association Planners Press. 2009. Dixon, Levine, & McAuley. “Locating Impropriety: Street Drinking, Moral Order, and the Ideological Dilemma of Public Space” Political Psycology. Vol. 27, No. 2 (Apr., 2006), p. 187-206. Published by: International Society of Political Psycology. Article Stable URL: Holl, Steven. “Phenomena and Idea.” Idea and Phenomena. Lars Muller Publishers. 2002. Kwinter, Sanford. “The Complex and the Singular.” Architectures of Time: Toward a Theory of the Event in Modern Culture. MIT Press. 2001. Lartigue, Charlotte. “natURban, master thesis Chalmers, exhibition poster.” Issuu, 31 May 2010. Web. Accessed 30 Aug 2011. Lee, Paula. “Architecture and . . .” Assemblage.No. 41 (Apr., 2000), p. 42. Published by: The MIT Press. Article Stable URL: “The Vision.” Web. Accessed Sept-Dec 2011. Mirzaie, Newsh. “Master of Urban Design thesis.” Issuu, 2 Jun 2011. Web. Accessed 5 Sep 2011. Pearl District Precedent Information. Web. Accessed May 2011. Pearl District TOD Information. Web. Accessed May 2011. Reuter, John T. “Razed & Confused: Boise’s turbulent history of urban renewal.” Web. Accessed 28 April 2011. Virilio, Paul. “Improbable Architecture.” Lost Dimension. Semiotext(e). 1991.

IMAGE CREDITS Pearl District Before: Pearl District After: Pearl District TOD: Pearl District Jamison Square: Pearl District Street: Caper’s Block Photographs:

Single Family Home: Condos on the Waterfront: New Aventine Community: Plaza by Martha Schwartz: Traffic Circle: Union Station: River Street History: River @ Old Fort Boise: Boise River: City of Boise: Capitol City Development Corporation: Idaho Smart Growth:


Redefining Water Urbanism  

Water typologies inform the architectural agenda through integration of sustainable neighborhood development and sense of place in an urban...

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