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Safdie Architects Appointed to Design New Library Campus in Downtown Boise


Anchored by Main Library, the Campus Will Be a Public Gathering Place for Education, Innovation, and Culture in Boise

Anchored by Main Library, the Campus Will Be a Public Gathering Place for Education, Innovation, and Culture in Boise

Safdie Architects (SA) has been selected to design a new Civic Center for the City of Boise Public Library. The downtown campus is envisioned as an iconic gateway to the city—a center for life-long learning, information, and cultural activities. Plans call for the Main Library to be reimagined on the existing site, connecting life-long learning, arts, and history into one cultural core. The library campus will also have a flexible events space, city archives, and public home for the Boise City Department of Arts and History.

Safdie Architects was selected based on its close alignment with the city’s vision for the library campus and the principles the firm embodies. The firm is noted for its civic and cultural building portfolio and design of buildings that reflect the geographic and cultural vitality of their context.

Working in close partnership with the City of Boise and the local team of CSHQA Architects, the goal of the project is to create a destination for civic and cultural engagement that responds to the continued evolution of the library and its role in community life. The team also includes Nancy Tessman, former head librarian of the Salt Lake City Main Library, as an advisor on community engagement.

“The City of Boise has a clear vision for how the new Boise Library can be a gateway to the city,” said Moshe Safdie. “The building program, the public engagement process, and the site itself will be the foundation of a design solution unique to Boise, one that reflects its highest aspirations and values as a community.”

“We were drawn to work with Safdie Architects to realize our vision of Boise’s new library campus,” said Mayor Dave Bieter. “Their depth of experience designing libraries and cultural gathering spaces around the globe is characterized by a commitment to the public realm. The new main library and cultural space will be a source of pride for generations to come.”

Anticipated to open in 2021, the new library campus will anchor a burgeoning Cultural District on the 8th Street corridor, a major thoroughfare connecting Boise State University and downtown.

Project Consultants

  • Design Architect: Safdie Architects
  • Architect of Record: CSHQA
  • Structural Engineers: KPFF Engineers
  • Environmental Design Consultant: Atelier Ten
  • Community Engagement Advisor: Nancy Tessman

About the City of Boise

Our vision is to make Boise the most livable city in the country by fostering vibrant communities, innovative enterprises, and lasting environments on behalf of our nearly 225,000 residents. Visit www.cityofboise.org to learn more.

About the Boise Public Library

The Boise Public Library improves community members' quality of life by supporting their efforts to enhance knowledge, realize creative potential, and share ideas and stories. We are committed to intellectual freedom, universal access, innovation, and providing a world-class experience for all members of the community. Visit www.boisepubliclibrary.org to learn more.

About Safdie Architects

Safdie Architects is an architecture and urban design studio imbued with a spirit of idealism and innovation. With intense personal involvement of Moshe Safdie and the core group of principals, the practice operates in the model of a design studio environment—research-oriented and forward-thinking, drawing upon a depth of experience to solve contemporary building challenges in imaginative and unexpected ways.

Safdie Architects is active in a wide variety of project types, scales, and sectors, designing museums, cultural centers, libraries, housing, mixed-use developments, transportation centers, and master plans in geographically and culturally diverse places. The studio’s projects around the world have become beloved resources and symbols of their communities as well as regional and national landmarks. Recent library and civic projects include the Salt Lake City Public Library, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Vancouver Library Square. The practice has its design headquarters in Boston with offices in Jerusalem, Toronto, Shanghai, and Singapore.


CSHQA is passionate about sustainable, energy-efficient design and creating healthy, enduring spaces for people in which to live, work, and play. CSHQA are people who listen, creating design that speaks.

The award-winning design firm specializes in full-service architecture and engineering, interior and environmental design, landscape architecture, telecommunications, and building forensic services. Nearly 100 professionals design civic, education, multi-family, commercial, retail, hospitality, aviation, and healthcare projects. Serving clients in all 50 states, CSHQA has offices in Boise, Denver, and Sacramento.