Monthly Archives: May 2012

Boise Armory: How to repurpose a 1930s structure

tm-facade-1207.JPGIn a previous post I included a link to the Helms Bakery District in Culver City, CA. Constructed in 1931, the building used concrete techniques similar to Boise’s Armory. The structure is much larger, was privately constructed for industrial use and carried architectural themes inspired by the Olympics and the ‘Zigzag Moderne’ style.  The developer and owner opted to clean and paint the concrete exterior, which in the case of the Helms Bakery structure helped accentuate architectural details and hide a few flaws.

Subcommittee member and local entrepreneur Dave Krick went out of his way last week to visit the Helms Bakery District and was given a tour of the site and businesses. According to a good friend who lives nearby, the renovation and repurposing has completely energized the surrounding neighborhoods and economy, stimulating additional investment.

Click on the photos below to see a few of the details of the Helms Bakery project (like solar panels on the roof and creating shade for parking), and imagine what we might highlight of the Boise Armory to bring modern relevance to Boise’s own historic structure. What would you emphasize? The National Guard presence, the project’s role in helping Boise transition to more prosperous times, or the fact that the building uses geothermal heat and connects multiple neighborhoods with the foothills?

What can we do to return this site and structure to a community asset? What businesses, nonprofits or community groups could use the location and space effectively? Stay tuned, and be ready with suggestions.