Library! at Cole and Ustick

Boise, Idaho

How do we create a garden within a concrete jungle?

Library! at Cole and Ustick. Front of public library building with glass curtainwall bringing natural light deep into the lobby. The sides of the building are clad in metal that resembles shingles. The roof is flat and the walls of the facility are completely vertical.

FFA worked in close collaboration with the City of Boise and provided presentations to several public forums as part of the process to achieve a design that met all of the goals the community envisioned. In so doing, the programming elements of the Library! at Cole & Ustick have been used as prototypical design criteria for other Boise branches.

Located on what was a neglected retail strip, the new facility serves as a catalyst for revitalizing the surrounding area. The dense landscaping around the building acts as a shell, wrapping a natural habitat around the library while forming a bridge between the neighborhood and building.

The library serves as a community living room, offering a warm and inviting venue for cultural and educational events year-long. Key spaces include meeting rooms for the community, which are available for after-hours gatherings and events, and a lounge seating area with a welcoming hearth. The building design maximizes daylighting, utilizing a 25-foot-high glass curtain wall as well as a series of skylights over the main reading room.

Year Completed:
15,000 sf
Project Contact:
Troy Ainsworth, AIA, NCARB
Principal, Market Lead

LEED Gold Certified

Wrapping Landscape
Activity Zoning
Program Parti

Transparency and Art
Exterior Expression of the Hearth
Stainless Steel Tiles
Connection to Nature
Folded Wood Plane of the Hearth
Children’s Play Area