The Idaho Architecture Project is a community-powered catalog of historic properties in Idaho. It is the main focus of Preservation Idaho’s Education Committee and serves as a state-wide resource, using a wiki format, where anyone can contribute to the documentation and appreciation of historical buildings.
The Idaho Architecture Project was originally created as the Boise Architecture Project in 2006 as an end of the year classroom project for AP U.S. History students at Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho. The project was conceptualized by Douglas Stan, a Social Studies teacher at Timberline and a graduate from Occidental College, where he took Professor Robert Winter’s L.A. Architecture. This course is the inspiration for the Boise Architecture Project, and sought to introduce students to neighborhood architecture and architectural history.
Originally, the project started as a simple building research project for students, using informational sources, interviews, and student photos to document historic and architecturally significant buildings. Those projects were uploaded to the BAP website and over time, the Project added a large number of student researched projects to the database. Eventually, BAP students also volunteered for city history and preservation organizations, attended neighborhood meetings, conducted architecture walks, and participated in many local history events at local landmarks such as the Idaho Penitentiary and Julia Davis Park.
The Project is at its core a new media project focused on using technology to document history and as an entry point into the community. BAP students were early pioneers in using social media to promote architectural preservation and history in Boise and were quickly recognized for their contributions. Preservation Idaho awarded the project an Orchid Award in 2008 and this was quickly followed by the AASLH’s Award of Merit. In 2010, BAP was selected by the National Trust to blog about preservation education for a year and student blogs were featured on the National Trust website. In order to fund much of the Projects’ tech needs, the BAP applied for and received a number of technology grants from the Idaho Humanities Council, the City of Boise and HP. And, in 2011, Doug Stan was invited to speak at the Fettuccine Forum and his talk titled Boise 360: Preservation, New Media, and the Boise Architecture Project laid out how the Project was bringing a whole new generation of students into local history and preservation efforts.
Preservation Idaho was an early supporter of the BAP and in 2012, the organization took over the financial support of the Project and Stan become the PI Education Committee Chair. Over the next two years, BAP students used a grant from the City of Boise to produce a series of documentary shorts titled Building Boise to honor the city’s Sesquicentennial. The finished videos can be found on Preservation Idaho’s website and on Youtube.