Designed in an eclectic Romanesque style, the Johnson block is Idaho’s sole surviving example of the work of John C. Paulsen from Helena, Montana, the architect of other Boise landmark buildings such as the Natatorium, City Hall and the Columbia Theatre, all of which have since been destroyed.
The design strategy was to restore the exterior of the building, including the rear courtyard, provide as much open retail space in the interior as possible, while preserving and archiving historical details and construction techniques. One of the two turrets suffered fire damage and was reconstructed. Bearing walls were removed and replaced with black stained beams and massive antique columns. A new stair was added which incorporated decorative metal, teakwood and red fir stair treads. Two original skylights were also restored.
Copper flashing and gold leaf paint exterior details anticipate the excavations of the late 1800’s materials and techniques exposed on the interior.
This project received a Orchid Award for achievement in historic preservation by the Idaho Historic Preservation Council.
Design Team: Dwaine Carver, Steve Trout, Rob Powell