Coincidentally, the owner, occupant, architect, and, to an extent, the builder of this building are all one in the same. Martin Hahle, the said owner, occupant, architect graduated from the University of Nebraska with a masters in architecture and joined the firm CSHQA in 1993.
After graduating, Hahle wanted to move to the West to experience more outdoor recreation. Initially, he considered a job in Colorado, but the only serious job offer he received came from Boise-based CSHQA, whose company president Jeff Shneider is also a University of Nebraska alumni. Hahle was happy to take any job he could get.
From there, Hahle became an aviation expert in the firm, doing a lot of work on airports; he truly loves his job. “The focus in recent years is to produce something that is a gateway to the community,” Hahle says of airports. “It’s kind of like a gateway to the world. (Airports) are technically very complex facilities and are projects that last a considerable amount of time. I like the diversity of projects that I work on; it really lets you explore and understand and relate with the overall community. It’s just a really interesting job.”
Hahle was, in fact, on the team that designed the Boise Airport, one of the most important buildings that his firm has ever been a part of. While airports are Hahle’s favorite buildings, he also designed his own home.
The house was built in 1999 at 2979 Hard Rock Drive. His residence in the foothills of East Boise is a beautiful New England/Coastal Contemporary style house with spectacular views of the Boise Valley.
Landlocked as we may be in Boise, the Hahle’s had a vision of bringing the feeling of the coast to their house. To some prospectors, the lot did not have much potential. However, Mr. Hahle brought an insightful approach to the property. Incorporating an elevated and protected front porch, he took advantage of the lot’s line of sight. Having to blast rock from the property (as many builders must do in the foothills) they recycled much for the landscaping. This is also a hobby of Mr. Hahle; the property is always perfectly manicured.
One outstanding feature of the house comes from the great moving space that is created by the offset entryway. From above, the house is an “L” shape with a diagonal slice through the top of the house that begins at the front door and continues to the back porch façade. The simple shape of the house allowed Mr. Hahle to combine the living space, dining room, and kitchen, making the space feel much larger than it is. The structure of the ceiling and division of entryway and kitchen makes the house flow and move and spatially expand and shrink. Mr. Hahle also used large windows on the front of the house to capitalize on the views (a feature that is missing from many newer homes in the foothills).
The color scheme of the house also betters its stance and elegance. The lower half is primarily brown and blends the building with the landscaping. The tan upper half commands from atop. Similarly the styling and angle of the porch (parallel to the entryway) gives the home an intelligent face.
The uncluttered design has an elegant, almost mathematical feel. Many of the lines and walls in the house are very exact, with varying sizes of windows. These windows combined with built-in cabinetry provide rectangular symmetry in an asymmetrical floor plan. Even the placement of the lights adds to the mathematical elegance.
For Boise, this home could have an important impact on the community. For one, this house brings in new ideas to a community that is already very willing to adopt fresh thoughts. This house is truly amazing, and could easily be adopted into other homes that are built. The result could be more houses with Coastal Contemporary features. While this is house is still new and its architectural significance can’t yet be measured, it certainly has the potential to be the cornerstone for Boise’s homes in the future.