Property Type: Commercial
Neighborhood: Downtown  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Public  |  Year Built: 1939  |  Architectural Style: Art Moderne
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The architecture of the John Regan Hall is based on the style of Art Moderne. This style developed from the 1920s Art Deco, but it incorporates other architectural elements, such as ribbon windows. Art Deco originated in Paris in 1925, where architects took an industrial approach to commercial buildings. This is depicted in the buildings’ flat roofs and vertically oriented designs. Other common details of this style include rectangle cutouts or other stylized motifs. Art Deco became especially popular after World War I, as its elegant and stylish modern design was a reaction to the solemnity of the war. Several famous buildings incorporate the Art Deco style, such as the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center. Even the Golden Gate Bridge has some Art Deco details.The John Regan Hall was built in 1939 as an Art Deco/Art Moderne collaboration. However, certain elements set it apart from similar structures of the same design. The John Regan Hall contains a pair of corrugated glass windows displayed prominently at the front. Many open windows also allow plenty of natural light to flood into the various rooms. This particular design of an Art Moderne building included a brick underlay with a stucco covering. A basement is also built into the foundation, allowing for more space while maintaining the familiar single level, rectangular style.The interior, however, has not kept all of the same elements of the original design. The current residents of the building, Cole Architects, remodeled the interior in 2008. Old ’80s rugs were stripped, and the original hardwood flooring refurbished. The walls were repainted to white with contemporary colored accent walls. Even the front door was replaced with a more modern, black style. However, several of the initial aspects were maintained. The windows that let outside light in are the original ones. Some of the lighting remains the same as well, such as a craftsman style lighting fixture at the back entrance. However, as most of the lights were not energy efficient, many were replaced with newer models. The initial reason the Hall was built was to allow the American Legion Hall, a membership club for war veterans, to convene in a Boise chapter, and was dubbed the John Regan Hall to commemorate a former member. The building was designed by the thematic group Tourtellotte and Hummel, architects who planned out over 100 buildings across the nation. However, this building was a different style than what the firm usually did. And unfortunately, Boise was falling into an economic rut during the time, and building development funds were dwindling, making this one of the last buildings constructed before a production boom caused by World War II. Because they had not anticipated the Second World War, they soon found their membership greatly increased, without the necessary space to accommodate it. By 1948, they had moved out, and since then, several different practices have inhabited the building, including doctors and dentists offices, a chiropractor, radio offices, and architectural offices. The John Regan Hall hasn’t been the only project that Cole Architects has tackled. They?ve also participated in the building and remodeling of many structures throughout Idaho, as well as into Oregon and California. Idaho Mountain Touring was remodeled with their help recently, adding more steel and wooden trusses. The cafe in the Plaza 181 renovated the front of their building and their courtyard from the design Cole Architects created. In Eagle, Kenly Retail underwent a makeover into a craftsman style. Oasis Medical was remodeled by Cole Architects, too. Hotels in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, and Los Angeles were designed by the firm, including the Paramount Hotel. On Idaho St., the concept for Watercooler, a business designed to help other businesses start out, was imagined by Cole Architects. For Hawkins Companies, Cole Architects transformed a warehouse into a contemporary business office. The practice also aided in the development of the Bown Crossing. When asked about the primary focus of his designs, Stan Cole, the owner of Cole Architects, said that style is based on what the client wants, and what the building is used for. However, when given the opportunity, his style tends to lean towards contemporary.Soon, though, Cole Architects will not be the only residents of the John Regan Hall. TAG Historical Research, in its effort to fulfill Manifest Destiny, is moving into the John Regan Hall, which will provide them with more space than they have now. Involved in the history of Boise, the business had already researched the background of the building. Barbara Bauer, a member of the TAG crew, particularly likes the uniqueness of the style of the structure during the time it was built. She finds the location of the building to be most hospitable, as it is close to the center of downtown, while still surrounded by a residential area. Back in the late 1930?s and early 1940s when it was built, the John Regan Hall was one of the few non-residential buildings in the vicinity. The residential neighborhood being so close to downtown shows that Boise had been more of a resident-business affiliated town during that era, a fascinating idea to a historian. Bauer also appreciates the fact that the building is a kind of memorial, named after a member of the original inhabitants. Such a distinctive structure as the John Regan Hall deserves an in-depth and passionate essay. And such an essay deserves an epistle, or a dedication at least. Who better to dedicate a historical and architecturally significant piece to than a teacher of such subjects? Thus, this essay will henceforth be in honor of Doug StanWiens. And Architecture rocks. Especially the arches.