In 1949, Idaho Statesman publisher Margaret Cobb Ailshie hired Pietro Belluschi to design a facility for the newspaper’s plant and operations building in downtown Boise. She was familiar with Belluschi’s modernist Oregonian Building, a newspaper office and printing plant recently completed in Portland. Belluschi’s Idaho Statesman Building is an early American example of International Style modernism, having been completed the same year as Mies van der Rohe’s Lake Shore Apartments in Chicago, and a year before Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s Lever House in New York.
Fronting Capitol Park, the Idaho Statesman Building’s proximity to the Idaho State Capitol gave reporters convenient access to political news and served as a visual reminder of the critical role the free press plays in the democratic process. The two-story, 34,700-square-foot building has a steel-frame structure and is clad in large, flat, polished slabs of granite and marble. A crisp and subtly articulated rectangular volume, it is characteristic of Belluschi’s materially informed modernism. The taut volume is inflected only at the Sixth Street entry. The entrance and its flanking lobby fenestration are inset three feet, allowing for low planters and a shallow, covered entry. The first story is clad in five-foot-high pink and gray Minnesota granite panels that terminate at the top of the aluminum-framed glazing, set flush to the facade; the granite is distinctively cut with large swirling grains. The upper facade is clad in white and light gray Vermont marble with asymmetrical horizontal ribbon windows set flush to the building’s envelope.
The main floor was devoted to executive, circulation, and advertising offices; the second floor contained editorial offices; and the presses, supplies, and mechanical equipment were housed in the basement. The Idaho Statesman vacated the building in 1972. It is currently owned by the Idaho Department of Lands and also houses a law office.
Clausen, Meredith L. Pietro Belluschi: Modern American Architect.Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.
“Margaret Cobb Ailshie: Guardian of the Policy.” Idaho Sunday Statesman(Boise), July 26, 1964.
Pietro Belluschi Architectural Collection, Coll 2, Oregon Historical Society Research Library, Portland, OR.
“Statesman Purchases New Building Site.” Idaho Sunday Statesman(Boise), May 8, 1949.
Stubblebine, Jo. The Northwest Architecture of Pietro Belluschi. New York: F.W. Dodge Corporation, 1953.