Office Envy: CSHQA

Before CSHQA, 200 Broad Street was an old railroad warehouse comprised of brick and concrete masonry with pink insulation, concrete floors and bare light bulbs dangling from the 1950’s wooden beams. CSHQA, a 125-year-old full-service design firm specializing in architecture and engineering, selected 200 Broad for its new office to do what they do best — transform ordinary into a design that speaks.  

Location: 200 Broad Street, Boise

Office: 19, 745 square feet

Employees: 90 total, 70 in Boise

General Contractor: Jordan-Wilcomb Construction, Inc.

Designer: CSHQA, who else?

From start to finish, CSHQA’s 2013 remodel was intended to mirror the company’s vision: creative, sustainable and collaborative with a touch of fearlessness. Recycling as much of the original building as possible was important to the company. Exposed insulation was taken from the ceiling and concealed within the building’s walls. The original roof structure was kept in place with a slight repurpose to ensure structural security. Large industrial concrete columns extend floor to ceiling, tastefully integrated throughout the office.

Below the concrete floors 4.6 miles of PEX piping pump a glycol-water solution that is geothermally heated or cooled to condition the office above. This incredibly efficient temperature system costs the company just six dollars a day in the winter.

Several air socks run the length of the main workspace blowing ventilated air out holes spaced six inches apart, keeping the air clean and evenly distributed throughout the office. Indoor and outdoor air quality sensors help regulate the ventilation system to filter out smoky or unclean air, keeping the space as comfortable and healthy as possible.  

Inspired by an open, well-lit space to drive accessibility and collaboration, the company designed the space to be conducive to teamwork. Beams of light from fourteen skylights dot the ceiling to meet a flood of natural light through what were once large warehouse doors. The employee lounge, known as the deli, features sliding doors that open to the patio at the main entry. Twenty-seven different LED fixtures throughout the building brighten and dim based on how bright the room is — a necessity when three of the four main walls are almost entirely windows.

The main entrance opens to electric blue walls lined with sunny meeting rooms and the front side of five executive offices walled with printed glass windows. The central studio includes over seventy identical workstations and informal meeting tables constructing a symmetrical, interactive workspace. Each workstation is equipped with mixed-use recycling while few garbage bins can be found in the main walkways to encourage daily sustainability. 

The space is much more than an office. KK Lipsey, Business Development Manager, describes it as “a living laboratory.” Clients of CSHQA are taken on an informal design tour upon entering the building, as the layout has aspects that could be adapted into any space. “We have learned from our office by designing, building and now living in it,” said Lipsey. 

Students of the their space, masters of their trade, CSHQA knows what it takes to turn a person shades of green with envy and their office proves it.