A Hidden Home And Priceless City Amenity

In 2015, the studio & home site of artist James Castle was purchased by the City of Boise with the purpose of saving the historical site from redevelopment. Years of neglect had threatened the integrity of the main house and the artist shed studio, which required extensive structural exploration in order to develop a plan for rehabilitation. Combined with an ambitious operations plan, the entire site was programmed as a public facility capable of accommodating an Artist-In-Residence program (AIR), art exhibitions, historical exhibits, lectures, community events, and daily talks & tours of the site - all contained within 1,900 square feet.

Stabilization efforts saved what was left of the main house, and also revealed the build-history of the home - a layer cake of additions, reconfigurations, and over-builds encasing an original one-room farmhouse at the center. An architectural plan was devised to showcase the vernacular construction as a kind of backdrop to the new interior spaces. The gallery is encased, floor and ceiling with the recovered history of the structure, while providing the flexibility of traditional white gallery wall display space. The resulting architecture is at once program space and historical exhibit.

The facility includes an artist-in-residence (AIR) program with living quarters and art studio, a central gallery space, a small retail space, and a permanent exhibit. As the Architect of Record, Byron shepherded this project from initiation to final completion, and then into exhibit fabrication and installation. Byron enjoyed working closely with Boise City staff to deliver a facility capable of meeting the demands of an ambitious program. Future efforts to stabilize and conserve James’ artist shed (at the rear of the property), and Cozy Cottage trailer (not presently on-site) will be underway in 2018. Thanks to the forethought and commitment by the City of Boise, this site will continue to be a place in which art is created.

Byron also designed and installed “The Material Life of James Castle”, an exhibit in the Back Bedroom of the James Castle house. Click here for more information.


James Castle House

2015 - 2018

5015 N. Eugene St.
Boise, ID 83703

City of Boise


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"Sometimes in life, if you are lucky, you meet truly special people and if you are really lucky that special person is deeply talented and inspired.  Byron Folwell is this special person."

"At every corner and detail of this historic structure a decision had to be made that could make or break the future of a home that held the memories of an artist and his family. Other than the form of the house all else seemed to have disappeared, until Byron developed a plan that would turn the house into a place that could recapture the history of an artist whose artwork has gained the attention of the international art world. The James Castle House, as a result of Byron’s inspired design and his deep connection to Castle’s work, has created a place that will continue to inspire and teach."

Jacque Crist, Managing Partner, James Castle Collection & Archive. 2018.

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