Idaho Interactive Literacy Center Project Exhibit Set for April 14

Friday, April 9 2010

Written by Candace Lowe

BOISE, Idaho – University of Idaho students have partnered up with Stan Steiner, Chair of the Literacy Department at Boise State University to design a children’s literacy center for the City of Boise.

The design showcase will take place Wednesday, April 14, at 6 p.m. at the Stueckle Sky Center, 1910 University Dr. in Boise, and will feature the individual design concepts developed by students in Frank Jacobus’ 4th year design studio.

“The collaboration between our students and faculty from BSU was terrific," said Jacobus, assistant professor of architecture at the University of Idaho. “The results of the project show the potential of partnering with our colleagues around the state.”

“The Interactive Literacy Center Project will be a space primarily for children, where they can go to learn, interact and be inspired,” said Anthony M. Giannini, a University of Idaho 4th year design student from Coeur d'Alene.

Together, the students and BSU faculty member set out to build a program that would best facilitate the site, would address the needs of the BSU campus and the needs of the city in regards to children’s literature.

The University of Idaho design team’s job was to develop a literacy facility that would incorporate a children’s museum, library, play space, classrooms, tutorial spaces, multiple research centers, bookstore and café, while incorporating a design to which the children could relate. The proposed literacy center would also have space dedicated to research involving adult literacy.

“An important part of this project was that the class got to deal with a type of client that we often undervalue in architecture –children. Designing a building whose primary inhabitants are children opened up all sorts of wonderful insights by our students into new ways to think about and create space,” said Jacobus.

The site of the literacy center will act as a gateway between the vibrancy of the downtown atmosphere and the learning center of BSU. It will be located along the Boise River and the Boise green belt. The location takes advantage of the unique urban center, open space and specialized learning environment.

“I would love to see a project that exceeds the limits and inspires children, a conventional and prescriptive building will not transcend children’s minds,” said Giannini “Most people do not understand the power of good architecture.”

After the exhibit Steiner will continue to look for donors and try to generate awareness and interest for the project around Boise.

By keeping the spirits of the project alive, the interactive space could become a tourist attraction for Idaho in collaboration with the City of Boise, and a space that Idahoans will want to share with friends, family and visitors.
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit