Boise Passive House’s bold gestures support an environmentally friendly design

Boise Passive House by Haas Architecture combines sleek, contemporary design and environmental efficiency

Boise passive house hero exterior seen from below
(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

The Boise Passive House, perched above a steep slope overlooking the Idaho city's Crestline Ridge, sits on the edge between urban and rural. The project, designed by San Francisco-based Haas Architecture, headed by Christopher Haas, was a commission for a family of five's 'forever' home – and sought to work with the site's existing ecology while bringing in purpose-driven, contemporary design. 

Boise passive house exterior detail of entrance

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

Boise Passive House: modern, environmental design

Subtly weaving sustainable architecture principles that ensure the new home is sensitive to its environment, the design team orientated the views towards the Owyhee mountain range in the distance for maximum visual effect in the living experience. 

Boise passive house exterior close up of terrace

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

'Sustainability, resilience, well-being and preserving the native ecology as core values, acted as the driving force of the project’s design and net-zero goals,' the architects write.

Boise passive house main living space looking out

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

Making use of orientation, careful material selection and massing in order to reduce the building site's and home's overall energy consumption were priorities during the design. The architecture is enhanced, as opposed to compromised, by such an approach, the architects highlighted. 

Boise passive house exterior from the street entrance

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

'The project’s uniquely shaped roof (derived from extensive 3D solar modelling), leverages passive fundamentals, by optimising the sun’s free energy. The design allows the home to embrace the sun’s winter warmth while restricting summer solar heat gain, as the roof tracks the sun’s seasonal paths to optimise solar benefits.'

Boise passive house interior of fireplace

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

Working towards the same goal, the use of pre-fabricated components (SIP – Structural Insulated Panels – and ICF – Insulated Concrete Forms) helped keep cost, labour, installation time and material waste down. 

Boise passive house hero exterior at dusk

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

Meanwhile, the use of natural materials, the light and ventilation strategy, and the design team's overall sensitive development also support the inhabitants' health and wellness - supported by the interior design by Pappas Miron. Boise Passive House exemplifies how modern architecture can harmoniously coexist with environmentally friendly techniques and a mindful approach, to striking effect. 

Boise passive house bedroom interior

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).