From humble beginnings as a one-man, one-room architect�s office established in 1889, Boise�s CSHQA has grown to become a 100-person architecture and engineering firm with additional studios in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City and Roseburg, Ore.
The studios are designed to address specific market sectors, including aviation; corporate/office; education, sports and recreation; government/civic; health care; housing and mixed-use projects; and retail, restaurant and hospitality in a “soup-to-nuts” approach, says Jeff Shneider, CSHQA’s president and the firm’s visionary leader since 1985.
As the economy has ebbed and flowed over the past 120 years, this diversification has proven key to the firm’s continued success.
John Maulin, the firm’s vice president of operations, says that unlike smaller firms that may focus primarily on one type of work, CSHQA’s diversity gives it an edge in the marketplace, no matter the economic conditions.
“There isn’t any safe harbor anymore; we have to keep reinventing ourselves,” Shneider says, noting that no market has been unaffected by the recession. “Everybody has their track shoes on—we’re just thankful we are as versatile as we are.”
Several name changes took place over the years to reflect the firm’s additional partners, and by 1979, the firm was known as Cline Smull Hamill Quintieri Associates, eventually shortened to CSHQA. In 1989, 100 years after it was established, CSHQA added engineers and created a one-stop shop to provide architectural, engineering and planning services.
“We were one of the first design firms to add in-house engineers,” says Allen Quintieri, one of the firm’s retired principals and the ‘Q’ in CSHQA. Since then, interior designers and landscape architects have also joined the team, enabling CSHQA to meet the needs of practically any client, Quintieri says.Building Relationships
Shneider says another significant transition took place in the 1980s when CSHQA strategically shifted its focus from the art of architecture to the business of architecture.
“We moved from marketing projects to building relationships—and this really put us on the growth curve,” Shneider says. He adds that much of the firm’s business has come from repeat clients, both at home in Boise and nationwide.
CSHQA has designed numerous projects for national clients such as Albertsons, Safeway and Whole Foods Markets, and it maintains ongoing relationships with the Boise Airport, the city and state, Ada County and several Idaho school districts closer to home.
“You live and die by the local economy,” although the firm’s work in the health care and aviation industries has also created a presence for CSHQA from coast to coast, says Larry Kalousek, CSHQA treasurer.