Remembering Stan Boles (1947-2024)

by Bora Architecture & Interiors

The Bora family has lost an architectural great.

Stan Boles, FAIA, was a singular force for four decades in our firm. His 1974 design proposal for the SW Portland YMCA, which went on to become Bora’s first AIA Honor Award-winning project, was an impressive start for an architect at age 27. Stan grew into a respected principal and leader in the Portland arts community, with his influence shaping Bora’s trajectory locally and nationally.

Stan’s design talent was evident in his many projects, including the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis Mondavi Center for the Arts, UT Austin Bass Hall renovation, and Stanford Knight Management Center. Stan also designed our Bora Beach House, followed by nearly a dozen private residences–a special design niche for us that continues to this day.

Fiercely dedicated to architecture and design, Stan was an architect’s architect—design was always on his mind, whether envisioning a complex master plan or finessing project details. He cared about architecture’s impact on the community, the special qualities of a site, even the sensation of touching a surface. His gravitas inspired young architects, cultivating a respect for the profession within and beyond Bora.

Raised in Houston with a Texas-sized personality to match, Stan was hip on trends, art, music, movies, food and wine. He was well-spoken, with an infectious laugh and a dry wit. His legendary Texas aphorisms are still oft repeated, but never in the same sly way he used them. If it says anything, he mounted a massive boar head on his office wall. Bold, confident, and a Bora champion to the core, Stan embraced life as he did design—always seeking to elevate the human experience.

“Stan had this way of pulling you into his orbit while taking genuine interest in you,” recalls Principal John O’Toole. “Bora would have been a very different firm without Stan, and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. We will miss him greatly.”

1: Stan, circa 1975
2: Stan’s design of the original SW Portland YMCA
3: Designing the Bora Beach House
4: Design meeting (left); Boles Beach House (right)
5: Bora Principals in 2011 (Stan, third from right)

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