Without removing trees, the 10,000-sq.ft. building was sited in a natural swale in a Yellow Pine tree grove. The design inspiration for this gathering place and guest lodge comes from Japanese aesthetic where larger building materials are used at the base and taper towards the roof. The post and beam structure is highly crafted with influences from the National Parks rustic style and the Arts and Crafts movement. Per Doug Ewing, chief architect of Ewing Architects, Pasadena, California, the design has a dual personality – heavy fortress-like with indigenous moss rock splayed walls and small windows on the north side to shed the snow build up, and major full height glass windows extending onto verandas for solar gain, natural light and views of the south landscape. The lodge is constructed with “fire killed” logs of reclaimed lodge pole pine from the Yellowstone fires. Double hips were created at the roofs, another unique feature not previously seen in other log structures.
The reclaimed green slate roof is also unique. It steps up to the ridge in three or four tiers, each tier using smaller sizes of slate, thus creating a forced perspective to blend into the tree canopy. Indigenous local Montana moss rock was used for the tapered stone walls. Over sixteen hundred ton of stone was moved to the site to accommodate the architectural demands for the tapered stones walls and interior stone work.
Ewing Architects received the prestigious “The American Institute of Architects Design Award 2013 – Honor Award” for its unique and innovative design technologies incorporated in the building.
The interior wall panels of the lodge were constructed with rare 2” x 8” chestnut planks found on the East Coast of the United States. Floors are laid in dyed white pine and hand scraped for aesthetic purposes. Interior local stone is complemented with limestone from Mexico and Oklahoma. Railings were constructed from Alaskan knotty pine. Interior antique furniture and art are reminiscent of early 20th Century grand lodges. The kitchen is a fully-equipped, commercial facility built to service up to one hundred twenty guests. Hand forged iron fireplace screens, bar stools, chandeliers, sconces and air vents were custom designed locally. All interior woods are hand-waxed and dyed to enhance the natural depth and beauty.