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****   Honor Award Craftman Category   ****
****   People's Choice   ****
Shining Mountain Ranch Guest Lodge
(# 497)
Images Description Credits
Site: This project is located in French Creek, Montana. Elk, moose, deer and black bears roam freely on this 4,500-acre cattle ranch, covered by dense pine groves, meadows and streams.

Program: Master plan a working cattle ranch into an all season rustic recreational resort. The project includes an entertainment and meeting lodge, guest cabins, a working ranch center, riding and fishing facilities, ranch house, and an all season recreational village. This commercial project will be managed as a first class ranch retreat for families and groups.

Special Challenges: This project is located 75 miles from the nearest building supply center in the wilderness at the end of an eight mile road.

Natural Sustainable Design Solution: The design inspiration for this dining and leisure guest lodge of 10,000 SF comes from a Japanese aesthetic where larger building materials are used at the base and taper towards the roof. The structure is highly detailed and crafted with influences from the National Parks rustic style to give it a timeless aesthetic. Without removing trees or altering natural grade, the lodge was sited in a natural swale in a pine tree grove. The design has fortress like indigenous moss rock walls and small windows on the north side to shed the snow build up, and full height glass windows extending onto stone verandas for solar gain, natural light and views on the south side. The lodge is completely constructed with “fire killed” logs reclaimed from the 1987 Yellowstone fires and fire killed logs reclaimed within 500 yards of this structure from the 2000 Montana fire. The reclaimed green slate roof is also unique. It steps up to the ridge in 3 or 4 tiers, each tier using smaller sizes of slate, thus creating a forced perspective to blend into the pine tree canopy. Only Indigenous moss rock collected from the ranch site was used. There was no stone cutting or veneering. All other woods used were “found” reclaimed wood from the area. There is no HVAC system. Thermal massing and four fireplaces provide heating. Tree shading, veranda overhangs and natural ventilation provide cooling.

Innovative design detailing, methodologies, engineering, and a cantilevered log flying buttress lateral system created for this project allowed for large glass openings between cantilevered log columns extended from the basement, eliminating the need for standard shear walls and steel reinforcement. This “real” post & beam log structure is designed in compression so any shrinkage would tighten the structure.

The Lodge is a serious architectural building type utilizing man’s oldest natural building materials – stone and logs. Sustainability for this project was based on the old world concept of using indigenous natural materials from the immediate area or close by. The construction cost was $5.5M.

This office provided complete master planning, exterior and interior architectural design, material procurement, selected the key craftsman and sub-contractors and visited the site three times a month for construction observation.


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