The Owner-Builder Network

Headwaters Camp

Big Sky South Central Montana  –  Dan Joseph Architect

Site area:     22 acres  (8.9 hectares)
Built Area:    1,800 sq. ft.  (167 m2)
Year built:     2012
Builder:     Highline Partners
Photography:     Audrey Hall

Set on the edge in a series of man-made ponds, streams and falls designed by the lead architect, Dan Turvey, this cabin appears to hover over the sparkling waters of a high mountain alpine lake. The design objective was to respect the area’s cultural heritage, outstanding natural beauty while incorporating sustainable design principals.

The man-made lakes create a thermal mass
The man-made lakes create a thermal mass

High in the Rocky Mountains at 8000 feet, and being close to Yellowstone National Park, the most seismically active place on the globe, presented many challenges including an annual snow fall approaching 8’-0” (2.4 metres).  The Architect looked to the National Park and the area’s collective early century architectural heritage for creative inspiration.

“The idea was to showcase and celebrate an enduring, regional vernacular that conveys strength, permanence and a sense of confidence amongst an overwhelming panorama of majestic mountains and weather extremes.  The added practical benefits of this vocabulary allowed us to seamlessly integrate moment frames, shear panels and a wide flange ridge beam, while also accenting the dwelling with rafter tails, reclaimed dimensional timber and log assemblies throughout a substantial structure.”

The end result is a modest, rustic dwelling that reflects sustainable values that have been honored at the highest possible level by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). In fact, it is only the third dwelling in Montana to receive this accreditation.

“Really what makes this project so special was the commitment on behalf of all the parties to push Headwaters Camp to a level that currently has no equal” says Turvey.  “In the big picture of things, the end product is a reflection of an Owner’s exceptional vision and directive.”

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If you enjoyed this, don’t miss Idaho’s Three Bears Guest Cabin



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