Yellowstone Club’s – Headwaters Camp Awarded Residence of the Year

Yellowstone Club's - Headwaters Camp

Yellowstone Club’s – Headwaters Camp by Dan Joseph Architects

YELLOWSTONE CLUB’S – HEADWATERS CAMP #djawest : Based upon utilization of historic Architecture, respect for cultural heritage, outstanding natural beauty and the incorporation of sustainable design principals, a Western States Architect has designed Mountain Living’s ‘Most Responsible’ Residence of the Year. 

The project Headwaters Camp, located in Yellowstone Club – Big Sky, Montana “is carefully cradled in a world defined by the orderly needs of program and the random artistry of nature in the extreme,” says the architect Dan Turvey.  Set upon the edge in a series of ponds, streams and falls designed by Turvey, a rustic cabin appears to hover over the sparkling waters of a high mountain alpine lake.  “Developing our Master Plan on this 22 acre parcel from among others available was a critical decision made by the owner,” says Turvey.  “It wasn’t readily apparent that such potential existed on a site that lent itself more to limitations than an envisioned family encampment.”

Designing a structure in the Rockies at 8000 feet, proximate to Yellowstone National Park presents many challenges; including an active seismic zone, annual snow fall approaching 8’-0” and an underlying geology that must be considered well in advance to undertaking any formal response.  Within these constraints the Architect looked to the National Park and our 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,” says Turvey.  “The added practical benefits of this vocabulary allowed us to seamless 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 difficulties of achieving energy efficiency in a rustic vocabulary, which by this example utilizes the appearance of dove-tailed, hand hewn, sand chinked timbers, dry stacked stone and old world planking, was accomplished with an artistic approach of applying materials to a conventional wood framed structure.  The final result is a modest sized, 1800 sf, 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).

This LEED-Platinum designated home is the first in Southwest, Montana and the third home in the state to receive any certification from the USGBC.  “The vision for Headwaters was to create a family camp that feels and looks like it has existed for 100 years,” says owner Todd Thomson.  “I was also determined to build a home that reflects my values as an environmentalist and board member of the World Resources Institute.”

Yellowstone Club's - Headwaters Camp

Near view of Headwaters Camp – Guest Cabin

Photo Insert:  The Guest Cabin as seen from the near side of a high altitude pond, which provides for family enjoyment while serving as a thermal mass for a WSHP exchange loop.The primary axis of the structure aligns to a water feature and another towards a magnificent view of the nearby Pioneer Mountain located deep within the Madison Range. 

Notice how this home gently keys into the waters edge, complimenting the rustic structure’s connection to the landscape.  (Photos by Audrey Hall) 

“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.” while adding “The contractors collective commitment and determination to make the mark cannot be understated; without the teams applied effort, certification would not have been possible.”

Dan Joseph Architects shares the true power of architecture with a breathtaking example of a modest sized, rustic dwelling that reflects sustainable values.

 Green Building

‘Green Building’ often evokes images of rectilinear like structures with clean, geometric lines. So how is it possible for a Rustic Cabin that appears to have been built decades before, to receive a LEED for Homes Platinum rating: a top designation for residences awarded by the United States Green Building Council?

Consider for one…that the Headwaters Camp – Guest Cabin is an original design and likely the most efficient ever built; for instance eliminating problems of uneven settlement, air and insect infiltration normally associated with buildings of this type, a fully insulated Chimney and Fireplace enclosure and a WSHP- Pond Loop sized for Cabin and Home alike.

 Design – Performance Accomplishments

 1.  Hidden Seismic and Live/Dead Load Engineering – Wide Flange Ridge Beam, Micro-lam Roof Framing, Moment Frame, Shear Panels and Shear Walls all disappearing seamlessly into a structure that appears to have been built 100 years earlier.

 2.  Applied Reclaimed Finishes – Eliminating Air and Insect Infiltration typically associated with Rustic Dwellings; utilizing Dove Tailed Timbers, Dry Stacked Stone, Standing Dead…Log Beams & Columns, Rustic Wall/Floor Planking, and Dimensional Rafters/Beams.

 3.  Unique fully insulated, tube steel framed Fireplace and Chimney, utilizing an Isokern Fire Box and Chimney Chase.

 4.  WSHP – Pond Loop, Radiant Flooring, Air Exchange Units, Grey Water Reclamation, etc.

 5.  Super Insulated Structure (combined closed cell spray foam and batt overlay) and Triple Glazed Window Units

 6.  Conventional wood framing at prescribed, increased spacing, saving material and money

 7.  Over 100 – third party certified points in the designation of LEED Platinum.

Celebrate the universal capacity of Good Planning and Outstanding Design with Dan Joseph Architects

Regardless of vernacular, the principals of ‘Green’ building still apply; with DJA…Rustic and Western Design can now share in the same positive attributes that other environmentally responsible buildings enjoy; fostering sustainable building practice as a good steward of our natural resources.

 Yellowstone Club’s – Headwaters Camp:

 ‘Single Source’ Professional Services provided by Dan Joseph Architects

Construction Administration and Oversight · Site Master Planning: Building Envelopes, Aquatic Design (Ponds and Streams) · Infrastructure and Site Access Planning · Civil Engineering Coordination · Geothermal WSHP Engineering Coordination · Building Design – Schematics, Design Development, Construction Docs: Cabin, Horse Barn and Primary Residence · Structural Engineering Coordination · Architectural Review Committee submittals · Mass Modeling and all other related Professional Service tasking for this outstanding and unique High Mountain encampment.

Owners
Todd & Melissa Thomson
Headwaters Capital: Todd Thomson Walks the Walk
http://www.headwaters-capital.com/todd-s-thomson/articles/big-sky-mountain-high-todd-thomson-walks-the-walk/

Project  Location  Yellowstone Club – Big Sky, MT
http://www.yellowstoneclub.com/

Architect & Construction Administrator
Dan Joseph Architects – Big Sky, Montana
http://www.djawest.com/

Architect’s Consulting Engineers
Civil:  Allied Engineering – Bozeman, MT
Structural:  Bridger Engineers – Bozeman, MT
Geothermal:  Major Geothemal – Wheat Ridge, CO
Solar:  Independent Power Systems – Bozeman, MT

LEED Consultant    Kath Williams – Bozeman, MT
http://www.usgbcmontana.org/headwaterscamp.html

General Contractor
Highline Partners – Big Sky, MT

Interiors  Carole Sisson Design – Big Sky, MT

Photos by Audrey Hall
http://audreyhall.com/Home.html

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Selecting a Site and Getting to Know an Architect

Selecting a Site and Getting to Know an Architect

Eagle Rock Reserve, Bozeman, Montana

SELECTING A SITE AND GETTING TO KNOW AN ARCHITECT:  You have just purchased the place of your dreams, the views are spectacular and the possibilities seem endless. You want to protect your investment and to fully realize your hopes and aspirations. Perhaps you are ready to hire an architect….but which one, why and what kind of service should you expect? While I could write an entire book on this topic alone, I’ll begin by hitting upon just a few key points; helping you along in a process that may otherwise seem intimidating.

Asking that an architect walk a parcel or two before your final purchase is perhaps one of the most overlooked opportunities that I know of. A casual stroll over a plot of land allows you to measure a number of variables: the architect’s temperament, personality, competency, communication skills, artistic vision, passion, respect for place and a holistic, educated, informed opinion about location; helping you to arrive at that next level of decision.

For larger tracts of land (multiple acres), the best opinions will generally come a few days later; after the many possibilities have had a chance to cook….or reduce to the essence of place. If available, be prepared to offer a topographic plot of the parcel or an aerial illustrating property boundaries, adjacent improvements, etc. before walking the land.

HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR WANTS

Architecture is technical competency expressed as art. Competency alone will not guarantee you of a successful solution; however an artistic professional may very well achieve something remarkable. Look for passion, sensitivity, reservation, a quiet soul that will allow themselves to be absorbed by the intangibles. When expressing your project to an architect….think about how a radio works. In other words when discussing a vernacular or architectural vocabulary, dial in on the channel you would like to hear…say Modern Mountain, Western Rustic, Post & Beam, Craftsman, perhaps a mix of two or more and so on. Then think about volume, how loud would you like to hear the music? Just like the volume knob on a radio, you can turn up or down the variables of design and character to suit personal taste and budget.

YOUR ROLE IN THE PROCESS

Once you have decided on which architect to hire, execute your understanding of fees and services with a Standard AIA Owner-Architect Agreement. AIA Agreements have withstood the test of time, are impartial and have proven to be the best document available for defining the obligations of both parties. Have your attorney review the agreement before endorsing the final contract.

Before beginning the first phase of activities with your architect, have a topographic survey for your parcel prepared at 1’-0” increments and anything else your architect may request. Such surveys should include easements, setbacks, utilities, building envelopes, compass bearings of near and distant views, improvements and alike noted and illustrated plainly on the document. You’ll want a “boots on the ground” survey, commonly referred to as a field survey. Do not trust aerials as a sufficient tool for understanding much of anything; other then a rough idea of the property lines. Now is not the time to save a few bucks and an inaccurate survey can cost you big time later on. Do not expect your architect to provide survey services, the liability associated with this practical need cannot be justified.

If you haven’t already ordered a geological survey of the bearing capacity and underlying geology of the site before purchasing the parcel, then you will need to under take this task next. Your architect will want to understand the particulars of the proposed building envelopes and the required built solution response to each unique location. The idea is to avoid differential settlement and perhaps if located in mountainous terrain, the avoidance of below grade obstructions, etc. Again, do not expect your architect to provide this need to service. However in each case (surveys and geotechnical reports), your architect can be helpful by providing you with reputable companies, approximated costs and contact information.

THE BUILT RESPONSE

Early on you will want to consider how to manage the built response. Because the many advantages…Design-Build has exponentially become one of the most desired methods for project delivery. Design-Build is by where the architect will contractually provide all services; from concept to completion. Often times the architect will engage a pre-qualified general contractor and provide as “Single Source” accountable, professional services, construction management, project budgets, allowances, progress review and delivery of the final product. As always exercise good judgment; not all architects will be qualified as capable in delivering this level of service. Discuss your architects experience, capacity and understanding of the process. (please see Design-Build link below)

The alternative to Design-Build will be to engage for the built response directly with a reputable general contractor; the architect in return would be designated as the projects construction administrator. Under this type arrangement each entity will report to you directly for the services provided. Again AIA Standard Agreements are available for your use. Either way, insist that budgets be respected and quantified for each level of the evolving design.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE TASKING

Each architect will possess their own way of tasking through schematic design and design development; however each will need to gather the stats: budget, site improvements, square-footage, programming, captured views, building vocabulary, etc. Sketch renderings of elevations and floor plans will assist you with understanding that the tones of the architect’s intention, are demonstrating a working comprehension of your preferences.

Design Development is generally your last chance to direct changes before entering into the preparation of the Construction Documents. Construction Documents are the blueprints of your final built solution. It is the responsibility of the architect to provide all consulting services (structural engineering, civil engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, geothermal, specialty and alike), necessary in the preparation of the construction document. I prefer that consulting fees be separate from the architects, so that when comparing services of another, it is plainly evident what the costs are. Afterwards, a competitive solicitation of supporting services can be shared with you and a simple overhead and profit margin applied upon the final selection. Final selection of consulting service can be made under a joint review performed by owner and architect alike, with preference given to the best qualified respondent. The owner should yield to the architect’s qualified and professional judgment; however the architect must be prepared to make the case as to why or why not a particular consultant is to be considered. An owner should never engage consulting service directly and will be discussed further under “Chain of Accountability”.

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS

The architects Construction Documents (Con Doc) must be sufficiently detailed as to help avoid Change Order extras that may arise in the absence of ones ability to quantify all work entailed. Missing detail is often the reason for escalating project costs and with some effort during the architect’s Con Doc phase of service, building costs can be held in check. Elaborating, while there is no one formula on how much architectural detailing will be enough….too little often means more profit for the architect and a built solution that will be delivered at a premium cost to you.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Now let’s talk ‘Chain of Accountability”…far too often over zealous owners and builders alike are quick to allow changes with substitutions of materials, inferior standards, means, methods or in other words to compromise performance and safety criteria of an approved and specified requirement, for a perceived savings. The very moment of this occurrence, a snowball effect of liability is placed upon the shoulders of the party breaching the architects approved standard. Some changes may result in nothing more then a cosmetic difference, while others could result in catastrophic failure, exponential cost in remedy, or in a worse case scenario…loss of life. Maintain a Chain of Accountability for which the architect is insured. If a change is desired, discuss it with your architect and have a Change Order (add or deduct) issued for the want. This process will keep everyone accountable, informed and most of all protected.

As always Dan Joseph Architects http://www.djawest.com/ is ready to serve your needs; give me a call….I would enjoy meeting you, walking the site and discussing my process of bringing you the best in Professional Services.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

1. Asking an Architect to walk your parcel(s) will help with understanding the potential of multiple locations, while also providing some feed-back regarding the Architect themselves.

2. Architecture is technical competency expressed as art. Competency alone will not guarantee you of a successful solution; however an artistic professional may very well achieve something remarkable. Look for passion, sensitivity, reservation, a quite soul that will allow themselves to be absorbed by the intangibles.

3. DO NOT USE AERIAL SURVEYS WHEN ACCURATE INFORMATION IS REQUIRED.

4. Early on you will want to consider how to manage the built response. Because of the many advantages…Design-Build has exponentially become one of the most desired methods for project delivery. Design-Build is by where the architect will contractually provide all services; from concept to completion. (see link below)

5. Request that consulting fees be separate from the architects, so that when comparing services of another, it is plainly evident what the costs are.

6. The Construction Documents must be sufficiently detailed as to help avoid Change Order extras, that may arise in the absence of ones ability to quantify all work entailed.

7. Maintain a “Chain of Accountability”; require that all changes…on any level, be managed by Change Orders (adds, deducts and even if there is no difference). #djawest

Click on the link below to view Design Build attachment:

http://www.djawest.com/DesignBuildBrochure.pdf