INTERVIEW: Pure West – Christie’s Great Estates #djawest
Q. What brought you to the Bozeman area?
A. Montana State University, love of the outdoors and related recreational opportunities. I had created and operated a large competitive Bid-Build Commercial Construction practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan (200 plus employees at a high point), and after fine tuning the organization, the lack of an ongoing challenge gave me pause and time to reconsider my career path.
After a few family vacations to Montana, we decided to move to Whitefish in 1991. It was there when serving as an Owners Representative to a large school remodel/expansion project that I became eager to formally blend my construction experience and creative interest as an Architect. Not wanting to leave Montana, I became aware of Montana States well respected Architecture program and we quickly relocated to Bozeman in 1992.
We remained in Bozeman for approximately 10 years; life’s circumstance brought us back to Michigan for a period of time. Our love of all things Montanan has now brought us back full circle to our adopted home state.
Q. What is the approach to your craft?
A. My approach is to carefully balance the needs of budget, programming and the sensitivities of place or location. I like to share with my clients that Architecture is similar to music; in other words what would you like to hear or see? Let’s pick the vernacular and then talk about volume. For instance we may talk about “Mountain Rustic”, but as such there is not a one size fits all approach to this vocabulary. One client may be visualizing something that is close to say turn-of-the century (loud) and another may be thinking accents of rustic with perhaps more modern finishes (soft). It’s all in the range of how one prefers to feel or hear his or hers particular preference, vocabulary or song.
Continuing, in my opinion there are three things that define great design…they are: Site Specificity, a Sense of Transparency and Expression of Structure; like a three legged stool the absence of any one leg and the project won’t stand up to curb-side scrutiny.
Lastly, it is important to remember that Architecture is an expression of art rooted in technical competency. It is important for me to feel a sense of place, to be inspired by the context of location; often times it can be the subtle little things of place that speak the loudest. Think of it this way…a lot of people can play a piano, but how many can move you to tears. Technical competency alone will not add value or interest in a built solution.
Q. Can you discuss past projects and designs?
A. Michigan seems to support a straight line approach to need; in other words most design commissions available are about adaptive reuse, commercial, institutional and like work opportunities. This is not to say that a higher level of design is not valued, high design is appreciated in all walks of life. It’s just that the opportunity to focus on the Art of Architecture is rare in certain areas of our country. My love for the west actually resulted in our “Faithful” brand series or concepts.
It was kind of like this; I am a fly fisherman and like any good fly fishermen, we often times enjoy our sport more so for the process and place that we experience. Faithful began that way; as wanting to be faithful to a place and a remembrance, I began to doodle in my spare time. Those doodle’s or in the passion of place and art eventually found its way to some very capable people. I suspect they sensed something in me that that was sincere and genuine. Combined with a love of place, competency and the ability to administer their better interest, I have been extended some unique opportunities.
Most notably Headwaters Camp; which included Master Planning, Aquatic Development, infrastructure, Geothermal Pond Looping, Solar Arrays, Cabin(s), Horse Barn and a significant Primary Residence. The first of three Guest Cabins proposed has been honored at the highest level by the US Green Building Council; and a significant National Award utilizing a different set of criteria that will be announced publicly for this same project in March. As an obscure and fairly unknown, these recent recognitions are pretty exciting stuff. Incidentally we were measured and contrasted to a number of well known Architects for this special and unique project assignment; I am very humbled and appreciative to have been extended the opportunity we were given.
Q. Tell us about Beaver Creek, Faithful and the Grizzly Ridge Lodge?
A. Beaver Creek Cabin started as a sketch rendering of a high end, High Mountain Cabin requested by Rustic Book author Ralph Kylloe. Since our publication in the Big Sky Journal, we have received inquires of interest for this Cabin from Southern California, Jackson Hole and Texas. It will be interesting to work on the Owner’s requested programming, remaining elevations and see where it ultimately ends up actually being constructed.
The Faithful – Home came very close to being constructed in the Yellowstone Club; however instead we delivered a different look and much larger program, on a very unique ski-in, ski-out parcel. Our Faithful – Home continues to inspire others and has led to other project opportunities reflecting individual owner wants and desires.
The Faithful – Lodge is a franchise opportunity for a Rustic Structure of accommodating proportions and western character. There is a huge demand for destination places of substance and experience and our Faithful Lodge Franchise has the potential to become a Coast-to-Coast phenomena. To drive home this point, when you see people flocking to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to eat, meet and marry the demand is very transparent. Michigan with all of its shore lines, Great Lakes and Mackinaw Bridge takes a back seat to the number of visitors ascending in record numbers on a retail center that has now become the number one tourist attraction in the State. This retail outlet allows but a glimpse of a real Rustic–Western experience. Not everyone can travel to the Rocky Mountain West and our urban centers are begging for this built acknowledgement. Our Faithful Lodge is a reflection of interest and desire to position ourselves as a provider to a National demand for a quality destination facility. Presently we are organizing concepts for equity investment partnering.
Grizzly Ridge is a high-end custom home that was originally designed for a client that has since evolved into a second iteration of development and appearance. This particular client has made this first design response available to the public through our services. A one time purchase of completed plans is available and can be modified to suit ones particular taste and want. “Jason, thank you so much for including us in your Pure West website.” Check out Dan Joseph Architects at http://www.djawest.com/