Case Study: Logan Pavilion and Lounge by CLB Architects

In the mid-1990s, CLB Architects principal Eric Logan, AIA, was working in Denver after graduate school when he and his wife decided to return to their home state of Wyoming. After looking for a house and coming up empty-handed, they shifted to a property search and found a site north of Jackson. The windy, exposed sagebrush plain at the foot of the Tetons had beautiful light, views, and wildlife. Short on budget and time, Eric designed a basic three-bedroom house that borrows directly from the local buildings he finds beautiful: hay sheds and animal shelters with a rectangular footprint and gable roofs held on tall columns. “It was labor-built for $75.74 per square foot in four months, and some of the detailing looked like it was at that level,” he says. “We invented almost nothing, trying to be creative with few dollars.” They moved into the house just before their first daughter was born in 1997.

More than two decades later, it is an example of how a starter house can gracefully change with the occupants when an economy of means is prioritized. Over time, the program grew significantly to accommodate two daughters, out-of-town guests, and Eric’s growing collection of cars, motorcycles, tools, and vinyl records. Yet his strong first response enabled later alterations that look effortlessly of a piece. What’s also gratifying is that they reflect not just an evolving domestic agenda, but the homeowners association’s more progressive approach to design reviews.

Built on a 12-foot grid, the orthogonal house consisted of three bedrooms and a garage at one end, and a great room at the other, spilling out to a large deck under the continuous gable roof. Spatial priority was given to this central open space for gathering, cooking, and hanging out in front of the wood-burning stove. “There we used king post trusses to create extra space and light, while the rest of the interior is a flat lid at 9 feet, using prefab trusses,” Eric says. “It was a very economical proposition. The trusses went up in one afternoon, as I recall.” Perpendicular to the linear house, a deck walkway is part of the entry sequence, arriving at midpoint on the south side. The deck’s geometry rolls through to the north side of the house, where it “squirts out, a companion deck of the same width that engages a small pond, a wide spot in the ditch,” Eric says. Inside the front door, a gallery links the public and private spaces. Radiant heating was embedded in the concrete floor, and a crawl space under the slab allowed future flexibility for plumbing runs. 

Past to Present

Perhaps not entirely deliberate at the time, those moves set the stage for remodeling as their daughters and guest list grew. Eric’s first and largest makeover was reclaiming the garage as a main bedroom suite with an outside deck and building a detached garage. Regrets? He’s had a few, and here was his chance to undo a small blunder. Aiming for the look of an authentic Wyoming barn, Eric had designed the original two-bay garage with giant sliding barn doors on exposed steel tracks. “The first year was a big snow year, and my ritual, when arriving home from the office, was to get out of the truck and shovel a path through the drifts that formed during the day, so I could get it into the garage—the door wouldn’t slide open because of the snow,” Eric says. “The new garage has a less interesting but practical rollup door that I use with a clicker, like everyone else.” A later addition to the oxidized steel-clad garage contains a lounge and the many objects Eric collects.  

In 2001, the family home grew into a small compound with the addition of a separate guest studio that doubles as a yoga and workout room. A complement to the main house, it’s a simple shed building open to the view. Guests are greeted with a fireplace in the open kitchen, dining, and living area, and a beckoning deck. 

Indeed, the decks were a checkmark in the “what’s working” column. Using them to extend the house is an idea that gets repeated often in CLB’s residential work. “The living/dining/kitchen space is extended by more than half its length visually because of the huge deck on the west end of the house, half covered, half not,” Eric says. “Over the lifespan of our house, that heroic porch notion has proved to be a transition space with a lot of flexibility for furniture groupings.” He adds, “Having decks on all four sides of the house lets us either find the sun when it’s cold or find the shade when it’s hot, or be in or out of the breeze.”

About five years ago, Eric replaced the raw MDF kitchen cabinets with brighter and more robust white-lacquer maple plywood cabinetry, complemented by a new backsplash and countertops made of hot-rolled steel. And last year he installed a corrugated steel roof—a triumph that took only 24 years to achieve. The original drawings had the same spec, but the neighbors threatened a lawsuit, Eric says. “The HOA design review committee said they didn’t want the house to look like a barn. We had to back down, and what was intended to be this rusty roof in a beautiful landscape ended up as a wood-shingle roof.” Now that metal roofs are allowed, a few others have sprung up in the neighborhood, but none—at least not yet—that will weather to a rust-colored patina, Eric says. In addition, the whitewashed wood cladding was refurbished with a black stain, and they rebuilt and enlarged some of the decks.

Staying Power

The young couple’s constrained budget and schedule resulted in a streamlined design that over time has proven infinitely adaptable. “We try to bring this to all of our work; the more elemental we can make solutions, the more timeless the forms, the more lasting they are,” Eric says. “This is a beautiful and extreme place. I have seen that with fussy roof forms, peaks and valleys, Mother Nature can be very cruel. We’ve never had a leak in this simple building.”

The grounds have kept pace with the buildings. This two-and-a-half-acre lot in a larger-than-life setting has evolved too, as the need arose for shade and privacy. When the house was built, the remaining budget was spent on seed to reclaim areas disturbed by construction. Since then, the couple has established a cottonwood and aspen grove along the entry sequence and added five spruces to the existing landscape of sagebrush, ryegrass, and two scrubby willows. “The color and birds and other wildlife that comes with adding all these trees has been amazing to watch,” Eric says. 

Efficient and smartly designed, the house’s solid bones have allowed it to stand the test of time, with a few tweaks. “As an armature for our family in this landscape, it has proven so far to be very flexible for our needs,” Eric says. “It’s our interest for the next generation of our family to hang out on this spot in this beautiful part of the world.” 

Images


Plans and Drawings


Project Credits

Logan Pavilion and Lounge

Jackson, Wyoming

Architect/Builder: Eric Logan, AIA, principal, CLB Architects, Jackson, Wyoming

Interior Designer: CLB Architects

Project Size: 2,475 square feet

Site Size: 2.44 acres

Construction Cost: Withheld

Photography: Kevin Scott


Key Products

Cooktop: Wolf

Cooking Ventilation: Wolf

Decking: Ipe

Dishwasher: Asko

Entry doors: Schlage

Faucets: Kohler, Chicago Faucets

Fireplace: Rais

Lighting: Grainger Lamp Holders

Ovens: Wolf

Refrigerator/Freezer: Sub-Zero

Paints/stains: Sherwin-Williams

Sinks: Kohler, Elkay

Toilets: TOTO

Tub: Diamond Spa

Washer/Dryer: Kenmore

Windows: Weather Shield


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