THERE'S NO GETTING AROUND the fact that clubhouses, which can include everything from locker rooms to pro shops to wine cellars, tend to be very large buildings. When one pops up in the middle of a pristine landscape—say, 650 acres in splendid Coeur d'Alene, Idaho—there's always the chance that it will look like a 30,000-square-foot alien, freshly plopped down from somewhere in outer space. It takes careful site planning and smart design work to make such a building mesh with its surroundings.

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The Club at Black Rock does just that. “The site was raised roughly 20 feet so that members could see Lake Coeur d'Alene, so having the building look like it was settled into the site took extensive work on our part,” says architect Michael Marsh. “We completely design the grading for our clubhouses before a civil engineer ever touches the plan, which is one of the major reasons why our buildings feel so natural. We always ‘allow' portions of our buildings to fall off the hill, which avoids a static connection to the ground.”

Heavy timber trusses and stone—both inside and out—help reinforce this clubhouse's natural lodge look. Getting the stain right was key to this rustic ambiance, and here the architects got lucky. “The painter stained the ceilings and beams the wrong color, a much deeper brown, so we had to sandblast the stain off,” says Marsh. “In doing so, we noticed that the color was ‘stuck' in the deeper grains of the wood. We had the painters leave some of that dark color on the timbers and, when re-stained with the correct lighter color, the timbers and trusses came out spectacular! That process is quite expensive, so now we always try and confuse the painter, hoping for the same mistake!”

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Category: Community recreation building or clubhouse; Entrant/Architect/Interior designer: Marsh and Associates, Englewood, Colo.; Builder: Hayhoe Construction, Tustin, Calif.; Developer: Black Rock Development, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Land planner: Vaught Frye Architects, Fort Collins, Colo.; Landscape architect: Abbotswood Design Group, Coeur d'Alene

TRUSSED UP “When working with timber trusses, we always oversize the members beyond what is required by the structural design, usually three to four times the required depths,” says architect Michael Marsh. “We also typically conceal all of our structural connections within the timbers so that they are not visible. I can't say how often I see a great truss ruined because the architect did not pay attention to the structural details.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Coeur d'Alene, ID.