Granite Ranch

Hershberger Design was the lead consultant for the design team that included Dubbe Molder Architects providing overall management, master planning, site design, and construction documents for the site located next to the south entrance to Grand Teton National Park. Consistency with the traditional western ranching philosophy of shelter, understated simplicity and functionality was an important thread of the layout and design. In addition, the family demanded the highest standards of environmental stewardship be applied consistent with the family traditions. The historic buildings to be reused and relocated included seventeen small, rough log and timber buildings with distinct functions including a lodge, a recreation hall, a dining hall, sleeping cabins, horse barn, and saddle shed. In keeping with western ranching philosophy, the heart of the ranch is established through a clustered layout of the living cabins with a central green space and a connecting loop pathway. The lodge, recreation hall, and dining hall are the bookends of the cabin cluster, and each cabin is carefully sited for desired exposure, views, proximity, and relationship unique to each cabin. The cabin cluster imposes minimal visual impact, both internal and external to the site, and works together as a grouping to provide shelter from Wyoming winds. The ranch manager’s complex including the barn and saddle shed forms a threshold near the entry to greet guests in a fashion consistent with western ranch tradition. A series of trails and pathways connect through the site and to off-site hiking and equestrian trail connections to the National Park. Degraded ditches, wetlands, and habitat existing on the site have been restored to healthy, connected systems. Native plantings are irrigated by their proximity to the restored watercourses requiring no supplemental irrigation. These plantings also act to screen and nest the cabin cluster tightly to the landscape to enhance its low-profile qualities. Plantings at the cabin cluster were carefully selected natives including silverberry, buffaloberry, snowberry, huckleberry, mountain alder, and native willow species for low water use and limited maintenance requirements. In all, the site layout and design hits the target for passive and active interaction with the outdoors, stewardship, connection to the land and the environment, and consistency with family tradition expressing a low-profile, low-key, environmentally responsive approach.