Dear Friends of the Lodge,
After over fifty years of nearly constant use, Laity Lodge is finally receiving some much-needed architectural and design attention. Our renovation project will take retreats offline for all of 2016. And though we’re terribly excited about the changes in store, we are already missing the opportunity to welcome you here weekend after weekend. After all, this place was built for you, our guests.
Nevertheless, we are happy that you have found your way to this website. You can find an overview of the project, answers to common questions, and a regularly updated news section that we hope will serve to keep us somewhat connected over the next few months.
We would love to hear from you (there’s a contact form for just that purpose) and would also ask you to keep this whole place and endeavor in your prayers.
Laity Lodge is embarking on
the most significant renovation
project in our history.
What’s going to happen to Laity Lodge?
As news of the impending Lodge renovation spreads, this has become an increasingly common question. Some inquiries are a little more pointed: Are you going to mess with the Great Hall? Does this mean something will finally get done about the freezing air blowing up from the floor vents in the Dining Room? What will you do in the downtime?
As the project comes into focus, exciting answers are starting to emerge. Planning is well underway with Kerrville-based architect, Mark Eubank. Mark has worked with The H. E. Butt Family Foundation on many architectural jobs throughout his career. In fact, he was part of the team responsible for the Cody Center in 1999. Kimberly Renner (designer, builder) joins Mark to provide overall design support . If you’ve visited the Laity Lodge Library recently, then you’ve experienced Kimberly’s work. Glenn Echols, Executive Director of Property Planning and Stewardship, and the Laity Lodge staff round out the team.
The primary focus is guest lodging, beginning with the original Lodge building.
Early in the process, the team identified the Waterfall Patio as the most defining architectural element in the current Lodge building. There, in front of the hearth and under ample shade, multiple attributes converge to create a space we all naturally respond to: a hospitable and welcoming place that promotes conversation, a well-designed relationship between interior and exterior, an appropriate sense of scale, a proper tension between public and private, openness and protection.
The new Lodge design takes this breezeway concept, celebrates and repeats it by creating two new, smaller breezeways—openings in the midst of the current Lodge—that open up spaces for conversation, enhance foot-traffic circulation, and allow new, natural lines of sight between the river and the meadow.
In the new design, guests encounter a more picturesque arrival: the river side walking path provides the access to new private entrances that open into the new breezeways and at the ends of the building. These new breezeways and redesigned rooms frame expansive natural views of the meadow.
A very modest room expansion allows for reconfigured and updated bathrooms. Importantly, the style of the roof would remain largely unchanged: the horizontal, modern lines that define this 1960s structure would only be strengthened.
The team took special care that the new rooms offer even more privacy. More than simply ensuring another guest isn’t walking past your shower window (as in years past), it means ensuring guests each have their own place to go and reflect during retreats (a kind of retreat-within-a-retreat). The new scheme opens up more space inside the guest room and creates two discrete zones for guests.
Addition of the new breezeways necessitates the relocation of four rooms from the Lodge to Cedar Brake apartments. Originally built as staff housing, a reimagined, expanded Cedar Brake provides accommodations consistent in quality with the Lodge and Black Bluff. Remodeling Cedar Brake also maintains the Foundation’s environmental commitments. By building upward more than outward, we minimize our ecological footprint in the Canyon.
Black Bluff is slated for only minimal structural change but will be getting a design overhaul and energy efficiency updates. This will ultimately result in three distinct-yet-equal guest accommodations.
In addition to the guest room work described above, there are a number of other important improvements that we hope to be able to make during this time: a renovated Hostess office, updating furniture and windows in the Great Hall, Dining Room updates including new climate controls systems (yes, this should address the arctic air blasting up from the floor vents) and acoustic panels, and native landscaping. We are also committed to using more sustainable materials throughout.
Download Overview .pdf file.
Deborah and David Rogers, Owners/President, The H. E. Butt Family Foundation
Mark Eubank, Architect
Overland Partners, Architects
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Landscape
Kimberly Renner, Construction Consultant and Interior Design
Glenn Echols, Executive Director of Property Planning and Stewardship
Laity Lodge Staff