New lodge opening at Black Butte Ranch
Last updated 3/21/2023 at Noon
The Black Butte Ranch (BBR) Lodge has always been the centerpiece for the resort. Built with Black Butte’s pyramid-shaped mountain overhead and Phalarope Lake reflecting the Cascade Range to the west, the setting has always been awe-inspiring. Keeping the iconic location in mind, architects, designers, and builders worked to surpass the magnificence of the original Lodge by creating a building that is a culmination of design and function.
Even with power tools humming and hammers pounding as The Nugget toured the building while under construction, it’s easy to see that BBR homeowners have achieved their goals for the multimillion-dollar project, building a welcoming, comfortable, innovative, and accessible place for guests and homeowners to enjoy.
The Lodge is receiving its certificate of occupancy this month, and will also host trainings and some events in March.
“We are looking to be open for business May 1, with a Grand Opening slated for Memorial Day Weekend,” said Director of BBR Marketing and Sales Kim Kohn.
The darkened exterior of the Lodge and some of the interior walls was achieved through an ancient Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban, in which the wood is heat-treated with an open flame. The result is both beautiful and practical. Maintenance costs are minimized via the waterproofing, and pest and fire resistance inherent in the technique.
Most of the lumber comes pretreated, but some elements had to be treated in place. Acting General Manager Shawn McCance laughed when he recalled the first time he saw workers with flames treating the wood.
“I was in my trailer when they were setting the building on fire, and I thought you’ve got to be kidding me! I learned later they had to get to a certain depth to seal the walls properly. Eventually, I had a good laugh about it,” said McCance.
The demolition process on the old Lodge, which began last summer, took longer than expected due in part to BBR staff’s attempts to save as many old-growth ponderosa pines as possible. After consultations with an arborist, it was finally decided that one of the two 265-year-old trees closest to the building had to be taken down. The painful decision to remove the tree had a happy note when the lumber was integrated into the new building.
“We slowed down during the demolition process because we were trying to save the ponderosa pine tree. That took a while because it was complicated and emotional. We were able to transform the wood into handcrafted benches in the dining area, interior doors in the vestibule, and tabletops,” said McCance.
The whole building capitalizes on floor-to-ceiling views. There’s 5,000 square feet of glass throughout the lodge. Out on the deck, when the weather is nice, there will be tables and chairs and a fire pit with food service. Propane heaters and umbrellas will be ready to keep guests comfortable.
“You can pick your dining experience; one side won’t have the bar element, the other side will. So, you can choose a preference,” said McCance.
An iconic art piece that will remain in the lodge is the galloping herd of horses captured by world-renowned woodworker Skip Armstrong. It wasn’t easy getting the incredibly heavy piece back on the wall, but it’s now hanging upstairs in the Aspen Lounge.
One magnificent new feature in the building will wow guests on both levels of the Lodge. A fireplace with intricate rockwork is 52 feet tall. The craftmanship required to install the two-story fireplace and apply thousands of stones to the exterior is obvious.
“We had an entire concrete crew on this for over three months, just for the base,” said David Martin, who is the project superintendent for the building contractor, Kirby Nagelhout Construction. “The fireplace had six guys on it for over a month placing the stones. It’s 42 feet tall, not including seven feet to the basement and three feet below that.”
McCance said the striations of rock remind him of natural rock formations around Lake Billy Chinook.
Finding the right design and décor team for the project was important to homeowners as well as McCance and Kohn. Hacker Architects out of Portland brought a sense of modern design coupled with a celebration of the Lodge’s history on the site. Jenny Fowler, an interior designer with Hacker, said the geometry of the design as well as linear wood throughout was intentionally softened by adding design elements like radius corners in the Aspen Lounge.
The kitchen size was doubled to 5,400 feet. The expansion will benefit diners and food service staff alike, with amenities that make their jobs easier.
“We’ve never been able to do dinner and bar service for the homeowners, and our a la carte guests without impacting each other. Now we have two different spaces that can function simultaneously,” said McCance “We’ve had conversations about having a chef’s table in there for special events and having culinary teaching. Our new executive chef, Don McCradic from Bandon Dunes, came on board late last year. He’s designing menus that have us all intrigued.”
Diners will benefit from additional indoor/outdoor dining options.
“The new design really expands what you can do,” said Kohn. “Everyone can enjoy the Lodge, whether they’re homeowners, locals, or guests. It’s a space to relax after work with a mocktail, beer, or glass of wine. It’s a place for everyone to enjoy for weddings, events, meetings, reunions… you name it. We’re in the business of making memories.”