DOWNTOWN DESIGN: Rebuilding Community In Montana

JLF Architects' design for 223 East Main Street in Bozeman, MT.

Eight springs ago, a fatal natural gas explosion leveled a Main Street block in our hometown of Bozeman. The early-morning blast claimed the life of one of our finest young art leaders and leveled five historic buildings occupied by thriving local businesses—losses that left a gaping hole in the heart of our historic downtown and wounded our collective hope of economic potential.

“Beyond the obvious destruction, the blast delivered a deep psychic blow to the business district,” wrote Jim Robbins in the March 17, 2009 New York Times.

Ever resilient, Bozeman has rebuilt itself, with several businesses like the Rocking R Bar and the American Legion rising from the rubble anew. Proudly, JLF Architects is participating in this architectural reconstruction effort by helping a local client reimagine one of the vacant lots into a mixed-use building.

Attuned to context, the JLF-designed façade of 223 East Main Street will reference the brick detailing of the site’s former occupant: the I.O.O.F Hall built in 1891. Thus revived, the ground floor will feature retail space while the second and third stories will become a residential apartment—the new home of our client, Bozeman empty-nesters keen to migrate downtown. Now all we need is the building permit… currently under consideration.

ABOUT JLF ARCHITECTS: Building timeless structures rooted in eloquence and elegance, Jackson- and Bozeman-based JLF Architects sources authentic materials and regional solutions to create place-based houses reflective of their contexts, whether that be the Rocky Mountains or the Eastern Seaboard. Our award-winning portfolio features inspired custom designs achieved through a genuine alliance with Big-D Signature, built over 17 years of collaboration. Our streamlined process unites passionate architects with dedicated builders to enable the collective imagination of visionary artisans working with visionary clients. For more information, visit www.JLFArchitects.com.
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