THE ANVIL: WINNING LEGACY
As a timely milestone for JLF Architects 40th anniversary, principal designer and partner Paul Bertelli was recently honored with a Legacy Award by Mountain Living magazine.
In 1979 when Bertelli started combing the open country of Montana and Wyoming farms and ranches in search of weathered structures to incorporate into contemporary architectural designs, the word “legacy” wasn’t on his mind. Working beside JLF founding architect, Jonathan Foote, Bertelli was deeply engaged in preserving the romance of early buildings on the range. It was hard work.
Paul Bertelli as he appears in Mountain Living’s Legacy Awards issue for creating a tradition of reclaiming antique materials to honor historical craft and architecture (photo: Audrey Hall).
Bertelli dedicated his career to a design-build philosophy that launched a movement using reclaimed materials in new construction. Focused on place-based architecture, he began disassembling original homestead structures from the first settlers in the Mountain West and reconstructing them with authentic methods that honored the time-worn qualities to form houses that would blend into the dramatic landscape as if they’d stood in the same spot for centuries.
One of JLF Architects’ best-known works, The Creamery residence was designed from an 1880s Montana stone dairy barn disassembled and then recreated on the new site (photo: John Mills).
“In my early career we had to convince homeowners we could make buildings out of things like old cabins that had survived 100 years,” Bertelli told Mountain Living.
Yet four decades later, Bertelli and the JLF team have impacted the language of American architecture. Reclaimed, recycled and rustic materials are now part of the structural fabric of houses built in the mountains, prairies and seascapes throughout the West. Drawing from the relics of place and the influences of history JLF’s designs began with simple cabins and evolved to reflect needs and technological advances, always with the intention of lasting generations.
On April 25, Bertelli was one of 15 individuals who have demonstrated 15-plus years of exemplary work in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, lighting design and furniture to receive Mountain Living’s new Legacy Awards, created in honor of the magazine’s 25th anniversary and profiled in the just-released May/June 2019 issue. The inaugural award recognizes top talent in the Rocky Mountain West who have made a significant contribution to mountain home design.
Winner of Mountain Living 2016 Home of the Year, this JLF Architects/Big-D house pairs ageless materials and contemporary elements atop a Teton butte (photo: Audrey Hall).
“The work of these talented individuals has been showcased in the pages of Mountain Living over the past 25 years,” says Mountain Living Editor in Chief Darla Worden. “Now, we’re delighted to provide this special recognition of their long-lasting impact through their ideas, products and innovations.”
Pioneering the movement of using reclaimed materials to create stunning new houses that stand the test of time, JLF Architects is constantly evolving with new ways to push the boundaries in beautifully combining antique and contemporary. “We are in the business of building houses for families to pass down from generation to generation,” Bertelli told Mountain Living, and indeed, the firm is widely recognized in the Rocky Mountain West and beyond for its ability to build “brand-new 100-year-old homes.”