There may be no better example of pioneering ingenuity combined with aesthetic practicality than the majestic wood-and-stone structures of the Adirondack architectural style. The style, named after the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York, where it first gained popularity during the late 1800s, quickly spread to other mountainous regions, especially Colorado, California, and the Pacific northwest.
The creator of the Adirondack, or Great Camp style, was William West Durant. While studying in Europe, the young Durant became attracted to the rugged design of the mountain lodges in the Swiss Alps. After returning to the United States, he soon realized that the marriage of alpine styling with sturdy stone-and-log frontier construction would make for perfect lodging, especially for wealthy New York vacationers seeking a back-to-nature experience.
Characterized by natural stone foundations, fitted log construction, and large vaulted roofs, these structures were environmentally attractive, as well as structurally able to withstand the harshest mountain conditions. Thanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was a frequent visitor to the Adirondacks, and whose fondness for the rustic style of these buildings was no secret, Great Camp architecture became the model for national park and ski lodges across the United States. One of the most famous is The Inn at Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.
New Age comeback
Today, an increase in environmental awareness and a heightened sensitivity to the need for ecological harmony have spawned a resurgence of Adirondack architecture. Because of advances in telecommunications, many families can now choose to live and work from remote rural environments. The function, beauty, and adaptability of William Durant's turn-of-the-century lodges are again proving to be perfectly suited for alternative lifestyles. Solar panels, wind generators, and satellite dishes, combined with energy-saving construction techniques, can all help transform your forest island into an eco-friendly, high-tech oasis.