The Lake Club at The Lakes at Centerra

The Lake Club is the social and recreational heart of The Lakes at Centerra, a 255-acre residential community; the Club includes a Community Building and a Pool Pavilion. Architectural character is modern expression of regional agriculture structures. The rhythmic timber structure allows expansive windows for outstanding views of the lakes. The Community Building serves as a meeting and party place with a demonstration kitchen as the centerpiece of the interior. A two-sided fireplace anchors the opposite end of the room. The swimming pool is reminiscent of a swimming hole and includes lap swimming and water play features.

Design Challenge

The primary design challenges were in developing an innovative way to celebrate the location adjacent a lake, while making the modest program have a larger and more expansive presence on the rolling prairie, and to evoke memories of the agrarian heritage of the property. The Client’s family has owned the property since it was homesteaded in the 1860s. As a legacy development, the Client instructed that the Club be familiar and inviting – acting as the “Third Place” of the neighborhood – with strong reference to the agriculture heritage of the site, yet be contemporary in character. With water a treasured asset on the arid High Plains of Colorado, orienting both indoor and outdoor spaces to the lake was key. Rather than focus on a building, the main pedestrian axis from the neighborhood splits the two buildings and terminates on the dock, providing a framed view of the lake. The broad roof overhang of the buildings progressively grow in dimension closer to the pedestrian way, providing protection for casual seating areas outdoors and the illusion that the buildings “nod” to each other along the promenade to the lake. The timber structural system and low sloping metal roofs of the buildings are reminiscent of the agricultural structures that once existed on the homestead, but are modern in expression. The interior of the Community Building is set up as a Great Room with comfortable seating and expansive windows. Extensive outdoor spaces are available for outstanding views of the lake.

Physical Context

Emerging from the prairie overlooking crystal clear lakes is The Lake Club which includes two buildings: the Community Building and Pool Pavilion. Water is a valuable commodity in the arid High Plains of Colorado; engaging the natural environment was important in the design response. The Community Building includes expansive windows that enhance the indoor/outdoor experience, providing vistas of the lakes on one side, and framing mountain views on the other. A two-sided fireplace anchors the opposite end of the room, while a fire pit on the terrace facing the lake provides a place for residents to decompress and enjoy the view. The Pool Pavilion provides welcome shade for the pool area, restrooms, and a place to stow gear. The plant materials in the landscape were selected for their xeric qualities and to provide year-round color. The swimming pool is reminiscent of a swimming hole and includes both lap swimming and water features oriented to young children. Connection to the natural environment was an important driver. Direct access to the dock to fish or launch a kayak was a priority. The Lake Club serves as a trail head for the miles of interpretive trails through the abundant open space. The non-profit High Plains Environmental Center was set up to own and manage the sensitive surrounding wetlands, wildlife habitat, natural areas, and trails around the lake. The HPEC also provides educational programs to the local school system and consults to developers on how plants, animals, and people can thrive and coexist.