Positioned along the Frio River within the limestone canyon walls of the Texas Hill Country, Laity Lodge is a retreat center like no other. Founded in 1961, the mission of the Lodge is to reinforce guests’ connection to themselves, each other, and the divine through deep, meaningful experiences with the natural world. A new set of buildings were added to the existing campus in addition to new site features to reinforce the Lodge’s mission.
Inspired by the intimate scale and natural features of the site, the design team’s goal was to create a place that could not be built anywhere else, for anyone else.
The primary elements of the project included: 1. A new complex of buildings nestled in the trees, called Cedar Brake 2. A recasting of the arrival and reception experience to reinforce the connection between visitors and the land by putting them in a different frame of mind for their retreat 3. Celebrating water throughout the site by reinforcing the health of the river and riparian ecosystem
Ultimately, the story of this project is about connecting people and place. The majesty of the natural landscape is experienced in both overt and subtle ways. The buildings are tucked within the aromatic cedar forest, forming pockets of space scaled to the size of natural clearings. Courtyards, porches, and breezeways create microclimates and offer a variety of spaces both in scale and quality for people to gather and enjoy each other’s company.