‘Filtering the Frontier: The Work of CLB Architects’ is an exhibition at Peter Miller Books in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood which explores the edges of the firm’s contemporary practice from its founding to FILTER, a public art project installed in New York City’s Times Square earlier this year. The multifaceted exhibit – including large-scale imagery, models, and video – was on view October 6-31, 2022.
CLB belongs on the frontiers. Founded among the scattered aspens and craggy peaks of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the award-winning architecture and interior design firm has spent the last thirty years honing an architectural language distinct to the Rocky Mountain West. CLB’s approach to place goes beyond inspiration, designing buildings as “filters” which actively facilitate intimacy and reciprocity between humans and their natural surroundings. These projects – ranging from high-end residences to public art installations – seem to breathe the same air as those who inhabit them, existing as both living organism and enduring monument. With attention paid to honest materials and restrained forms, specific lines of landscape are drawn into structure in a way that is truly “Inspired by Place.”
Frontier can be defined both as “land or territory that forms the furthest extent of a place,” as well as “the outer limit in a field of endeavor, or area of knowledge.” CLB has demonstrated a commitment to both definitions, expanding both conceptually and geographically over three decades of practice. The firm has grown to a staff of fifty, with offices in Bozeman, Montana as well as Jackson Hole, and projects which span North America. Now encompassing both architecture and interior design, CLB’s practice takes a holistic perspective, weaving through-lines of inspiration from the smallest furnishings to the largest formal gestures. Eleven homes designed by CLB are featured in Inspired by Place, which was published by ORO Editions in 2021.
Guided by the same values they refined early in their residential practice, CLB has pushed their growing edge, foraying into the more experimental, immediate, and widely-impactful realm of public art. FILTER was created for Design Pavilion and the NYCxDesign Festival in May 2022. For over a week the installation carved out a space for quiet recentering within the frenetic energy of New York City’s Times Square. Evoking the rugged Wyoming landscape from which it originates, FILTER draws occupants through flowing folds of weathered steel and timber. At the pavilion’s center, a lone tree draws the eye upward, reorienting the occupant’s experience toward the natural rather than the man-made.
FILTER now rests within the community of Sheridan, Wyoming, its patina reflecting the accumulations of both dry Western air and East Coast salinity. Forging connections across geography, it continues to make a place of its own. FILTER is the result of a close collaborative process, drawing on the expertise of over one-hundred craftsmen, engineers, and designers at nine firms across North America; from British Columbia to New York City. CLB Architects thanks Peter Miller Books for hosting this exhibition and collaborators EMIT, Dowbuilt, Spearhead, KL&A, HELIUS, B-K Lighting, Raemelton Farm, and Apollo Electric for their help in realizing FILTER.