March 1, 2017—Balsam Mountain Preserve, a conservation-oriented residential community in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, has hired Atlanta, Georgia-based architectural firm Kuo Diedrich to design a clubhouse that will serve as the activity hub and central gathering place for a new mixed-used development called “Doubletop Village” located within the 4,400-acre Preserve. Kuo Diedrich specializes in the design of golf clubhouses, boasting a distinguished portfolio of recent projects throughout the U.S. and abroad, including China, Dubai, Croatia and Vietnam.
In keeping with a mandate from Balsam Mountain Preserve developer Ken Bowdon to create a “non-club” clubhouse, the design for the project at the new Double Top Village represents a radical departure from conventional clubhouse design. Double Top Village is being built on a prominent site within Balsam Mountain Preserve that provides dramatic sweeping views of two mountain peaks that lend the village its name.
A conventional clubhouse creates a monumental presence intended to preside over the landscape and boldly announce its presence. Usually the size and grandeur of the clubhouse mirrors the degree of prestige the club carries. The design of the new clubhouse at Double Top Village deconstructs that paradigm. “Rather than a 50 thousand-square-foot, multilevel monument all under one roof, we are breaking the elements down into distinct pieces that are separate from, yet in harmony with, each other,” says Kuo Diedrich Principal and Cofounder Mark Diedrich. The end result will be three main buildings, each performing a distinct function, connected by breezeways. The buildings will be arranged in an irregular semicircle that embraces a common green and showcases the commanding views of the Double Top Mountain peaks in the near distance.
At the center of the complex will be the Members’ Grille with doors opening to the outdoor commons. Flanking it to one side will be a “barn” featuring the Tavern and a small locker facility, and a “lobby” consisting of a covered outdoor walkway. Across the Great Lawn, a General Store draws inspiration from an historic commissary that served workers when the property contained a garnet mine. The General Store will house the community post office, serve prepared food and operate as the check-in area for golf. It, too, will feature a sweeping porch that opens to the green space. Additional buildings will include a Toy Barn to house lawn games, such as soccer balls, Frisbees, bocce balls and croquet sets. The aesthetic details of the grouping of buildings will complement that of the two-, three- and four-bedroom cottages forming the residential component of Double Top Village. “The controlling theme of the design aesthetic will be a nod to the vernacular architecture present on the property when the old mine was operational in the late 19th century,” Diedrich said. Reflecting that heritage, a centerpiece of the clubsite will be a replica of an old timber mining tower. “Every club has an iconic vertical architectural element that serves as a focal point,” said Diedrich. “Often it’s a clock tower, but in this case it’s the mining tower, which will have stairs allowing members to climb to the top for a birds-eye view.”
Diedrich describes the interior club’s spaces as ‘clubby’ yet contemporary rather than stuffy. “It will be warm and comfortable, inviting you to spend time there and relax,” he said. “But it’s not at all stuffy.” Expect a lot of heavy timber structural elements clad in board siding, wood, tile and possibly some stained concrete flooring, and big open fireplaces. Outside, courtyard spaces will be a series of intimate “rooms,” some under cover, some under a porch and some open to the stars. Landscape elements such as plantings, boulders and two outdoor fireplaces and a firepit will help add definition and create intimate gathering spaces scattered throughout the outdoor spaces.
“We are ‘Balsam-izing’ the entire clubhouse by keeping the development small, scaling it down and making it subordinate to the incredible site rather than having the building dominate the landscape,” Diedrich said. “At the same time, with each clubhouse element separated out yet in close proximity, we’re able to retain the amenities and services club members would expect to find in such a world-class residential club development.”
To inquire about equity club membership and homeownership in Double Top Village at Balsam Mountain Preserve, call the sales office at (866) 452-3456 or visit www.balsammountainpreserve.com.