The architecture of Green O


The architecture of Green’s chic getaway in Montana blends with nature and invites the outdoors inside.

You would be forgiven if you woke up at the green o and momentarily thought you were outside. It is by design.

Co-owner Laurence Lipson planned the Resort’s swanky new adults-only section at Paws Up in western Montana to blend in with the swaying pines that surround it. And because of the way the buildings are tucked into the terrain, you’re more likely to spot an elk out your window than another human being.

“You’re right in an environment, and wherever you are in the home, you feel that environment around you,” Lipson says.

Paws Up opened in 2005 with three tents and 18 houses. More and more families began to discover it, and the size of the tents and houses in the complex increased. But Paws Up offered few options for couples. He needed a corner that catered to people looking for a romantic hideaway.

The result is the green of a dozen contemporary guesthouses that look nothing like the traditional wooden structures and high-end canvas tents on the rest of the 37,000-acre Paws Up Ranch. It opened in 2021.

“We knew it wouldn’t be tents, but we still wanted them to be experiential,” Lipson says. “We wanted to do things that no one had seen before.”

Lipson’s late father, Dave Lipson, co-founder of Paws Up, sketched out some early design concepts. After his death in 2019, Lipson partnered with artist Pieter De Liagre Bohl, who had created sculptures for the station. They wanted to create a place that would stand out to world travelers but make nature the focal point.

They envisioned four unique types of structures: a two-story Tree Haus that perches 23 feet above the ground, a Green Haus with more windows than solid walls, a curvaceous Round Haus, and the sunny Light Haus. . Despite their differences, the buildings have a lot in common, including their clean-lined style, wide-plank wood floors, fireplaces, hot tubs, and abundance of windows.

“The number one element of the designs was bringing the outdoors in,” says Lipson. “That meant a lot of glass. The expense of glazing for green o was the most expensive item. »

The two-story treehouses, with a bedroom stacked above the living room and kitchen, peer out among the treetops, a verdant oasis with a fireplace on both floors. “You are in the pine canopy and you can see bird nests. When it snows, the snow blows level with you, so you really feel the trees swaying,” Lipson says.

From above, the Round Hauss looks like an infinity symbol, with curved walls wrapped in glass and nearly 360-degree views of the forest.

The Green Hauses are partially recessed into the hillside, with an open studio-style interior and a glass skylight above the bed. This fall, the teams transformed them into veritable greenhouses by planting moss and grass on their pitched shed roofs. “I had this crazy dream that you would be in the Green Haus and whichever direction you looked – front, back, side to side or straight ahead – you would see nature . I got closer, but everyone told me we needed a guest closet,” Lipson says. “We have four out of five.”

The Light Haus reaches for the sky with cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows at either end.

Many structures in the green o are clad in Japanese burnt wood, or shou sugi ban, created by artists who use a torch to burn pieces of wood by hand. The effect mimics the natural burns on the trees here that have been struck by lightning. “I like the way it looks,” Lipson says. “It’s not just for the aesthetics of it; it is also a matter of sustainability. Due to the burning, the wood repels all kinds of insects – beetles, termites – and water.

Tongue-and-groove floors and ceilings are made with reclaimed wood from old barns, abandoned cabins, and worn-out factories. The cart paths are “paved” with millings of recycled asphalt from old platforms for a quieter, less dusty alternative to fine gravel.

Each of the 12 homes – four Tree Hauses, four Green Hauses, three Round Hauses and one Light Haus – are nestled among the trees and tucked behind the hills to add to their privacy. The Social Haus, where meals are served and guests check in, is a low-key hub of activity in the middle.

“It was important for us to be light on the pitch,” says Lipson.

Even the works of art reflect the natural environment. Some houses have walls covered with irregularly shaped wooden slats. Bas-relief paintings of trees by Colorado artist Bonnie Wakeman, with shimmering metallic silver leaf, adorn others.

Spending a few nights at the green o is a bit like relaxing in a stylish, air-conditioned version of the outdoors. Think of it as My Nature’s penthouse – only without the mosquitoes.

Learn more about the green o:
Experience the Green O
A green summer
A paws in the air vacation
Some Green O recipes

For more information, visit


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