ERA Architects

Silver Birches

Built between 1906-1912, the Silver Birches property is a well-loved landmark on the remote north shore of Mackinac Island. The Lodge is a rare example in Michigan of an Adirondack-style Arts and Crafts log hotel and is included on the State Register of Historic Sites. After withstanding a century of extreme Lake Huron weather, Silver Birches had fallen into disrepair. In 2014, the client sought ERA’s expertise in restoring the buildings while adhering closely to their original style and spirit.

ERA was commissioned as the design lead in support of a local, Michigan-based architecture firm. In this role, we designed plans, details and material finishes for the buildings, oversaw coordination of the various consultants’ work, met regularly with the owner and the project team, and reviewed the progress of construction to confirm compliance with the contract documents.

The success of the project was dependent on developing a deep understanding of the owner’s comprehensive vision for the site. Achieving this vision involved testing multiple solutions for several design elements, and often providing mock-ups for client review. The close collaboration ensured that while the buildings were upgraded and made comfortable and robust for 21st century use, they still fully retain their historic character.

All work carried out by the team was in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Photos courtesy of Bradley McCallum.