Larry Yaw is a renowned architect based in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley whose work connects people with nature using contemporary, sustainable, conservation-focused designs. Growing up in rural Montana gave Larry a deep appreciation for the utilitarian character of ranch homes and their thoughtful integration into the landscape, aspects that form the foundation of much of his work today. Through his design, Larry has demonstrated a unique ability to pay homage to the past while boldly pushing beyond preconceived notions of architecture in the American West.
If I had to use one word to describe Larry it would probably be “adventurous”—a quest for adventure seems to guide all aspects of his professional and personal lives. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Larry has traveled the world many times over, sometimes with his full family in tow, seeking out enriching experiences everywhere from the South Pacific to the Swiss Alps. He is also intellectually adventurous, as evidenced by his deep knowledge of history, conservation, Native Americans, and many other subjects related to the West and beyond. Physical adventures are a daily occurrence for Larry, whether it’s pedaling single track, stalking trout with his fly rod, hiking in the high mountains around Aspen, or shooting birds on the Montana prairies. All of these experiences provide the fuel that keeps Larry’s professional creative engine firing at turbo speed, decade after decade.
This was a super-fun conversation, and I came away from it inspired and enlightened. We discussed a broad range of topics including Larry’s architecture, his creative process, and how he has managed to stay consistently creative for so long. We chatted about his early years in Montana, some of his adventures around the world, and his thoughts on conservation in the American West. Larry is a true student of the West, so he had plenty of book recommendations. There is a lot of great information in this interview, so don’t forget to check the episode notes for links to everything we discuss.
Photo courtesy of Larry Yaw
- Cottle Carr Yaw Architects
- Great Falls, Montana
- The Architect Explorer by Lindsay Yaw Rogers
- Roaring Fork Conservancy
- The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
- Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynne
- Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides
- Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest Hour by Lynee Olson
- Pete McBride
- Pete McBride’s films
- The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko
- Yvon Chouinard