Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Architect: Stelling & Associates Architects, Ltd.
Owner: Covenant Harbor
Contractor: GC3, LLC
In October 2015 a historic multi-use Carriage House was nearly destroyed by fire. The fire was extinguished with thousands of gallons of water saving the external building shell and floor/ ceiling and roof structure.
The Carriage House, constructed in the late 1800s on a family estate, has transcended both its owners and the original use. First used as a stable, its intended use with carriage storage on the first floor, and barn /storage and coachman space on the upper level. Over the next 50 plus years the property remained as a residence. In 1947 it was purchased and became a summer youth camp, which is the current use today.
In 1976, a major renovation took place formalizing its uses. The lower level conference and meeting room space with a toilet room facility for use by both floors. The upper floor was a multi-use chapel and gymnasium with mechanical mezzanine.
In 2008 a new activity center was opened in the camp and the upper level of the carriage house returned to a summer rainy day space multi-use winter maintenance and storage space. The lower level remained as a conferences space and meeting rooms.
The fire was a devastating loss to the needed program spaces for summer camp use.
The carriage house was covered for fire by the camp’s insurance for restoration replacement to existing condition. It was the intent of the camp to simply restore it to its original use at the time of the fire. However, the authority having jurisdiction and state statues would not accept simple restoration.
Documents were prepared to meet code and the authority’s requirements, construction documents were conditionally approved and work began. The twist, one of the camps owner groups offered a use option in lieu of the lower level conference/meeting room; “Let’s change the space to additional cabin space.” It could accommodate up to thirty additional campers every week, the space that needed and identified in a recent long term planning report.
Plans were revised to permit transient housing. Building use separations and egress consideration taken into account. While the Carriage House has a bright future with an assembly chapel on the first floor and a residence on the lower level.
Photos: owner and architect