2019 Legacy Award Winner: Architect Jerry Locati

Locati Architects | Bozeman, Montana

“I grew up in a family of artists and always wanted to be an artist,” says Jerry Locati. His teachers, seeing his talent for drafting, had other ideas. They encouraged him to take graphic design, and that led to architecture. “It was a mix of art and creativity in a form that I hadn’t thought of before,” he says.

Locati graduated from the Montana State University’s School of Architecture and established Locati Architects shortly afterward in 1989. “In the very early days, people who wanted high-end homes in Montana expressed a nostalgic desire for large log homes,” he says. It was uber-regional and called Parkitecture—after the monumental log lodges in the National Parks. “We worked with our clients’ desire, creating a rustic look that wasn’t cowboys-and-Indians,” he says. “Some of my early buildings have been retrofitted many times … which only works if the original bones are good.” These early homes have great structure, a timeless appeal and a harmony with the landscape. 

Oriented to the views of Lone Peak, this Big Sky ski home with walls of glass, steel and concrete creates the perfect setting, allowing family to gather and enjoy this scenic and warm space. Photo by Gibeon Photography. 

Over the past 30 years Locati has seen numerous advancements in technology and materials, especially in the development of glass (enabling curtain walls). He’s seen a greater desire for natural, recycled and reclaimed materials. He’s also noticed a big change in how much money people are willing to spend on a home. “They want to spend their good fortunes on a home that will be a gathering place for their family and that will make lasting memories for the younger generations.”

"I grew up in a family of artists and always wanted to be an artist."

Today, Bozeman-based Locati Architects employs 35 architects and interior designers who create dramatic, distinctive homes to match the confident tastes of their clients. “As the sophistication of our clients continues to develop, they want more comfortable and more contemporary homes with smartly scaled interior spaces,” Locati notes. They are eco-conscious and request the use of recycled and sustainable materials wherever possible. But, even today, every project still begins with a pencil sketch that captures the home’s overall vision.


Montana native, founded Locati Architects in 1989.

Hands On, published by Oro Press. 

Locati Architects Scholarship at MSU School of Architecture, begun in 2002 to encourage and support future architects and designers.
Locati Edge, a program to encourage youth to express their goals and dreams through opportunities that may not otherwise be available to them.
Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation: Locati donates use of his three-acre pond stocked with trout to this foundation for post-9/11 combat veterans and caregivers.
Gallatin Valley Land Trust: Locati Architects is proud to contribute resources to Tracks for Trails and projects like the Kevin Mundy Memorial Bridge on the Drinking Horse Trail.

Learn more about our 2019 Legacy Awards

As seen in the May/June 2019 issue

Categories: Architects