Rowen Architecture Partner Website

An Artful Vision

by Jenn Rein

Architect Jason Cherry, founder of Rowen Architecture, is no stranger to large commercial projects. His professional background has seen design from this perspective and more. But this Lakeside, Montana, resident finds true gratification in residential design as well as the bonds he nurtures with his clients.

Seeking Truth in Design

Rowen Architecture serves the greater Flathead Valley region of Montana and other locations in the Pacific Northwest. Focusing on the aspects of how to craft a home that is very specific to each client has made this firm a success. “Our intentions are always very client-driven,” explains Cherry. “We are seeking to understand the client’s values, and to get to know their background and what inspires them. Getting to know people well means you have the ability to craft a space that is meaningful to them.”

With a knack for understanding the goals of his clients, both Cherry and his associate Patrick Burnham focus on big-picture values. They are seeking to understand what makes a home a refuge and a sanctuary to a client. Within the core ideals that feed this firm, there is an acknowledging of what it means for the client to live well within the design. “You cannot craft a space if you don’t know what that means. Knowing what is needed is a matter of listening intentionally,” Cherry says.

A design at this firm begins with three in-depth client questionnaires. The team focuses on the heart behind the answers, which define the relationship that the client wants to have with their home. The founder of the firm finds this strategy extremely valuable to each interface. “Everything is unique to the client, and there’s a beauty in that,” he says. When working with Rowen Architecture, there is no cookie-cutter approach. And the manner in which inspiration is anchored in the surrounding landscape is special to each home.


“Our intentions are always very client-driven. We are seeking to understand the client’s values, and to get to know their background and what inspires them. Getting to know people well means you have the ability to craft a space that is meaningful to them.”

–Jason Cherry, Founder, Architect, Rowen Architecture

Mother Nature’s Bountiful Gift

Cherry has found that each client is drawn to the abundant natural beauty they are surrounded by. With a graduate degree focused on sustainability, he strives to honor nature and his clients by implementing biophilic strategies that are both wise and ecologically balanced. The connection to nature using biophilic design relates people to the many gifts of the outdoors and harnessing the energy of the natural world without interfering with it. “The more exposed people are to nature, the better they feel,” imparts Cherry. “I love the aesthetic of this region, not just for its raw beauty, but also for the light conditions that are always changing. It’s so dynamic, and there is variety even in the everyday experience.”

Curating how the footprint of the building will respond to the light that graces its surroundings is another element that is unique to each project. And once again, knowing the needs of the homeowner and what is desirable within their space is critical to the success of each project. “Whether or not a room is going to be brightly lit or more subdued should be based on the client’s input,” he says. Understanding how the home will be enjoyed by those living in it gives definition to the success of each project.

Rowen Architecture’s success in the Flathead Valley region and beyond has been served by word of mouth. Projects are primarily referral-based, with a satisfaction rate that continues to grow the reputation of the firm. When designers are not selfishly motivated, but instead dig into personalization and serving the preferences of their client, it is truly rewarding to everyone involved.


A Comforting Material Palette

Jason Cherry loves the massing of modernism in architecture but admits that it can be cold and sterile in its purest form. With the mountain modern movement, however, the materials are working in harmony with nature and bring warmth back to the design. “A home’s massing and finishes should be rooted in and complementary to the vernacular beauty. The design can have the strong, clean lines of modernism but should be balanced with warm, authentic materials and carefully integrated with the natural site,” he explains.

Even detail in the selection and installation of stone as an exterior finish is taken into deep consideration. In the Rocky Mountain West, the color and texture of stone shifts with location. Cherry expresses that acquiring this element closer to the build location matters and provides an even deeper connection to a project’s surroundings.


“When you’re studying a design feature, considering how the sun might dance across a surface could make all the difference.”

–Jason Cherry

Getting into conversation with this architect feels like listening to an artist. He speaks of a home’s material palette and aesthetic viability. “When you’re studying a design feature, considering how the sun might dance across a surface could make all the difference,” he says. Cherry’s undergraduate degree is in art in architecture, with a high focus on design. “You’re creating a piece of art that people live in,” he states. But instead of being an artist who works in solitude, his ability to collaborate in order to get the job done is part of his prowess as a designer.


Problem-Solving for a Win


Embracing the relationship side of a project is not limited to Rowan Architecture clients. Instead, there are many voices that must be heard around a table in order to collaborate to a successful end. These are the contractors, structural engineers, interior designers, and landscape architects, to name just a few. “I enjoy connecting with all of the team members assigned to a project. The more we are able to work with everyone’s feedback, the better the project will turn out,” Cherry explains.

“There is a push and pull of how we get the job done and a lot of collaboration is needed. Part of the enjoyment is because of the challenge. My whole job is problem-solving and coordinating a broad range of requirements,” he continues. “It’s a puzzle, but it’s still an artful experience with the craftsmanship, expertise, and interplay of relationships that result in a beautiful synergy. With how complex the whole process is, you simply can’t say enough about how it feels when it all comes together in an inspiring, meaningful composition.”