2002 Governor General’s Medals for Architecture: House on the Nova Scotia Coast #22, Oxner’s Head, Nova Scotia

Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design

Located near the LaHave River estuary, the project consists of a pair of lantern-like buildings on two hilltops, one of which overlooks the ocean and the other the river. The guest house and the main house each sit on drumlins that contain a natural wetland between them, considered a central garden and a wildlife corridor through the site. In each building, the entry and servant elements are organized on the east side of a concrete wall. A belt of glazing eight feet in height and horizontal sliding barn doors form the base of the building and provide natural light. The belt also gives the second floor the appearance of a “folk-tech” truss-filled box. Giant, flush metal barn doors turn the house from a mute box protected from the elements into an open pavilion. A finger-jointed folk-tech timber frame is completely visible on the inside; other elements include a heated concrete floor slab, block wall and block hearth.