PRIVATE RESIDENCE “Smith House” | The Plan
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A domestic haven

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited

Located on the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, on a point of land reaching out between a stretch of brackish inland water and the ocean, Smith House is the latest addition to the reconstituted historic settlement gradually being built by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects. Together with the other holiday homes already on site, the three cabins making up the new home are part of a contemporary rural village on the site of a former inshore fishing community. Like all communities, the MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple project has grown over time, different units being added at different times, but nonetheless forming a clearly recognizable village despite variegated forms and materials. Smith House is part of an agricultural landscape that includes other residences designed by the same practice. These include the Shobac Cottages or Campus, a reconstructed agricultural community designed by the firm’s founder, Brian MacKay-Lyons, and Talbot Sweetapple as a hands-on, live-in teaching laboratory. The three new cabins are the latest addition to a highly symbolic ambitious concept started in 1994 when the architect and a group of students developed the first Ghost project: a translucent tent over the ruins of a famous 400-year old compound not far from Smith House as signal of the return to life and restoration of the former community. Although an architecture, this MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple project is first and foremost a statement that architecture must be part of a specific landscape, in this case, a small historic site in an agricultural setting. Their solution in this setting is an iteration of simple forms and materials. The road leading to Smith House is lined by a series of reconstructed historical buildings, fenced fields stretching into the distance and simple houses in vernacular styles, only their cladding materials and essential minimalist details revealing their contemporary character. The regular sequence of fenced-off fields continues uninterrupted until it...

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