Leahy House

Nova Scotia  Canada  –  MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

Year built:     2010 Awards:     2011 Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Merit A minimalist, almost austere exterior belies the internal warmth of this home. Designed for a harsh climate and minimal maintenance, the exterior mimics the local architecture in both appearance and form.

Mimicking the local rural buildings
Mimicking the local rural buildings

The architect’s notes: The house is located in the agricultural landscape along Nova Scotia’s Northumberland shore. Its environmental response begins with the conservation/cultivation of the field, by hugging an existing hedgerow. It borrows the narrow, gabled roof forms of the local Scottish barns. The four, parallel ‘barns’ are subtracted out of a square site plan; creating a series of framed courtyard microclimates (arrival court, covered living porch, screened porch, open south deck). Each of the four ‘barns’ contains a principle program element: central living pavilion, library pavilion, master pavilion, and garden shed. In the living pavilion a central service core contains kitchen, pantry, laundry, bathroom, closets, and foyer cabinets. In the library the inhabitants are wrapped by a continuous liner of books, with a water-facing day bed. The master suite contains a bedroom and ensuite bath. Two ‘totemic’ spacers are inserted between the pavilions (e.g. hearth). The exterior cladding is standard corrugated Galvalume, aluminum storefront glazing, which invites solar gain, while framing expansive views. Inspired by local metal farm buildings, interior walls and trusses are stained wood. The central core is clad in lacquered millwork. Concrete floors contain a passive, hydronic in-floor heating system. The result is a disciplined, minimalist essay on the local vernacular building tradition. Click on any image to start lightbox display.  Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.  You can also view the images as a slideshow if you prefer  8-)


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