Courtyard house on the rugged coast

The Martin-Lancaster house is a 3000 square foot courtyard house, situated on the rugged Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects the home consists of four primary components: (1) a gabled garage/guest house, (2) a gabled social pavilion, (3) a north-facing service bar, and (4) an arrival court between.

The arrival sequence is a procession toward the sea; past the protective garage, down into the protected courtyard, along a bench, into the foyer, then into the double-height living pavilion, and onto a terrace above the sea. The south-facing social pavilion is anchored by a totemic concrete hearth.

This is an abstract, highly restrained project which is an essay on the local material culture traditions of the place. The monolithic zero-detailed, local, cedar-shingled walls and roofs respond well to the frequent wet/dry, freeze/thaw cycles of the labile marine climate. Clean curtain wall glazing allows the landscape to flow through the house. A heavy timber structure in the living pavilion signifies its social function. The passive solar building strategy is extended to the interior through the use of an in-floor, hydronic radiation system.

Photos: Greg Richardson

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