Monday, May 2, 2011

Hill House : By MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

Nova Scotia, Canada
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Post By:Kitticoon Poopong
Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography
The Hill House is situated alongside the Nova Scotia’s south shore. The design embraces a long tradition of light timber framing and taut skinned building envelopes, which result in an architecture that is ironically both massive and delicate.

Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography
At first glance Hill House appears to be audaciously sited atop a glacial hill (drumlin) along Nova Scotia’s south shore. However, it’s hilltop courtyard strangely responds to the traditional pattern of hilltop farms found throughout Lunenburg county; where a microclimate is formed by the simple pin wheeling siting of house and barn. As a result the house ‘cultivates’ rather than consumes the landscape. It merges with the hill with respectful confidence. The setting integrates both natural and cultural landscape geometries.
Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography
The house is aligned on the north south axis of the 250 year old agrarian pattern, while the diagonal path through the courtyard follows the long north-west axis of the drumlin left by the glacier 15,000 years ago. The hilltop siting underlines and resolves the desire for ‘prospect’ with the need for ‘refuge’. While the house acts as a 360° panopticon, its courtyard and battered haunches offer protection in a harsh Canadian climate. This house, for a landscape photographer, is often described as a camera a didactic instrument which explains the landscape.
Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography
The program for this 3,000 sqf, 3 bedroom house consists of the main house (with studio), a barn (with guest quarters), and a courtyard garden between. Two low millwork and concrete walls uncoil from the two structures to embrace the courtyard axis. House and barn pinwheel with each other along a central courtyard axis. Social space and barn face inward to the courtyard through covered porches, while private spaces are stacked at the outer ends of the project. ‘Served’ and ‘servant’ functions are clearly articulated.
This is a project which aspires for absolute conceptual clarity within minimum means.
Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography

Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography
Hill house expresses the material culture traditions of the Maritimes. It exhibits a kind of minimalism which is born out of a Spartan cultural ethic that eschews ostentation, and out of a response to a severe, labile climate. This ‘cultural sustainability’ is reinforced by hydronic in floor heating, the use of local, renewable materials and craftsmanship, resulting in an accessible and affordable architecture.
Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography

Photo © Courtesy of Steven Evans Photography
The people
Architects: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Photographs: Steven Evans Photography
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