Martin-Lancaster House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

The Martin-Lancaster house is a 3000 square foot courtyard house, situated on the rugged Atlantic coast of . It 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.

Architects: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Location: Prospect, Nova Scotia, Canada
Project Area: 3,000 sqf
Photographs: Greg Richardson

© Greg Richardson

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.

© Greg Richardson
Cite: "Martin-Lancaster House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects" 18 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • archy mirror

    so simply, so clever. but I don’t like that huge tube

  • alechs

    What’s with the flat roof? Not to hark but this seems a bit pedestrian and overly fussy for MacKay Lyons. This project is like a reminder of his earlier works which I am not opposed to. It just feels weird because compared to his Messenger houses (the formal pinnacle of his style in my opinion), this seems like a bit of step down. Regardless it’s great to see a project come from him.

  • Jay Banks

    The design of the house reminds me of 19th century protestant villages. I can clearly imagine a woman in black dress walking out of the door and shouting at me to stop playing music or something like that.

  • vlad

    people criticizing this sort of project can only be students

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