Cliff House / Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

Architects: Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Location: ,
Area: 960 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Greg Richardson

© Greg Richardson

From the architect. This project is the first of a series of projects for a large 455 acre site on Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast. This pure box in the landscape is precariously perched off a bedrock cliff to heighten one’s experience of the landscape through a sense of vertigo and a sense of floating on the sea. This strategy features the building’s fifth elevation – its ‘belly’.

© Greg Richardson

This modest 960 square foot cabin functions as a rustic retreat. Its main level (16×44) contains a great room with a north cabinet wall, along with a service core. The open loft (16×16) is a sleeping perch. A large south-facing deck allows the interior stage to flow outward through the large windows. This is a modest, affordable cabin that is intended as a repeatable prototype. A large, galvanized, steel superstructure anchors it to the cliff. A light steel endoskeleton forms the primary structure expressed on the interior. The envelope is a simple flat form framed box, which is clad in cedar shiplap.

Ground Floor Plan
Cite: "Cliff House / Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects" 12 Dec 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • dwaine frazier

    very exciting love it

  • PJ

    Beautiful location and the building isn’t half-bad either! I wish the bedroom had some kind of a view as well, I find prioritising the living area somewhat unecessary. Also, I would have left out the terrace, or alternatively reduced its size a lot.

    One thing is puzzling me, though: looking at the interior shots and the truss under the ceiling, can anyone tell me why it is asymmetrical? Is there more loads on one side of the house?

  • Pierre

    There’s NO WAY that’s a 960m² house….

    • Kamil

      Maybe 960 m^3 :)

    • Earnald Lumbert

      let’s see: 16 x 44 = 704. 16 x16= 256. Seems an awful lot like 960 sf to me. Or looking at spaces: a kitchen/dining room, a living room, a bedroom, and a bath.

  • Rod Piper

    Love it :)