- Design Team: Susan Fitzgerald, Matt Davis, Shawn Doyle, Alicia Gilmore, Kaitlyn Labrecque, Danny Goodz
- City: East Chester
- Country: Canada
Text description provided by the architects. Designed for an active couple in their seventies that will never retire, and their extended grown-up family, this house embraces living well while ageing in place. It subscribes to timeless ideals about making good architecture. It is responsive to sitting for placemaking while emphasizing light and views. It creates spatial richness within a modest program and budget. The structure is used as an organizer of shelter and space. The architecture combines materials that are climatically and culturally responsive. Consisting of the main house and an outbuilding containing a dwelling and a workshop, the project understands work, of many types, as an integral part of living.
The program of the main house includes two bedrooms; a living space that is a changing gallery that celebrates family artists; space for gathering and games; a kitchen where cooking and canning are multi-generational activities; a large dining area for family celebrations; and a sewing room for elaborate crafts. Centred around evolving family activities the home supports an everyday culture that evokes what is best for daily life. Lightly sited within a meadow in Scotch Cove in East Chester, Nova Scotia at the edge of the ocean, the dwelling frames the spectacular views of Graves Island and the Tancooks. In conjunction with the out-building, a sheltered forecourt is formed for parking cars, washer toss, and croquet.
Within the out-building, the second-story dwelling space peeks above the house’s vegetated and metal roofs to ocean views. Multiple elements within the house extend dwelling out into the bucolic ocean landscape. The interior concrete floors reach outside to create an at-grade patio complete with kitchen herb garden. The roof and cedar soffit float above a clerestory with continuous views of the sky around the home, important to the sailors in the family. The stone element, housing the indoor and outdoor fireplace, slides out of the façade to create interior and exterior sitting areas. The laminated timber structure marches through the building and across the site shaping the spaces under it to form a covered barbequing area to the south of the home.
Sustainability is an integral part of the project as an evolving container for the living and by prioritizing local materials and trades. Environmentally, the building has overhangs to calibrate solar gain. Thermal mass within the concrete floors absorbs winter sun for passive heat. The triple glazing and increased insulation enhance the thermal envelope. While the narrow cross section and high and low operators increase ventilation from ocean breezes. The collaborative relationship among architect, client, and builder facilitated the entire process. Founded upon shared values that included: siting the building together to enhance views and minimize earth disturbance; understanding the intimacy between craft, materials, and details; and a respect for budget and schedule. Mediating between traditional materials and modernity, the home celebrates placemaking and everyday Nova Scotian culture, evoking what is best about family and daily life.