Hilltop home calms rough Nova Scotia coast.
This house is a year-round retirement home with high design aspiration but tight budget ($100cn/square foot). It consists of a main house and guest house for the children and grandchildren. The best bedroom unexpectedly occupies the prime ground level position at the south corner of the building. The house sits on a glacial hilltop perpendicular to the Nova Scotia coast to the southeast; and parallel to a river estuary to the southwest, where it overlooks the ruins of a nearly 400-year-old village. The exposed hilltop needed protection—the southwest-facing, open spaces are wrapped on three sides by private cellular spaces. The servant spaces wrap and protect the served.
A guest living room, main living room, covered porch, and protruding deck form a "virtual" greatroom, composing the gathering areas of the house. The house’s southwest glass facade is protected by sliding barn doors that can be used during severe weather. This most public part of the house is centered on the open courtyard.
The project is relaxed about adopting the contemporary North American vernacular of this two-by-six-foot platform frame construction. It embraces the inherent structural plasticity of that tradition by creating a thin-skinned torsion box on sonotube foundations. Openings are made by either incisions, or by peeling back layers of its fabric: shingles, sheathing, strapping, or studs. By virtue of its tight, zero-detailing, the house is prominent, yet silent, in keeping with its austere setting