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What is it about stark and brooding landscapes that brings out the modernist? Organic-shaped structures and hobbit houses are found in the riot of primeval forestlands, but out on the windswept rocky scarps of Norway, Iceland, Nova Scotia, the blunt hard lines of the box are more commonly found, like this 960 square foot cabin by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.

Their description:

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’.

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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.

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Photos by Greg Richardson


Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite. To see more weekend cabins, visit the Weekend Cabin channel page.


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