Recreational House Design in Nova Scotia, Canada

Architects Omar Gandhi Architect
Location Nova Scotia, Canada
Photography Ema Peter Photography


Sluice Point is located at the southern tip of Nova Scotia, within the Argyle Township of Yarmouth County. The site is located on a high and wooded point, adjacent to long and low views of marshes, small islands and the waters of the Tusket River in the Gulf of Maine.

The coast is dotted with very few cabins and small, traditional houses, far from being overdeveloped with new buildings. From the initial site visit, it was clear that any proposed building should be respectful. The shape of the building would be low, long and horizontal, and the palette of materials would be composed of natural and local materials, which would blend with the landscape. Formally, the building is inspired by the infamous Acadian saltwater barns, "une barge", which dot the local landscape. Historically, the haystacks allowed to store hay in the open marshes on structures that kept it elevated and protected from the water by the time the marshes were flooded.

Customers are Swiss seasonal occupants, who use the home as an outlet for recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, hiking and more. As such, it was crucial that the space be designed to be durable, resistant and easy to maintain. This was achieved by using a pallet consisting of natural and raw materials such as concrete and local wood siding.

The client had several requirements that we could integrate in the early stages of the design. The large space of the room should be open, versatile and free of distractions when necessary to emphasize the exterior view. This translated into a space that could be transformed from a completely programmed interior space to one that was completely hidden and minimal. Flexible elements such as a series of sliding panels, barn doors and a central rotating chimney allow the center of activity and gravity to change easily and flow naturally.

The program required open deck spaces and covered outdoors. One of them should be used as a deck for the mornings outside the main suite, where the client could enjoy a cup of coffee and enjoy the sunrise to the east. The second, a covered deck, was to be a space for nightly entertainment, an extension of the living room where occupants and guests could enjoy the revolving fireplace from a covered space that could extend into the high seasons.

The semicircular design of the residence places the living areas along the side of the "views", while the services are located on the back of the floor. The structure consists of flanking bedroom wings and a large indoor / outdoor central room space that is entirely lined with local light fir and birch wood. The monolithic appearance has the feeling that the space is carved in the external form of wood.

Materiality, form and location are intrinsically connected to the local condition. The economic roof of the shed is inspired by the local fishing sheds and shanties scattered along the Nova Scotia coast - with a smooth transformation. The roof frame encompasses the exterior walls, allowing a roof form as economically and efficiently as possible. Both the wall and the ceiling are covered with the same white cedar from the east, of local origin, creating a shell of wooden shingles.

As one approaches the residence, one faces with a low ceiling, a gently inclined wall and a minimum amount of glass in the form of discontinuous dotted tape. The vertex of the view is highlighted with a bright white arc, which marks the entrance and pierces the center of the house.

The entrance arch is oriented with a high corridor, compressed on the sides. In extreme contrast, when one enters space, one passes through the threshold and enters the great room, where a long and low horizontal panorama of the marshy coast and the view towards the sea, with the points of the islands, is presented. Up to the point of entry, the panoramic view of the landscape is hidden from the visitor, since the width of the house hides a spectacular view.

Cozy Architecture Studio Office Design - SelgasCano

Architecture SelgasCano
Location Madrid, Spain
Year 2007

About SelgasCano

The office of the Madrid architects José Selgas and Lucía Cano, built in 2007, is a simple white longitudinal container that is inserted in a wooded environment simply by burying itself, and generating an extremely attractive image with few projective resources. It has turned out to be the most seen project of the well-known Archdaily page in its five years of history.

This small Spanish studio has achieved a stunning international recognition since they designed and built the Palacio de Congresos de Badajoz in 2006. They make an architecture of simple spaces and vibrant colors. His formative process has been quite intense graduating both by the School of Architecture of Madrid in 1992. José Selgas would later obtain the Prix de Roma scholarship in 1998, having also worked in Naples with Francesco Venezia. Lucía Cano is the daughter of the well-known Madrid-born architect Julio Cano Lasso, in whose studio she would work until 2003. Since then they have created a studio of their own that has produced a few works of interest and recognized popularity.

Five years ago, Segas and Cano built this small office space to house their own design company. It is a small rectangular volume very elongated that is buried in the ground. There is only space for a row of tables perpendicular to the wall next to a bookcase, a longitudinal corridor and another shelf that follows the path of the other wall. The construction is very simple a concrete vessel buried in the ground on which a light enclosure is placed. The roof is divided into two parts, one closed to the south, consisting of a sandwich of three layers, in polyester fibers, glass and insulation, which protects from direct sunlight. And another, transparent, that covers the north of the curved plexiglass plate, thus allowing to offer a complete illumination of the workspace. All this is maintained by a simple curved metal structure that gives rise to the characteristic section of rounded corners.

The different areas that make up this sparse plant are subdivided with Plexiglas panels and colored doors with curved finials. An office and a tiny bathroom adhere to the main work space for 8 people, which is accessed by a small stairway embedded in the ground.

This project is in itself a radical bet that sins of an excessive simplicity and that, however, offers a unique photogenic with its colorful yellow and orange green. The report made by the extraordinary photographer Iwan Baan offers highly evocative and suggestive images. At first glance it would seem like the dream paradise for every architectural student.