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supernova scotia

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The Danielson House by Brian MacKay-Lyons is a low-cost retirement home for a meteorologist and a landscape architect. Perched on a cliffside on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island, it takes full advantage of the spectacular views

A projecting bay on the ocean side of the house offers a cosy retreat from the cavernous main space in the form of a fireside seat from which to enjoy the view. Timber-fronted cupboards create a packing case feel. Externally the bay is timber-clad.

The fire alcove contrasts with the continuous picture windows which make up most of the ocean-side elevation. The house enjoys views across Aspy Bay to Cape North. At night there are views of the North Star, and Newfoundland is visible on a clear day.

There is a local tradition of constructing lightweight mobile structures which draw inspiration from boat-building techniques.

Much of the Danielson House was prefabricated, partly for reasons of economy, and partly to fit in with the short construction season.

A 38m long timber platform hovers above the ground parallel to the ocean, forming an internal open-plan living area and an external seating deck. The solid screen can be raised to blur the boundary between the two.

Cellular servant spaces are contained within a timber box which runs along the rear wall. Finger-jointed timber trusses sit on boxes, creating an archetypal lean-to structure.

Sliding timber doors screen the kitchen from the living room, exaggerating the contrast between the box-like elements and the more fluid stick-built public space.

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