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Two Hulls House

Two Hulls House by MackKaty-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is a 3,360-square-foot structure raised on concrete piers. Its twin pavilions are cantilevered 32 feet out toward the sea.This project is situated in a glaciated, coastal landscape, with a cool maritime climate. The geomorphology of the site consists of granite bedrock and boulder till, creating pristine white sand beaches, and turquoise waters.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-02-759x949 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

The two pavilions float above the shoreline like two ship’s hulls up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them. This is a landscape-viewing instrument; like a pair of binoculars, first looking out to sea. A third transverse ‘eye’ looks down the coastline, and forms a linking entry piece. A concrete seawall on the foreshore protects the house from rogue waves.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-03-759x505 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

This is a full-time home for a family of four; consisting of a ‘day pavilion’ and a ‘night pavilion’. One approaches from the understated land side between the abstract, library ends of the two pavilions; then either passes through towards the sea, or left into the living pavilion, or right into the sleeping pavilion. One structure contains a central core, while the other contains a side core. The seaward ends of the two main forms (living and master bedroom) delaminate, creating protected outdoor porches, or night time ‘lanterns’ over the water. The third linking form contains the generous entry foyer, core, and the kitchen. The great room contains a floating 30′ totemic hearth.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-06 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

The challenge of the custom house remains a fertile research vehicle in the education of an architect. This is a steel frame house, with a wood skin. Its white, steel endoskeleton resists both gravity loads and wind uplift. The 32′ cantilevers and concrete fin foundations invite the sea to pass under without damage. The wooden rain screen consists of 8″ vertical, board-on-batten on the two ‘hulls’, while the linking piece is a monolithic block of weathered wood inside and out, clad in 4″ horizontal shiplap. The lantern ends dematerialise by eliminating the 1″ channel joints. The fenestration of the ‘binocular’ ends is minimalist curtain wall with structural silicone. The side elevations contain storefront glazing. The concrete floors contain a geothermally heated hydronic system. This sculptural, yet calm and mature project contains generous white volumes on the interior, and exhibits the ironic monumentality of boats on the exterior.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-07 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects:

This project is situated in a glaciated, coastal landscape, with a cool maritime climate. The geomorphology of the site consists of granite bedrock and boulder till, creating pristine white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. The two pavilions float above the shoreline like two ship’s hulls up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them. This is a landscape-viewing instrument; like a pair of binoculars, first looking out to sea. A third transverse ‘eye’ looks down the coastline, and forms a linking entry piece.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-08 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson


Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-09 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

A concrete seawall on the foreshore protects the house from rogue waves. This is a full-time home for a family of four; consisting of a ‘day pavilion’ and a ‘night pavilion’. One approaches from the understated land side between the abstract, library ends of the two pavilions; then either passes through toward the sea, or left into the living pavilion, or right into the sleeping pavilion. One structure contains a central core, while the other contains a side core. The seaward ends of the two main forms (living and master bedroom) delaminate, creating protected outdoor porches, or night time ‘lanterns’ over the water. The third linking form contains the generous entry foyer, core, and the kitchen. The great room contains a floating 24′ totemic hearth. The house remains a fertile research vehicle in the education of an architect.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-16-759x945 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson


Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-17 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

This is a steel frame house, with a wood skin. Its white, steel endoskeleton resists both gravity loads and wind uplift. The 32′ cantilevers and concrete fin foundations invite the sea to pass under without damage. The wooden rain screen consists of 8″ vertical, board-on-batten on the two ‘hulls’, while the linking piece is a monolithic block of weathered wood inside and out, clad in 4″ horizontal shiplap. The lantern ends dematerialise by eliminating the 1″ channel joints. The fenestration of the ‘binocular’ ends is minimalist curtain wall with structural silicone. The side elevations contain storefront glazing. The concrete floors contain a geothermally heated hydronic system. This sculptural, yet calm and mature project contains generous white volumes on the interior, and exhibits the ironic monumentality of boats on the exterior.

Two-Hulls-House-By-MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple-Architects-04-759x990 Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects

© Greg Richardson

Project Data:

Project name: Two Hulls House
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Coordinates: n/a
Type:

  • Type By Characteristic: Cabin / Hut / Cottage
  • Type By Site: Beach House
  • Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Steel House

Structural system: Steel frame
Project Area: 3,360 square feet
Completion Year: November 2011

Awards:

  • 2014 – Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize – Nominate
  • 2014 – Architizer A+ Awards – Popular Choice Winner
  • 2012 – AZURE Magazine’s Awards – Category: Architecture > Residential – People’s Choice Winner
  • 2011 – Architectural Record Awards – Record Houses
  • 2011 – North American Wood Design Award – Citation
  • 2011 – Canadian Architect Awards – Award of Excellence
  • 2011 – Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Awards – Medal of Excellence

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects – 2188 Gottingen Street, Halifax, NS B3K 3B4, Canada
Project Architect: Brian MacKay-Lyons, Talbot Sweetapple
Project Team: Kevin Reid, David Bourque, Omar Gandhi, Sawa Rostkowska, Jordan Rice.
Structural Engineer: Campbell Comeau Engineering Limited
General contractor: Delmar Construction
Text Description: © Courtesy of Woods Bagot-Domenic Alvaro
Images: © Greg Richardson

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Two Hulls House / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
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