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Ghost Architectural Laboratory

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited

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Project Description

The laboratory, an architectural-education center in the tradition of Taliesin, is sited on the Nova Scotia coast, where Samuel de Champlain made landfall in 1604. The tower, studio, cabins, barns, and boathouse were constructed as part of the lab’s design/build curriculum. The buildings accommodate the center’s programming and provide a venue for community events.

Jury: “This project reveals itself as more than just a grouping of buildings; it is a physical experiment in education, as well as an act of will to preserve the serene beauty in the landscape. … This project is truly more than the sum of its parts; it is a wonderful resolution of materials, details, landscape, and learning.”

Client: “One of the things that gave the Ghost Lab a certain kind of discipline was that everything was made out of wood. So there was this kind of limited-means thing about it. It was like a major constraint: Everything had to be made out of wood you could get overnight from a local mill. In that sense, it was really like a research lab, where you have constants, you have controls, as well as variables. So a sustained study in wood framing gives it depth, rather than the materials changing all the time.” —Brian MacKay-Lyons, Hon. FAIA, founder of Ghost Architectural and Laboratory and founding principal of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple
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