Brian Mackay-Lyons adds steel cabin to his Nova Scotia estate

Brian Mackay-Lyons adds pre-rusted steel cabin to his Nova Scotia estate

Canadian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons has built a cabin for an architecture intern at his Nova Scotia farmstead, featuring a rough skin of weathering steel, and a rustic but compact interior (+ slideshow).

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

The MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects co-founder designed Enough House as the latest addition to Shobac, the former summer camp that the architect has spent the last few decades transforming into an "agricultural village".

But unlike the more traditional timber properties on the estate, which range from cottages to barns and schoolhouses, the small gabled cabin has its walls and roof clad with Corten.

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

This weathering steel gives the building a rich orange tone that will continue to change in colour as its ages.

"Enough House shares the same minimalist ethic as the adjacent schoolhouse, but the schoolhouse is classical and an essay in wood detailing, whereas Enough House is developed from materiality that is thoroughly contemporary," said MacKay-Lyons.

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

With just 65 square metres of floor space across its two levels, the house has a simple arrangement that is loosely inspired by the home of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, with a cosy living space downstairs and a sleeping loft above.

Its wooden frame is revealed inside, where timber beams and columns are left exposed. They are complemented by dark-stained pine floorboards and a folded steel staircase.

Bespoke joinery also features, along with leather furniture, an animal-skin rug and a large wood-burning stove.

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

"The exposed Douglas fir plywood sheathing, the wide stained pine floorboards and the plywood cabinetry match the rusted palette, giving the building a monolithic effect," said MacKay-Lyons.

The entire house is also raised up on concrete fins, reducing its impact on the rural landscape. Engineered by the architect's daughter, Renee MacKay-Lyons, these fins extend out to create patio and garden spaces.

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

Enough House forms part of MacKay-Lyons' continual work with Ghost Lab, a design-build workshop he launched in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright's school of architecture at Taliesin.

It was this ongoing project – along with a series of standout houses, like the stilted Cliff House and the seaside Sunset Rock House – that led to the architect being awarded Canada's most prestigious architecture award, the RAIC Gold Medal in 2015.

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

Like many other buildings at Shobac, Enough House is seen by MacKay-Lyons as prototype for other projects, exploring ideas of form, materiality, composition and structure.

It provides a home for an architecture intern for nine months of the year, and during the summer months it will be rented out as a holiday retreat. According to the team, it can sleep up to seven people at a time.

Enough house weathering steel cabin in Nova Scotia by Brian Mackay Lyons

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects is based in Halifax, and is led by MacKay-Lyons with Talbot Sweetapple. Other recent projects by the studio include a timber-clad gym and spa building.

Photography is by James Brittain.