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the hip boathouse 

This site is located on Herman’s Island, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. The location is remote, accessed via a private drive running back from the island’s traditionally settled south coastline to the more wild, forested north. In this context, there is a degree of critical dislocation from the established idea of Nova Scotian Boathouse, and its particular, strong formal lineage. Metaphorically, the journey west through the forest becomes a passage out of the deeply rooted architectural vernacular of Lunenburg County to a more primordial context where established formal imagery can be warped and re-imagined.


In this way, the Boathouse design became a point of expressive re-interpretation and experimentation: roof pitches are varied, with the west hip leaning more strongly out to sea, while the east maintains a human scale at the ramp entry. The elevations are allowed to respond to site conditions: minimal openings on the north side, maximum openings on the south side to take advantage of sun. A deep cut in the south elevation contrasts and emphasizes the mass of the volume, while admitting a concealed stair up into the middle of the plan which bisects the two functional zones. The building is set on stilts hovering above the high water line, with the front porch cantilevering over the beach edge. 

Photographs: Julian Parkinson