As part of the Co-op Program, Talbot worked at Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture and Urban Design and also abroad at the office of Shin Takamatsu in Berlin, Germany. In 1997, he joined the firm of KPMB in Toronto where he gained experience in design of institutional buildings.
In 1999, Talbot returned to Halifax to accept a position with Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design as a project architect for the Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science Building. While at Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design, Talbot contributed to projects that have won numerous awards and have appeared in many international publications.
In 2005, Talbot partnered with Brian to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited. With Talbot's interest in public architecture and constant search for design excellence, the partnership was a natural fit. The firm now enjoys many exciting international public commissions. Talbot's ability to integrate client and user needs with award winning architectural design is exemplified by the success of several award winning projects.
Since 1996, Talbot has taught design and technology studios at the Dalhousie University Faculty of Architecture. He has also taught at Syracuse University, the University of Arkansas and in 2004, along with Brian MacKay-Lyons, was appointed to the Ruth and Norman Chair at Washington University in St. Louis. As of 2013, Talbot has been appointed the faculty position of Professor of Practice at Dalhousie University.
After studying in China, Japan, California and Italy working with Charles Moore, Barton Myers and Giancarlo De Carlo, Brian returned to Nova Scotia in 1983 to challenge the historic maritime 'brain drain' trend, and to make a cultural contribution to Nova Scotia where his Acadian and Mi'kmaq ancestors have lived for centuries. In 1985 he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax. Twenty years later, Brian partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd. The firm has built an international reputation for Design Excellence confirmed by over 100 awards including six Governor General Awards, two American Institute of Architects Honor Awards for Architecture, 13 Lieutenant Governor’s Medals of Excellence, 8 Canadian Architect Awards, four Architectural Record House Awards, seven North American Wood Design Awards and in 2014 the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Firm Award. In 2015, Brian was awarded the RAIC Gold Medal, Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement in architecture. He is a fellow with both the RAIC and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA); Brian was named Honorary (International) Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon.FAIA) in 2001 and most recently an International Fellow from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Int. FRIBA) in January, 2016.
Brian's work has been recognized by over 300 monographs, books and journal publications internationally. A third monograph of Brian's career written by architectural historian Malcolm Quantrill and published by Princeton Architectural Press in New York, Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons, was published in 2005. Brian is currently writing another book for Princeton Architectural Press, Local Architecture, telling the story of the Ghost 13: International Architectural Conference.
As a full professor of architecture at Dalhousie University, Brian has contributed to architectural education in the region for 30 years. He has held numerous visiting professorships and endowed academic chairs at leading universities including: The Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Dusseldorf, University of Houston, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Michigan, University of Arkansas, University of Maryland, Texas A & M University, Auburn University, Tulane University, Syracuse University, Middlebury College, University of Oklahoma, McGill University, and Harvard University. Brian has held an international summer internship called Ghost on his farm since 1994. He has given over 180 public lectures on his work internationally. The firms work has been the subject of over 100 exhibitions internationally.
Houses designed in Atlantic Canada have made Brian a leading proponent of critical regionalist architecture worldwide. This recognition has led to a transition in the practice toward increased public and international commissions, involving increased complexity in both design and project delivery. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited is one of the few Canadian firms to consistently receive international critical acclaim within the discipline today.