Nocturne: Art at Night 2013

On October 19th MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects participated in Halifax’s Nocturne: Art at Night 2013 installment. Visitors, fueled by hot cocoa and the thrill of the evening, created a community mural aimed to reflect ideas of space, the built environment, landscape, and dwelling. The result: a foray into nature, flying cats, UFO’s and yoga. Well done, Halifax! The mural is open to the public Monday to Friday between 9 – 5 pm at our office on Gottingen Street.

The Village Architect

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects has now designed dozens of buildings on Nova Scotia's Kingsburg peninsula. Some stand out while others like Muir/Craig Cottage blend seamlessly into the vernacular landscape. Here are a few new photos, and more can be seen by clicking the Muir/Craig Cottage link above or going to our Portfolio.

Architect for Life

The house on the Nova Scotia coast, House 22 was constructed and completed in 1998. In 2009 the Spa was added, and in 2013 all of the original interiors have been updated in clear white ash millwork. Here are a few new photos, and more can be seen by clicking the House 22 link above or going to our Portfolio.

Lieutenant Governor's Design Awards Received

Lieutenant Governor's Design Awards Being Received

The Lieutenant Governor's Design Awards for 2012 were awarded on July 23rd, 2013. Sliding House and Sunset Rock House both received an NSAA Award of Merit. Pictured above (from left to right) is Brian MacKay-Lyons, Honourable Brigadier-General J. J. Grant, and Project Architects Peter Broughton and Matt Malone.

Upcoming Lectures for Brian MacKay-Lyons

The following is a list of upcoming lectures for Brian MacKay-Lyons, make sure to check back for any updates:
• National Summit Council for Canadian Urbanism, Halifax, September 29th 2013
• Residential Architect, San Francisco, October 11th 2013
• Design Council of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, October 21st-22nd 2013
• Fay Jones School of Architecture, Arkansas, October 28th 2013
• Lecture in Marfa,Texas, Novemeber 14th 2013
• AIA Virginia, Virginia, November 2014
• Rural Studio, Alabama, February 13th-14th 2014
• University of Colorado, Colorado, Spring 2014

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Awarded Two Lieutenant Governor's Design Awards

The Nova Scotia Association of Architects (NSAA) have recently awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Design Awards for 2012, and MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects have been honored with two awards. Sliding House and Sunset Rock House both received an NSAA Award of Merit, and the Honourable Brigadier-General J. J. Grant, OMM, CD, ONS, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia will present the Lieutenant Governor Design Awards later this summer.

Talbot Sweetapple Appointed Faculty Position

Talbot Sweetapple has been appointed to a new faculty position at Dalhousie University, where he has previously served as an Adjunct Professor for many years. Talbot has now been given the position of Professor of Practice at Dalhousie University's Faculty of Architecture.

To see a full profile for Talbot, you can click here.

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Win Residential Architect Design Award

Winners of the 2013 Residential Architect Design Awards (RADA) were recently announced in April 2013. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects were awarded the Merit Award in the Custom Home (3,000 sq ft or less) category for our Sliding House project. The winning projects will be published in the May/June 2013 issue of Residential Architect Magazine, and also on their website at All of the RADA winners will also be honored at the upcoming AIA National Covention and Expo, which will be held in Denver from June 20-22.

To see the press release announcing the award winners, you can click here.

Shobac Cottages Featured in Air Canada enRoute Magazine

Shobac Cottages in Kingsburg, NS has recently been featured in the May 2013 issue of Air Canada's enRoute Magazine. Four chefs from different parts of Atlantic Canada gathered at the property of Brian MacKay-Lyons to enjoy some beautiful architecture, scenery, and of course some delicious "new-wave coastal cuisine". The cover page of the magazine has an amazing picture of one of the chefs perched upon a wooden tower built as part of a Ghost lab, and overlooking the wonderful Nova Scotia coastline. The article titled "Fisherman's Friends" also has no short of great photography, and even has some recipes.

To view the cover page and read the entire magazine, you can click here.

To skip right to the article, you can click here.

Brian MacKay-Lyons speaking at RAIC Festival of Architecture 2013

Brian MacKay-Lyons will be the Opening Reception Keynote Speaker at the RAIC Festival of Architecture 2013 here in Halifax. The opening reception will be held on Wednesday, June 5th, between 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM. Brian will be giving his public lecture at approximately 7:00 PM that night.

To get more information about the RAIC Festival of Architecture, or see a full schedule please click here.

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects receives Governor General's Medal in Architecture.

Brian MacKay-Lyons receiving Governor General's Medal in Architecture Cliff House was the project selected for the Governor General's Medal in Architecture

Brian MacKay-Lyons accepted the Governor General's Medal in Architecture on behalf of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects for Cliff House. The medal was presented on February 1st, 2013 at Rideau Hall, by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Our firm has now won 6 Governor General Medals.

Please click here to see the RAIC website for this award.

Brian MacKay-Lyons on the Lecture Circuit

Below are some recent Brian MacKay-Lyons lectures. Click the lecture name to get more details of each event.

Keynote Design Lecture: Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, April 25 2013.
On Collaboration Lecture (with Michel Comeau): Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 24 2013.
Keynote Lecture: Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 13 2013
An Evening with Brian MacKay-Lyons: AIA Santa Barbara, March 15 2013

Brian MacKay-Lyons Featured in Wood Design & Building Magazine.

Brian MacKay-Lyons has been featured in the latest edition of Wood Design & Building Magazine, in an article titled "Wood Champion". In the interview-style article Brian answers some great questions related to his history, the firm, the use of wood in architecture, and various other topics.

To view an online copy of the whole magazine, please click here.

To view a PDF of the "Wood Champion" article, please click here.

Historic Chebogue Schoolhouse lives on in Lunenburg County.

"Brian MacKay-Lyons, an award-winning architect who grew up in Arcadia has purchased the old Chebogue schoolhouse and plans to dismantle it into whole walls and roof sections. It will be transported this winter to a farm in Upper Kingsburg, Lunenburg County by flatbed truck then re-erected and restored." -Carla Allen

To read the full article, please click here.

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Featured in Dalhousie Newsletter Article

Brian MacKay-Lyons and Talbot Sweetapple are featured in the Fall 2012 Dalhousie Newsletter. The article profiles some of the firm's recent awards, while also giving some history about how the firm was started. Brian also mentions what he looks for in an employee, and discusses how teaching and practicing architecture simultaneously can be difficult.

To read the full article in the Fall 2012 Dalhousie Newsletter, please click here.

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd. wins 2012 Governor General's Medal in Architecture for Cliff House.

Comparable to the Governor General's Medal for Literature, it is Canada's highest award for the design of a building, sponsored by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, together with the Canada Council For The Arts.

Our firm has now won 6 Governor General's Medals.

The award will be presented by the Governor General at Rideau Hall later this year

2011 North American Wood Design Awards

On January 13, 2011, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects received 3 awards for wood design excellence in North America. The three awards received as as follows:

RON THOM- A prestigious award rarely granted by the Canadian Wood Council. The Ron Thom award is presented to an architect and their body of works that demonstrate outstanding creative talent and exemplary architectural design. Received for: Ghost Campus, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Halifax, Nova Scotia

HONOR Received for: Cliff House, Nova Scotia

CITATION Received for: Two Hulls House, Nova Scotia

Press release can be viewed at

Brian MacKay-Lyons on the Lecture Circuit (2012)

2012 Lectures by Brian MacKay-Lyons include:
• AIA Dallas, October
• Exploring Specifics, University of Lund, Sweden, September
• Concordia University, Montreal, April
• AIA Baltimore, April
• HOME New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand, February
• HOME New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand, February
• Texas Tech, February
• Texas Society of Architects Design Conference, Midland, Texas, February

Nova Scotian Architect Wins Prestigious National and International Design Awards

The Halifax based architectural firm of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects has just received both The American Institute of Architects Honor Award, and The Canadian Architect Award of Excellence. The firm continues to consistently put Nova Scotia architecture on the global map.

The American Institute of Architects Honor Award is the highest award given by the American Institute of Architects for building design. The award is given annually. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple has received this prestigious recognition from their peers for the design of the 'Shobac Campus'; a collection of buildings in Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia. This is the second time that the firm has received this international award, and the fourth time it has been shortlisted. Very few Canadian architects have received this honour. The awards ceremony will take place in May in Washington, D.C. at the American Institute of Architects National Convention.

The Canadian Architect Award of Excellence is the top annual architecture award given in Canada for building design. The firm has received this peer recognition for the design of a private residence called 'Two Hulls', on the south shore of Nova Scotia. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects have received this national award eight times.

"We are delighted to have been recognized by our peers both nationally and internationally. This continued recognition will hopefully position our firm to design more public buildings in the Maritimes, where we choose to live and work." says architect and Dalhousie professor Brian MacKay-Lyons.

For additional information please contact Frances McGinnis at (902) 429-1867 or

Brian MacKay-Lyons on the Lecture Circuit
Closing Keynote, Revert 2011, AIAS South Quad Conference, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, April 2011
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador, March 2011
AIA Minnesota, Convention, November 2010
Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, December 2010
Mississippi State University, October 2010
Keynote, AIA Arkansas, State Convention, October 2010
The Cameron Visiting Professor, Middlebury College, Vermont, October 2010
Panelist: Snakebit Design Build Education, The Architecture & Design Film Festival, NY, October 2010
Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, October 2010
Boston Society of Architects, Massachusetts, October 2010
Norwich University's School of Architecture, Vermont, October 2010
Canadian Society for the Decorative Arts, AGNS, September 2010
Tides Institute and Museum of Art, Maine, August 2010
AIA Redwood Empire Chapter, Sonoma, California, April 2010

Ghost 13 International Architecture Conference: Ideas in Things
The Ghost Lab, on the farm of Brian MacKay-Lyons on the Nova Scotian coast of Canada, has been the research laboratory for MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects since 1994. It has been a meeting place for an international school of architects who share a commitment to: landscape, making, and community. From June 14th to the 17th, 2011, 24 members of this virtual school will congregate on the Ghost site as Speakers for a Conference on the theme of Ideas in Things.
These Architects operate within the master builder tradition and insist on the unity of our discipline, which embraces both the academy and practice, or the mind and the hand. Through a commitment to place, we represent a resistance to the numbing effects of a globalized culture.
Join us for what promises to be an historic event at the edge of the world. A book and a film will document the Conference. Participation is limited to 200 registrants. We are approved for core continuing education credits in Canada and the US.
Visit our website to register.

Nova Scotia Association of Architecture Awards
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects were awarded 5 Nova Scotia Association of Architecture awards in 2009.
Lieutenant Governor's Medal of Excellence for Bridge House.
Lieutenant Governor's Citation for Ghost Campus (Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia), House on the Nova Scotia Coast #22 Spa, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Port Campus (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and The Canadian Chancery and Official Residence (Dhaka, Bangladesh).

Cabot Links
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects have completed a new master plan for the redevelopment of Cabot Links, a true links oceanfront course in Inverness, Cape Breton. We also designed the new clubhouse that is currently under construction and is scheduled to open July1st, 2011.

Le Massif
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects are leading a team, made of Rick Joy, Tom Kundig, and Michael Boucher, which has completed a new master plan for the ski resort, Le Massif, in Quebec. Various projects are under design and construction. Le Massif is headed by owner Daniel Gauthier, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil.

Cottages at Fallingwater
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects were one of the six firms selected for the New Cottages at Fallingwater Design Competition. Other competitors included Patkau Architects (winner), Wendell Burnette Architects, Marlon Blackwell Architect, Saucier and Perrotte Architectes, and Olson Kundig Architects.

Employee Promotions in Firm
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects of Halifax are pleased to announce the following promotions. The firm recognizes their value through their commitment to design excellence and client service.
Melanie Hayne, BEDS, M.Arch., Senior Associate
Melanie is a recipient of the AIA Gold Medal at Dalhousie University. She was instrumental in the creation of the New Canadian Embassy in Bangladesh.

The Canadian Chancery and Official Residence in Dhaka, Bangladesh completed
The design of an embassy or high commission is a privileged architectural commission. It offers the opportunity to represent the cultural values of one's country internationally. Consistent with Canada's domestic policy of multiculturalism, the project has a dual cultural responsibility, to represent the 'guest' country and to show respect for the culture of the 'host' country. Bangladesh is a country of extremes. It has one of the densest populations on earth and is one of the world's poorest nations. It has a hot climate with monsoon rains that can leave as much as 90% of the country under water. A contextualist approach is not a style, but rather a discipline, a method, a way of seeing, which is culturally transferable. Building within the material culture of a place not only communicates a respect for regional context but also ensures the maximum economic value to the client. For further information see our portfolio.

Historic Octagonal Troop Barn Gets a New Life
Since the 19th century, the Octagonal Troop Barn has been a landmark along Highway 1 at Granville Centre, Nova Scotia. One of only two surviving octagonal barns in the province, the structure was built in 1888 by William B Troop. Sadly, this recently de-registered building was slated for destruction. Lead by Brian MacKay-Lyons, Architect and Dalhousie University Professor, Robert Cram of Lunenburg disassembled its post and beam wood frame, and had it transported to the farm of Marilyn and Brian MacKay-Lyons in Upper Kingsburg, Lunenburg County. There, it was reconstructed during the annual Ghost Architectural Laboratory, by 35 professional architects, architectural students, and builders, during the last two weeks in June. The Ghost Architectural Laboratory is an international design and build event, and is a research lab for internationally renowned MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited of Halifax, under the leadership of Brian MacKay-Lyons and Master Builder, Gordon MacLean. The structure is now nestled in a valley at the edge of the sea, overlooking the LaHave Islands, and will be used for a wide range of community gatherings. Its reconstruction was christened by an acoustic concert on June 26th 2009 by acclaimed Atlantic Canadian singer/songwriter Lennie Gallant.

Troop Barn Rental
Download Press Release