Refuge on the Bay of Fundy

Awards | Description

This is a simple and restrained project focused on the study of place and craft. As part of a design/build program at the Dalhousie University School of Architecture, the project was constructed over three summers by architecture students under the direction of Talbot Sweetapple, in the tradition of the Ghost Lab.

The Refuge is situated on a densely forested headland overlooking the Bay of Fundy. It serves local community groups by providing a resting place for skiers, riders, and local fishermen along an existing trail system.

The simple, gabled structure is found in a protected clearing, sheltered by a large oak tree. It floats above the forest floor, on axis with the summer solstice sunset. One enters across a large wooden deck, and through and inset porch. The central gathering space is flanked by a series of sleeping nooks, and is anchored by a group of totemic elements (central table, counter and hearth), which provides focus, utility, and warmth. Opposite the entry, a second inset porch opens to a large floating deck to the northwest and filtered views of the nearby shoreline.

Building on a traditional understanding of wood construction, various species of wood were selected based on their natural properties. The roof and the long exterior walls are wrapped in local cedar shingles. The two gable ends are clad with a vertical Hemlock screen which creates a dramatic lighting effect on the interior. At night this effect is reversed, as the building becomes a glowing lantern in the woods.

2014 North American Wood Design Honor Award