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: Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons
: Malcolm Quantrill , Kenneth Frampton
: Princeton Architectural Press
: 2006
: 259
: / English

It's been our distinct pleasure over the past few years to publish monographs on a select group of young architects and firms whose work represents the best of contemporary design thinking while retaining a distinctive regional sensibility. The Nova-Scotian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons fits neatly into this distinguished list, which includes Marlon Blackwell in the Ozarks, Rick Joy in the Southwest, and Miller/Hull in the Northwest.

Those familiar with Nova Scotia understand the austere beauty of this Canadian landscape, with its wide open skies and rugged terrain pushing up against the Atlantic. MacKay-Lyons's work responds to this unique topography and to the vernacular building traditions that define its communities. His houses, commercial buildings, and public projects combine regional forms with local materials, technologies, and building practices to create works that are linked to their environments right down to their DNA.Peaked gables, shed roofs, and sliding doors are inspired by local barn types; corrugated metal cladding comes from the buildings used by the areas fishing industry; structural wooden frames are based on local ship-building traditions. These elements communicate a sense of place that is sophisticated, accessible, and free of sentimentality.


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