Architecture Firm: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Owner: Marilyn & Brian MacKay-Lyons
Location: Shobac, Canada
Category: up to $250,000 in construction cost
Enough House, a prototype in Riverport, Nova Scotia, explores precisely what constitutes enough in both size and craft. At just about 700 square feet, Enough House is a dwelling in a series of affordable, modest houses designed by the team to demonstrate the idea of economy as an ethic.
The home is flexible and intended to be replicated and customized to specific sites, and it can easily grow to a 1,000-square-foot single-family house. Enough House is proto-urban, and its material expression can be easily adapted to relate to other cultural contexts. In total, it is a small building that could make a potentially significant impact.
"Through a simple form and the use of conventional materials, the project is executed with great rigor and skill, utilizing a carefully considered constructional layering that challenges conventions of frame, substrate, and finish elements." - Jury comment
This first iteration of the home serves as accommodations for an intern architect. In a way, it acts as a gatehouse, communicating with two adjacent buildings that date to the 1800s through its traditional gabled roof form. Enough House engages with the other structures by framing courtyards and bolstering microclimates through its pivotal position on the site. It optimizes both prospect and refuge in the landscape.
“Through a simple form and the use of conventional materials, the project is executed with great rigor and skill, utilizing a carefully considered constructional layering that challenges conventions of frame, substrate, and finish elements,” said the jury.
Through its very existence, the project is a physical argument for accessibility. The house sleeps seven people across two floors and a loft. The overarching design strategy was to design highly efficient and compact servant spaces throughout, allowing the remaining spaces to feel as large as possible.
The light timber frame has become the dominant domestic construction system in North America. Still, despite its widespread use, high level of sustainability, and relatively low cost, architects have often been reluctant to embrace it. Enough House builds on and extends this understated, everyday method of construction. As demonstrated by this project, the discipline of listening to place results in an understated architecture that gains power by resonating with its environment.