Friday, November 28, 2014

omar gandhi: harbour heights residence

We went to hear Omar Gandhi talk this past week at NSCAD University about his career to date in architecture. I sat there during his presentation, and felt grateful that he chose to use his talent in Nova Scotia, touched by his honesty and humility, and enamoured by his body of work and modern design sensibility.

One of Gandhi's most recent projects is situated on the western side of Cape Breton Island, nestled atop a hillside adjacent to the Inverness Harbour and MacIsaac’s Pond. In this naturally romantic setting, the cedar clad minimalist gable overlooks the town of Inverness and the critically acclaimed Cabot Links golf course.

The project as described by Omar: "From the main road the home is presented as a single storey with a perpendicular garage. From the opposite side, falling down the hill is second storey of modern glass and crafted cedar cladding. The entrance is on the second level along with the main living spaces, which include the living room, dining room and kitchen. The main stairwell is flanked by two storeys of glass. The lower level includes the bedrooms and family room. The master bedroom is bumped out from the primary linear gable massing and is clad on three sides with glass, giving it the ultimate view. The children’s rooms are finished with bright playful colours which radiate from the mature modern cedar form of the house. The living and dining rooms are separated by a change in level and a central hearth. The fireplace chimney extends upwards through the grand space of the cathedral ceiling.

The exterior cladding is composed of western red cedar in three forms – shingles on the roof and upper level and two widths of boards on the lower levels."

On his design philosophy: "We believe that walking the site together is a natural place to start. Not only do the people involved get a chance to know each other away from the confines of an office, but we, more importantly, see the rise and fall of the land. The land is the essential element and has a story of its own. Long before we discuss interior design, we discuss the landscape and how architecture could enhance it. If the land needs to be cleared, we discuss how we can save or restore its natural beauty. If there is an interesting natural element, like an outcrop, we confer about incorporating it into our plans. We learn where the sun rises and sets in relation to our vision.  In walking and talking, client and architect become the first two links in a strong chain."

Furniture from Attica: the Alexander sofa, Studio side table, and New York chairs.

Furniture from Attica: the Alexander sofa, Studio side table, and New York chairs.

Venice stools in Kiwi from Attica

Furniture from Attica: the Alexander sofa, Studio side table, and New York chairs.

Furniture from Attica: Studio side table and New York chairs

Project credits: PROJECT CREDITS:
LOCATION: Inverness, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
PROJECT STATUS: Completed Summer 2014
CLIENTS: Allie Barclay and Ben Cowan-Dewar
DESIGN: Omar Gandhi, Peter Braithwaite, David Greenwell
INTERIORS: Jill Greaves Design
CONTRACTOR: David MacLean and Sons
STRUCTURAL: Joe Janega Engineering
Photos by Greg Richardson