© Janet Kimber
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Within a protected cove along the South Shore of Nova Scotia, at the end of a stretch of sand, a river empties out into the sea. Time and tides have created a one-kilometre forested sandbar on which this beach house lightly sits.
Despite its dramatic location on an expanse of shoreline, the clients also were drawn to the internal, cozy character of the site, and so, Lockeport Beach House is an oxymoron. Scraggly tamarack and spruce trees covered in Old Man’s Beard are very particular to some areas of Nova Scotia and thrive in the 10 cm of shallow soil here. The trees shelter the site from the openness of the beach, defend against sandbank erosion, and create a very specific sense of place.
A mandate of protecting the sandbank, and the clients’ appreciation of hearing the ocean, but not seeing it were starting points for siting strategy. They did not want their new house to be on display from the beach, and the design response celebrates the property as a site within a larger site of unspoiled coastline. Resisting the urge to expose the house to the beach created a framework for the overall design that works to highlight and respect the inherent beauty of a forest site beside the sea.