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The Cape Breton Retreat is a private residence that showcases both prefabricated construction techniques and a deep appreciation for the natural environment. At the heart of this project lies our clients’ profound desire to spend as much time outside as possible. This concept is realized through the subdivision of the program into five distinct buildings, each carefully nestled within the landscape, that pinwheel around a central gathering space (“the Lodge”). Breaking up the program and creating an extensive network of trails throughout the property encourages movement between the various zones and further fulfills the clients’ wish to seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor living.

The design narrative revolves around the clients’ love for hosting far-flung family and friends while ensuring privacy and comfort for themselves and their guests, as well as various areas to gather for entertaining, leisure, and meals. The Lodge serves as the central hub for socializing and entertaining. The Guest Cabin is designed to house multiple guests self-sufficiently in their own zone, while the Main Cabin contains the primary suite. Guests and hosts alike can take advantage of the Beach Spa’s hot tub, sauna, bar, and outdoor terrace or use the Barn for gathering to play games, work-out in the gym, or to utilize the additional sleeping area housed in the loft. The Spa building is integrated into the landscape and hillside with a green roof so as to not impede the ocean view from the Lodge.

The project’s remote location posed logistical challenges for a traditional site build. Prefabricated construction was especially useful here as it allowed for greater speed of construction, less waste during the build process, and a controlled environment for the build. It also alleviated some of the typical issues that arise with lack of trades in remote areas. With the exception of the Barn, each building was prefabricated indoors over 500 kilometers away, and designed to be built in sections in order to fit within the parameters required for shipping. The building sections were then shipped and assembled on site. All the buildings are clad in natural, durable materials, including cedar and zinc.

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