White Rock Cabin, Gaspereau Valley – Nova Scotia, Canada

Avoiding the tired recreational ski resort style of log structures and gabled roofs, architect

Omar Gandhi has nevertheless managed to create a “cottage” feel in the project he named White Rock after a community in the area.

The Gaspereau River Valley is the agricultural centre of the province of Nova Scotia located on the extreme east coast of Canada. The area is known for its recreational opportunities including skiing, biking and wine-tasting.

The modern steel-clad bunker on stilts was designed by Gandhi and his friend for their families, best friends, employees and partners as a meditative retreat and an escape.

Ganhdi says that in his architectural practice, they consider all of their creations as creatures. And indeed, White Rock, the cocoon-like perch in the woods, does seem like it could walk off the cliff or, alternatively, become not just a bird house but actually grow wings and take off over the valley. Yet it is also a solidly permanent nest that appears to have taken a liking to its rocky situation.

The cabin was created using strictly minimalist palettes in materials, colours and furnishings. The two-level structure accommodates the private spaces on the bottom level and the living areas in an open plan on the top level.

Dark smoky-black and silvery grey colours dominate the open-plan living areas. Some vintage touches of the cabin vernacular in the living room. For example, next to a small modern fireplace a vintage black-leather Arne Norell lounge chair faces tall windows flanked by a smoky-grey stainless-steel bench.

In the bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, sparse furniture and views of the thick forest create a relaxed sense of seclusion and protection, and highlight the cabin-like simplicity.

On top of the two levels, accessible via a hatch door, is Gandhi’s favourite space, the rooftop patio with open views toward the valley.

The most modern part of the cabin is the kitchen where stainless steel dominates. The designers worked with New Zealand-based, globally operating Fisher & Paykel known as designers of luxury appliances.

Vancouver-based architectural photographer Ema Peter  fell in love with the cabin as she had the opportunity stay on location when photographing it for the architects.

“Most of my life I chase the light and architectural shoots are filled with action and adrenaline,” she tells The Cool Hunter. “What was different for me at White Rock was that I felt peaceful. I rarely feel that kind of sense of calmness,” she adds.

“I felt I was chasing the light but in a calmer, deeper way. The nature and forest seemed to be inside of the home with the shadows and reflections everywhere. It made me feel like I was completely removed from the world and I felt like time there was a little bit slower allowing me to just be. I really had a retreat-like experience I will never forget.”

Peter concludes that calm is what we all need right now. “Omar and his team have truly managed to achieve exactly what we all need at the moment: a sense of zen and reflection.”

Omar Gandhi established Omar Gandhi Architects in 2010. It has offices is both Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Toronto, Ontario. The highly successful practice has completed projects across Canada. Tuija Seipell

Images: Ema Peter

See also Prime Seafood by the same architect.

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