Residential Design

VOL1 2019

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Brian MacKay-Lyons, FRAIC, is busier than ever these days exploring opportunities for the firm he founded in 1985. In addition to being a full professor of architecture at Dalhousie University, he oversees a staff of 23 in Halifax; has a small studio in Kingsburg at Shobac, the working family farm he's developing with his trademark modern, fishing-village-like cottages; and is building a satellite office for six people in nearby Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage town. Last September the firm also established a permanent presence in the U.S., where, among other commissions, MacKay-Lyons is bringing his ethic of vernacular economy to the design of a socially minded ski resort community at Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah. We caught up with him to learn more about these recent developments. RD: Last September, you opened an office in Denver. Tell us why you wanted a U.S. presence. BML: More than half of our work is in the U.S., and we needed an office closer to our clients. I think creativity is valued more in some parts of the U.S. than in Canada. The culture of architec- ture patrons fueled development of the modern architectural movement in the U.S.—people like Frank Lloyd Wright had careers that could only have happened there, designing custom homes for people who are intellectually curious. Halifax is very conservative. Many clients we get to work for here in Canada have left and are returning home more worldly and a little more creative. At the end of the day, we just want good opportunities to make architecture and get paid for it. We're Canadians— we're not going anywhere, but it's a global world now. RD: Why Denver? BML: We wanted to be in the mountains of the West because that's where a lot of our work is these days. We thought Denver would be a great city to do it in because it's very progressive, and there's a school of architecture there that I've lectured at several times. So there's good access to potential employees, and Denver is a place where you can keep employ- ees because it's a great place for them to live. RD: How big will the Denver office be? BML: It's pretty small at this point, but as more contracts are signed, more people will be hired. Currently we have two employees in Denver and plan to hire maybe three more in the next short while. We have Americans working there, New Horizons MACKAY-LYONS SWEETAPPLE ARCHITECTS HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA; AND DENVER, COLORADO Above: Brian MacKay-Lyons. Right: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple has opened an office in Denver, in part to service work on the ski resort, Horizon (shown in renderings), at Powder Mountain in Utah. Photo: Riley Smith Renderings and sketch: Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects 13 VOL. 1, 2019 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VERBATIM

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