Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.29.24 AM Photo: v2com

The Cliff House appears to almost teeter off the edge of a rocky escarpment in Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast. A perfect complement to the area’s dramatic landscape, the wooden box-like structure challenges perceptions and even keeps onlookers off-balance.

Designed by renowned Halifax-based MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd., the Cliff House recently won over critics at the fourth annual AZ Awards, taking home the award for Best Residential Architecture in the international design competition.

Perhaps more fittingly described as a cabin due to its isolated location, the 960 square foot rustic retreat was built on a modest budget and offers a captivating view of the waterfront.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.39.17 AM Ground Floor Plan: ArchDaily

With half the building protruding beyond the cliff, only supported by a small network of steel I-beams, the architects’ intention was to “heighten the experience of dwelling in landscape through a sense of vertigo and a sense of floating on the sea.”

Inside, the Cliff House features a double-height living and dining room, a wood burning stove to keep cozy during the winter months as well as broad windows that wrap around three sides of the structure. Adjacent to the main entrance is the building’s south facing deck, ideally located to give residents the best view over the rocky outcrop.

“On approaching the cabin from the land, one is presented with a calm wood box with its understated landscaping, firmly planted on the ground, in contrast with the subsequent dramatic interior experience of flying off cliff,” said the architects.

The Cliff House is the first in what will be a series of projects planned for the 455 acre Nova Scotia site.

The critically-acclaimed Two Hulls (pictured below) was a previous project from the architecture firm. Two Hulls and the Cliff House follow the same design mantra, as they are both set atop a rock face along the coast.

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Photo: Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr

With over 30 years in the design field, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd. has earned 100 awards, including 25 international awards and six Governor General’s Medals.

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