Project NameWhite Rock
When Canadian architect Omar Gandhi set out to design a forest retreat in the Gaspereau River Valley, a popular four-season destination for skiing, hiking, cycling, and wine tourism in Nova Scotia, his aim was to create “a meditative escape” for family, friends, and colleagues to disconnect, unwind, and re-center following the pandemic. Located on a steep rocky incline high above the valley and reached via a meandering driveway through the forest, the property could not have been more suitable for such aspirations. Working through his eponymous practice, Omar Gandhi Architects, Gandhi eschewed the common A-frame, timber-built typology, designing instead a Corten steel-clad cubic volume perched on four slender columns. The cabin’s stark, ascetic design imbues the property with an aura of mystery and introspection, while its textured, brown-orange exterior harmoniously blends with the forest setting. The result is a “serene woodland retreat” of architectural sophistication that fosters a deeper connection with nature and loved ones.
Inspired by traditional hunting cabins and duck blinds, the cabin takes the form of a large box on four stilts, with a smaller entry volume underneath anchoring the structure to the site. Boldly contemporary in design, the building nevertheless subtly evokes the essence of log cabins thanks to the horizontal striations of the corrugated Corten steel cladding. The cubic volume is punctuated by large windows offering commanding views of the valley, the widest of which is accentuated by a metallic canopy in weathered steel that provides solar shading.
The exterior’s stark minimalism is carried inside the residence, albeit softened by smoked oak surfaces, neutral colours, and a mix of contemporary and antique furniture. Unfolding across two levels, with the private quarters on the lower floor and the open-plan living and dining area on the upper floor, the cabin’s interiors are characterized by a calming ambiance underpinned by pared-down aesthetics and the presence of nature, thanks to large picture windows framing views of the forest outside.
Anchored by an extensive corner window, the brightly lit living area is animated by the glimmering reflections of the stainless-steel kitchen cabinetry. A white oak dining table by Mjolk, paired with chairs and benches designed by Nick Mazerolle and Hannah Newton, imbues the space with warmth and craftsmanship, while vintage pieces like a mid-century, black leather and beech wood lounge chair by Arne Norell add a sense of understated elegance. In the bedrooms, antique linens and hand-dyed fabrics bring warmth to an otherwise ascetic environment. A secluded rooftop terrace, accessed through a hatch, offers an additional spot to enjoy the beautiful setting, which the team has endeavoured to preserve through the cabin’s light footprint.