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110 - Acadian Fold

Tyler Reynolds
Portfolio: www.tylerreynolds.net

Adrienne Gerrits
Portfolio: www.adriennegerrits.com

Nova Scotia, Canada


Weaving together the Acadian and Mi'kmaq Vernacular

Nestled amongst the softwood forest of the Whaelghinbran Farm, the Acadian Fold is a all-season refuge for staff, students and artists. Accessible only by foot trail, the cabin draws inspiration upon the heritage and elemental nature of the sloping roof. In the Kennebecasis River Valley, the portable wigwam and traditional Acadian gable dwelling were both characterized by simple yet striking roof systems centred around a hearth. The leaning roof provided shelter and within it radiated vital warmth from the central hearth.

The Acadian Fold combines the wall and roof into two surfaces, creating a symmetrical pleat over the interior dwelling space. Within the exposed structure of the Acadian Fold, a floor and sleeping loft are laid out to accommodate dwelling activities. The two ends of the refuge reflect the extents of the spatial gradient. The covered porch is the first threshold to the surrounding forest. On the opposite extent of the cabin, the compressed nature of the hearth evokes an inhabitable cabinet. The hearth is translated to an elevated plinth and woodstove which is aligned to the Acadian Fold’s central axis of symmetry.

A gradient is expressed through the Acadian Fold, in which the sheltered porch and transparent facade transitions to cozy plinth and hearth. The front facade facing South contains a glazed door surrounded by transparent panels enabling sunlight to penetrate the interior space during the winter season. The thick folded façade acts as a protective covering, limiting extreme solar gain in the summer season. A stack effect strategy is used for ventilation, with movement directed from the entry door to the opposite loft window. Two small openings staggered within the folded facade provide additional light and optional cross ventilation.

The cabin construction is driven by a simple assemblage of parts and locally available materials. Lumber available through local mills is consistently used throughout the design, utilizing small dimensional rough- sawn lumber for the primary structural members and finishing material. Bolted connections are used to fabricate a common A-frame truss structure which rests on sled-like skid beams.

The simplicity of the design accommodates both on-site and off-site construction strategies. Once leveled with stone or wood blocking, the use of sled-like beams enables a uniform load distribution on the ground below. The sled beams minimize the impact on the forest floor while maintaining the ability to relocate the cabin or adjust seasonally.

Charred-wood reverse board and batten siding is selected for its unique natural qualities. The charred wood provides a natural means of being rot, pest, weather, fire and UV resistant, as well as offering a striking aesthetic within the forest setting.

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