Halifax architect Brian MacKay-Lyons appointed to the Order of Canada | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Halifax architect Brian MacKay-Lyons appointed to the Order of Canada

His firm is behind iconic Halifax buildings like Queen's Marque and NSCAD's Port Campus.

Lines so crisp they paper cut the sky, colours so in tune with their surroundings they feel lifted from nature, banks of windows flooded with light: Chances are, you know a building designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple when you see it—if for no other reason than the strong visual style has become a stalwart of east coast architecture. It feels unsurprising, then, to say that yesterday Brian MacKay-Lyons was appointed to the Order of Canada—even if he’s only the 40th architect in the country to be bestowed the honour.


MacKay-Lyons was recognized, as per a release “for his contributions to architecture, notably through his vernacular designs that celebrate Nova Scotia culture.” Part of why his work is so recognizable is how it “features Atlantic Canadian vernacular materials and construction

Techniques”, as the release puts it—all while taking into account the surrounding landscape.


Here, in celebration of MacKay-Lyons’s big win, we’re sharing three of the most notable and innovative buildings he and his firm have created:


Queen's Marque

The yassification of the Halifax waterfront begins and ends with this development, which combines pedestrian passages and pier buildings that connect the city and the waterfront. It's also home to a host of restaurants, the Muir hotel, private residences, offices and retail space.

Maynard Place

Chances are that you've wandered past this rental property on the corners of Maynard and Falkland Street in Halifax's north end. The quintessential east cost wooden shingles and seafarer's yellow contrast perfectly with the metal work surrounding the stairs and upper level.

NSCAD's Port Campus

click to enlarge Halifax architect Brian MacKay-Lyons appointed to the Order of Canada
Here's what NSCAD's Port Campus looks like from the Halifax harbour.
A 300-foot long renovation of a former industrial warehouse (with a half-mile long addition), this three-story behemoth is home to craft, design and fine art courses for NSCAD. A glass curtain seawall the length of the building allows for a panoramic harbour view you can't get anywhere else—but the view of the high-contrast building itself isn't hard on the eyes, either.

Morgan Mullin

Morgan was the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she wrote about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She started with The Coast in 2016.
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