Inside Rabbit Snare Gorge Cabin on the Coast of Nova Scotia
An exaggerated gabled tower atop a remote island with 360 views of rugged coastline and gnarled forest
When it comes to our quasi-weekly installment of Architectural Inspiration, remoteness is often a prerequisite. Not always, but boy do we love a genuine “escape” or “retreat” hidden deep in some rough landscape we’ve yet to visit. For this week, the Rabbit Snare Gorge Cabin, perched on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island and designed in collaboration between architects Design Base 8 and Omar Gandhi, certainly fits the criteria.
Sat at the highest elevation on a 46 acre parcel of land overlooking the rural island’s rugged terrain. The design in essence is quite simple—an exaggerated gabled tower that lifts the living quarters above the tree line and exposed it to 360 views of the entire property. One large “viewing platform,” as the architecture like to call the cabin’s decks, looks directly out to sea, while the other looks longways at the convergent brook valley, taking in the steep slopes of the Cape Breton Highlands, Acadian forest, and deep gorges cut by a modest steam.
The exterior is clad in local wood board, with a striking cot-ten steel entryway to accentuate the drastic difference between the hyper minimal cabin and the surrounding natural landscape left largely untouched. It also offers a nice shelter for entry and exit on particularly windy days. The idea of which gets our minds racing—imagine the gnarly storms this region must get each and every fall and winter. Though originally designed as a summer house for an avid outdoorsman client, the storm watching here must be hard to beat, and likely factored into the site and design decision (the site’s exposed location ensures it endures the full brunt of heavy Atlantic rainstorms and winter Nor’easters).
Alright, we’re sold.