Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2024 Recipient - Cabot Cliffs | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2024 Recipient - Cabot Cliffs

Cabot Cliffs: Cliffs Residences, Halfway Hut, and Pro Shop
Inverness, Cape Breton,
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

FBM Architecture | Interior Design

Owner/ Client: Cabot Links at Inverness LP
Interior area / exterior area, in square metres
Accommodation = 2,275 sqm; Halfway Hut = 57 sqm; Pro Shop = 200 sqm
Exact construction contract value / building cost of the project: Not disclosed.
Date of Occupancy: October 6, 2023 

Located on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, close to the town of Inverness, overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence with tumbling sandy cliffs and sweeping ocean views, Cabot Cliffs is among the most celebrated golf destinations in the world. The project consists of eight seasonal homes with 4–5-bedroom suites, a Halfway Hut to provide refreshment along the course, and a Pro Shop. The result is a village, rooted within the vernacular forms of Nova Scotia—complete with sheltered courtyards and intimate pathways that frame views of the ocean while tempering the expansive and rugged setting. 

Abridged Project Credits:
(see Architecture Canada publication out in Fall 2024 for more details)

Structural Engineering - BMR Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering - Strait Engineering Ltd. 
Mechanical Engineering - CBCL Limited, MCW Consultants Ltd. 
Electrical Engineering - MCW Consultants Ltd. 
Building Code Consultant - RJ Bartlett Engineering Ltd. 
Landscape Architecture - Outside! Planning & Design Studio
Master Planning - Ron Krater Studio
Interior Design - Jill Greaves Design Inc.
Contractor - Lindsay Construction, D.J. MacLean & Sons Contracting Ltd.
Geotechnical Engineering - Janega Engineering

Jury Comment(s): 

The jury noted the contextual response and materiality, as a refreshing departure for this landscape-driven recreation residence. The simple wood vernacular traditions of Cape Breton aligns with the dramatic landscape. The jury also noted the social connections offered by the communal kitchen, dining and living areas, which allows this village to go beyond typical recreation properties. The result is an architecture that is rooted in the place, offering a connection with the natural setting - complete with natural pathways and views to the ocean. The sustainable approach includes regional construction that employed local craftspeople, vernacular plantings to control erosion and low irrigation plants. The jury also noted the innovative kit of parts assembly that can be replicated to support incremental growth.  

2024 Jury

Click for full version: 
A village of gables nestled into the coastal landscape

PHOTO - Younes Bounhar

Site Plan and Typology Matrix


Pathways meander through the dunes between neighbouring homes

PHOTO - Younes Bounhar

Dunes, links, and sea from the gabled living space

PHOTO - Younes Bounhar

Refuge in the village at dusk

PHOTO - Younes Bounhar

Huddled gables offer respite after play and shelter from the storm

PHOTO - Younes Bounhar

The Halfway Hut is tucked into the grassy dunes

PHOTO - Allie Beckwith