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OG House

Omar Gandhi Architects

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

August 2021


Omar Gandhi (Principal)


Jordan Rice (Associate), Jeff Shaw (Associate), Kelly Cameron (Intern Architect), Jeff Walker (Intern Architect), Omar Gandh


Omar Gandhi


Doublespace Photography, Ema Peter Photography


OG House was originally envisioned with the intention of serving two functions: to be the primary residence of Omar Gandhi, his partner, and his son, and for the ground level to serve as the east coast home-base for Omar Gandhi Architects. A hybrid live-work space, the ground floor studio has become a dedicated hub for community projects, while the upper levels house the living spaces for Omar and his family.
The formal massing is composed of a two-storey, eastern white cedar-clad volume atop a buff-coloured, brick cradle. The cedar veil offers privacy for residents within and, in the evening, comes to life with the soft glow of warm light. Common bond coursing and the natural clay tones mirrors the brickwork many buildings constructed in the North End throughout the twentieth century. A gentle, rounded corner at the intersection of the driveway and sidewalk pulls visitors and residents to the main entrance, located at the rear of the house. Inside, the layout unfolds as a series of sequential spaces that are predominately inward looking. A small selection of windows foster privacy and infuse the interiors with natural light.
A constrained palette of white oak, buffed brick, and raw steel serves as a canvas for the interplay of light and shadow within the home. The design prioritizes luminosity and sculpted space, such as in the main living area where the ceiling softly bends upward to a large skylight, ushering an abundance of natural light into the core of the home.


OG House occupies a narrow and previously abandoned lot in the historic North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The North End has been shaped by its history as a predominately African-Canadian neighbourhood and, in decades prior, the adjacent property was the site of a neighbourhood African Nova Scotian barber shop. Today, a mixture of residential and commercial spaces comprise the North End and distinguish it as a particularly vibrant neighbourhood within the city of Halifax.
Sited on a notably tight parcel of land, OG House is heavily informed by setbacks from the street and from adjacent properties. These parameters were used to gently guide the massing of the architecture, resulting in a form that works with, not against its context. The volume was resolved through a process of articulation and sculpting, where moments of joy, delight, and surprise were prioritized over maximizing square footage.


Since its completion, OG House has become a catalyst for positive change in the community. The ground floor operates as a dedicated community studio, focused on community-based projects that benefit the North End of Halifax. These projects include designing housing for the homeless and developing safe, public amenities. While the community studio underscores Omar’s commitment to local initiatives, the rest of the home remains a testament to thoughtful design and meticulous craftsmanship.
OG House continues to resonate with its surroundings, exuding qualities of light and warmth from within. Upon reaching the end of construction, the cedar-clad façade had already lost much of its vibrancy and faded gently to resemble much of the weathered wood textures of the neighbourhood, all while maintaining much of its curious spirit.

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