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2024

MCHAP

Peggy’s Cove Viewing Platform

Omar Gandhi Architects

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

October 2021

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Omar Gandhi (Principal), Jordan Rice (Associate, Project Lead)

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Harbourside Engineering (Engineer), Englobe (Engineer), EDM Planning Services (Planner), Thompson Conn Limited (Surveyor), Gemtech Consulting Engineers & Scientists (Engineer

CLIENT

Build Nova Scotia (formerly Develop Nova Scotia)

PHOTOGRAPHER

Maxime Brouillet (Maxime is one of several photographers, please provide opportunity to credit the others)

OBJECTIVE

Respect is the underlying theme driving design for the viewing platform. Respect for forces of nature on the barren landscape. Respect for local families and the character of their village. Respect for the balance between manufactured and natural landscapes. And finally, respect for those of all abilities to share in the atmosphere and spirit embedded in the iconic Canadian landmark that is Peggy’s Cove. This respect brought a sensitivity to all aspects of the project when considering how to help the community plot a sustainable, resilient, and welcoming path forward.
The viewing platform is carefully tucked away and scribed into the landscape to minimize visual impact on the site. Guard rails are comprised of a mixture of open netting and solid sections, allowing for uninterrupted views and relief from the wind at specific moments along the platform. The choice of materials reflects a commitment to preserving local building traditions. Materials were chosen based on local availability familiarity to the community, allowing the new construction to blend with long-established building principles and an entrenched material culture.
The design of the viewing platform is completely accessible. The project provides an even surface from the drop-off zone to the parking area, occupying a site that previously presented accessibility and safety challenges. Ramps, tactile indicators, and handrails make navigating the site less of a challenge. The new public washroom facilities offer large hallways and stalls, exceeding current building code standards. An adult changing table provides dignity and respect to all users of the facilities.

CONTEXT

Peggy’s Cove is one of Nova Scotia’s most iconic attractions. With national and international recognition and high levels of visitation, Peggy’s Cove offers a unique Canadian, coastal experience to visitors. Expansive granite rocks, bold ocean front, crashing waves, and an historic lighthouse are all distinct components of this dramatic and memorable landscape. The site, an active fishing village and living community, is also home to some 32 year-round residents.
From the quaint fishing shacks in the cove to the barren landscape of the rocky shores, the project threads itself between a multiplicity of contexts. The development aims to embrace and respect those who live and work in the coastal village, to expand and enhance the visitor experience, and to build on the nuance of “place” through materiality, craftsmanship, and respect for the natural environment. Through its design, the viewing platform addresses immediate and acute infrastructural needs while appealing to long term visions of growth, economic activity, and sustainability at Peggy’s Cove.

PERFORMANCE

Since opening to the public in 2021, the viewing platform at Peggy’s Cove has served the needs of residents and visitors alike. The new walking surface links two primary access points on the site, establishing greater connection to the local community and presenting opportunities for future economic development. The project’s commitment to accessibility has significantly enhanced inclusivity on the site, setting a new standard for accessibility in Nova Scotia. Green spaces, planters, and landscaped zones support and sustain the local ecology and educate audiences on the unique biosphere of the coastal barrens. The placement of the viewing platform also takes into consideration the effects sea level rise will have on the region, ensuring that Peggy’s Cove can be enjoyed by generations to come.
The viewing platform opens the site to a much broader audience, presenting an opportunity for everyone to experience the lighthouse and unique topography from an elevated and protected zone. While meeting more immediate infrastructural needs, the viewing platform simultaneously frames a long-term outlook on Peggy’s Cove, reimagining the iconic Canadian landmark while respecting the beauty of its culture, history, and landscape.

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