The MacGillivray Guest Home (‘MGGH’) is a not-for-profit long-term care home in Sydney, Nova Scotia undergoing redevelopment as part of the government’s commitment to upgrade and increase its current long-term care infrastructure. The new building will occupy a site adjacent to the existing home atop a hill with views of the Sydney Harbour. The site is largely surrounded by green areas, including a municipal park and trail. The building’s location, orientation and site plan are a carefully conceived response to the site’s unique views as well as its many constraints, including its grade differential, property lines and set back requirements, and the existing home’s infrastructure.

The new building comprises three distinct masses: a central hub accommodating shared amenity, administration, service, and support spaces with two residence wings, one on either side. The resident drop off, main building entrance and front of house services are located on the south side of the central block where the highest ground elevation is found for increased visibility and improved views. All south facing rooms in the hub and the resident wings enjoy sights of the harbour. Taking advantage of the sloping site, the staff entrance and receiving bay are located on the north side of the central volume at the lower ground elevation. Dedicated staff respite spaces are clustered around the staff entrance to ensure access to daylighting while centralized service spaces are tucked into the partial basement condition below the main entrance.

Each residence wing is two storeys, and each storey accommodates two 12-bed Resident Households that, when paired end to end, create a secure central courtyard. Within the households, bedrooms are distributed on the outer perimeter of a single-loaded looping corridor, while living, dinging and activity spaces are located on the inner perimeter around the courtyard. Resident courtyards are among a several new barrier-free outdoor spaces the new building offers which also includes a shared amenities courtyard off the central block, a generous lawn with intergenerational garden, a therapeutic walking trail, and dedicated staff terrace next to the staff entrance.

Finally, the new MGGH adheres to the Province’s sustainable development goals supporting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and incorporating net-zero energy and net-zero emissions ready design principles. Envelope assemblies are especially high performing, durable and easy to maintain. Visual interest is achieved through modulation in the massing of the residence blocks, together with the changing direction and patterning of the panel system and variation in phenolic panel colour.


Completion Date:


Project Type:

Long Term Care

Building Size:

83,261 sq.ft.

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