Modern Residential Architecture: Reimagining the Cottage

These projects strive to incorporate sustainability and emerging environmental technologies
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Webinar On-Demand
Sponsored by Marvin
Presented by Nina Edwards Anker, Craig Hartman, Brian MacKay-Lyons

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe two ways the Bigwin Island project demonstrates the dialog between architecture and nature.
  2. Explain the layout of the Sonoma County Cottage.
  3. List two emerging environmental technologies investigated nea studio’s Hamptons house.
  4. Discuss the inspiration for the large, overhanging pyramidal roofs in the Bigwin Island project.


1 AIA LU/Elective
AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
As an IACET Accredited Provider, BNP Media offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

This webinar is part of the Custom Home Academy

This webinar will profile three custom home renovation projects and the challenges and opportunities faced by designers. Presenters will talk about the constraints on each project, whether due to site challenges or historic preservation requirements, and their approach to not only meeting the challenges but also forging new opportunities. In all cases, the projects highlight how designers can meet client wants and needs while creating unique and innovative spaces that will stand the test of time.

Nina Edwards Anker, Arkitekt MNAL, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D., Founder, neastudio, will present the Cocoon House project. This experimental three-bedroom home is anything but modest when it comes to environmental inquiry and sustainability credentials. It’s fully LEED certified, exceptionally well-sealed and almost completely self-sufficient.

Craig Hartman, FAIA, senior consulting design partner, SOM, will discuss the Sonoma County Cottage, his rolling 35-acre farm. The site, a former cattle ranch nestled within a hillside grove, now holds the first phase of the project, a net zero carbon a guest/caretaker cottage. Although Craig is known for tall and large-scale, program-intensive buildings this personal project marks his first venture into small scale residential

Brian MacKay-Lyons, FRAIC, RCA, (Hon) FAIA, Int FRIBA, NSAA, AAPEI, AANB, OAA, VT, NH, Principal at MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada will present the Bigwin Island project. The project consists of 40 cabins for a golf club on Bigwin Island, a forested resort on Lake of Bays, north of Toronto. Several designs are envisioned, all with the goal of emphasizing there context, whether it be forest, meadow, or lake views.

The presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion focused on how these innovative custom home projects address several key issues, including:

  • Cost: What tradeoffs, if any, are required to achieve contemporary design excellence, particularly in terms of using energy-efficient, sustainable materials, products, and practices for the optimization of custom home designs? In the featured projects, what was the ultimate value in the specific design decisions?
  • Aesthetics: What role did the desire for a particular aesthetic play in determining the scope and main features in the custom home designs? What were the results of those decisions? What were the obstacles?
  • Drivers: Did the owners request certain features, or did you, as the architects, propose them? If the latter, what led you to suggest using specific materials or make specific design decisions to support the end goal? How did occupant satisfaction goals inform design decisions?
  • Design constraints and opportunities: What were some of the unique constraints of the projects, and what opportunities did they create for innovative design?
Coccoon House

Photo courtesy of neastudio

Nina E

Nina Edwards Anker, Arkitekt MNAL, Assoc. AIA, PhD, is an architect and design professional who has taught at Pratt, Sotheby's Institute, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, and New York University Gallatin. Formerly, she was an architect at the offices of Pei, Cobb, Freed, Owen & Mandolfo in New York; in Oslo, Norway, she worked as an architect with MMW Arkitekter and a-lab. In practice, Nina specializes in sustainable architecture and design; her work has been widely published and exhibited. She won the Good Design Award Chicago Atheneum Museum of Architecture and Design for furniture, the A’Design Award for solar lighting, The Architect’s Newspaper Best Product Award, Domus Best Houses award, and the Home & Garden Award for Best New Eco Residence. Edwards Anker is also Design Director at Terreform One and a founding member of New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She holds a PhD from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design and an M. Arch. from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Craig H

Craig Hartman, FAIA, is SOM's Senior Consulting Design Partner based in the firm's San Francisco office. His work with SOM in the United States, Europe, and Asia, while extremely broad in its typology — ranging from entire urban districts to singular works of commercial, civic, and cultural architecture — consistently adheres to a rigorous modern vocabulary that acknowledges issues of place involving climate, physical and cultural landscape, and historic precedent. Hartman’s work has been recognized with nearly 200 awards for design, which, in addition to 10 national American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Awards, includes multiple Gold LEED®certifications, two current LEED® Platinum projects, and AIA awards for environmental sustainability at Treasure Island and the University of California, Merced. He also received a Federal Design Achievement Award in the 2000 Presidential Design Awards Program.

Brian M

Brian MacKay-Lyons, FRAIC, RCA, (Hon) FAIA, Int FRIBA, NSAA, AAPEI, AANB, OAA, VT, NH, was born and raised in the village of Arcadia in Nova Scotia, on the East coast of Canada. Brian received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1978 and his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California Los Angeles, in the United States. He has developed a leading global practice from Nova Scotia that has been honoured with over one hundred design awards including the Royal Institute of British Architects International Fellowship, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal and three American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards. Brian is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a current professor of Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Marvin Marvin is a fourth-generation family-owned and led business, headquartered in Warroad, Minn., with more than 7,000 employees across 16 cities in North America. The Marvin portfolio of products for builders, architects and homeowners is designed to provide exceptional solutions for any project with a focus on creating better ways of living. Marvin products are distributed nationally through a network of independent dealers. Visit to learn more.


Originally published in October 2020