The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Economy as Ethic

Robert McCarter, Juhani Pallasmaa, Kenneth Frampton


The work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects embodies two interrelated primary principles: economy and place. Economy as an ethical imperative leads to creating the “maximal” experience with minimal form, material, and cost. Reinforcing this imperative is the architects’ engagement of their place of practice, coastal Nova Scotia, and its climate, landform, and material culture.

The practice has evolved plan types that allow the architects to engage the land and climate of their native Nova Scotia, and is also focused on the importance of the interior spatial experience. The work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple is predicated on the belief that what really matters in architecture is not fashion and form but the material culture of building and the making of places. The result, evident in the nearly one hundred projects featured in the book, is both practical and poetic.


Robert McCarter


Robert McCarter is an architect and a professor at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University, in St. Louis. His has written many books.

Juhani Pallasmaa

Introduction By

Juhani Pallasmaa is a Finnish architect and former professor of architecture and dean at the Helsinki University of Technology. He was director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture 1978–83, and head of the Institute of Industrial Arts, Helsinki.

Kenneth Frampton


Kenneth Frampton is a historian and theorist, and a professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, New York. His many books include Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Le Corbusier, and Kengo Kuma: Complete Works.