Schoolhouse to live on in Lunenburg County

Carla Allen
Published on January 18, 2013

A one-room schoolhouse that was built nearly two centuries ago will have a new home in Lunenburg County.

Brian Mackay-Lyons, an award-winning architect who grew up in Arcadia has purchased the old Chebogue schoolhouse and plans to dismantle it into whole walls and roof sections.

It will be transported this winter to a farm in Upper Kingsburg, Lunenburg County by flatbed truck then re-erected and restored.

Mackay-Lyons says he bought the building, one of the most memorable from his childhood, because “it needs to be rescued soon or it will be lost.” He has had the building inspected for integrity.

“So far, it is in pretty good shape,” he said. “(But) it will likely cost more to reuse this structure than it would cost to build a new one.”

As an architect, he says, “he admires the pure building as a kind of missing link between domestic scale and public architecture.”

The building will be used partly as a classroom for his international architecture laboratory called Ghost.

The Ghost campus, on MacKay-Lyons’ property received the highest architectural award given by the American Institute of Architects for building design in Washington, DC, last  May.

Yarmouth County resident Judi Archibald provided some information on the old schoolhouse through research completed by Linda Campbell and the Registry of Deeds office.

The building was erected in 1830 and was one of the earliest community schools in the county. 

It was used for that purpose until 1958 when the Arcadia Consolidated School was opened.

Mackay-Lyons received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at U.C.L.A., and was awarded the Dean's Award for Design.

After studying in China, Japan, California and Italy he returned to Nova Scotia in 1983.

In 1985 he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax.

Each summer since 1994, he holds an international summer internship called Ghost. He has given over 180 public lectures on his work internationally.