Though Gandhi’s projects are dramatically different in form, such consideration of their remote, subarctic backdrop connects them to one another — they “look like they could only be in Nova Scotia,” he says.
EVERY FEW DAYS, the Canadian architect Omar Gandhi migrates between Toronto, his hometown, and Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, where he opened his eponymous firm in 2010. A year and a half ago, Gandhi added New Haven to his weekly peregrinations — he was teaching a seminar at the Yale School of Architecture called Where the Wild Things Are, after Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book.
For the final project of the semester, the professor took his class to the wind-swept island of Cape Breton (a glove-shaped appendage separated from Nova Scotia’s main peninsula by the narrow Strait of Canso) to visit Rabbit Snare Gorge — his 2013 project with the New York-based architecture firm Design Base 8 — a slender cabin that stretches 43 feet tall, like a 16th-century Mannerist portrait. Touring the surrounding plot, a 47-acre wooded slope bisected by the creek that gives the house its name, Gandhi, 40, asked his students to conceive a “campus of creatures” — a set of structures that, as he described it when we met at his Halifax studio last summer, “have an attitude and respond and look like they move.”