East Coast Mobile.


This project begins with a standard 1970s era mobile home parked on Nova Scotiaʼs Eastern Shore. The question: how to make a site specific architecture of a generic pre-fab; how to transform a leak-prone mobile home into a modern all season dwelling that embraces the landscape. A tight budget added to the challenge.  The site descends, revealing a panoramic expanse of ocean. The boardwalks and bridges of the coastal hiking trail that hover above the marshlands of this shore offer an irresistible metaphor to bridge old and new.  Appropriately, the clients have dubbed the project Sankofa (a term from the Akan language of Ghana), meaning to take from the past what is good and bring it into the present. The architectural starting point is a reinterpretation of the mobile homeʼs unique structural system. Two parallel steel beams, set a meter back from the dwellingʼs perimeter, support outriggers that carry roof and wall loads back to the beams. The buildingʼs new envelope wraps these outriggers; the house is anchored to new foundations, yet floats above the ground. A new entry box further establishes a connection to the ground and allows for circulation to an additional living space that responds to the slope of the site.  Sustainable elements of this project include retaining the “chassis” of the mobile home and minimizing the foundation footprint. Solar orientation and large windows guarantee optimal daylight, and respond to the views of the site: the ocean, the sunset and the east forest.

Lead Firm: Judy Obersi, Obersi Projects
Location: Seaforth, Nova Scotia
Completed: 2011
Published: Canadian Architect 2014

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