Acre Architects: 3 Days + 22 Minutes in Burlington, NL

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It’s hard to pinpoint what makes this place special. Maybe it is arriving in a small Beechcraft plane where the co-pilot doubles as the steward, or perhaps it is having the time to think on the 90 minute drive from the closest airport in Deer Lake through deep forests that makes the introduction to this remote coastal town of Burlington feel like a unique adventure.

During our three-day stay, and true to Newfoundland form, we found ourselves grounded in the kitchen of Shaun’s father, Mani Majumder, and his wife, Leisel. The kitchen quickly became a place of impromptu social gathering. Warmed by a wood fire, visitors and locals alike packed themselves shoulder to shoulder around the small kitchen table that served up great food (thanks Leisel!) and great stories. Connected in genuine conversation, it felt intimate and it felt authentic.

Before heading back home to Saint John, New Brunswick, we had a chance to reflect on our trip with Shaun as we stood precariously on top of scaffolding erected on the future site of Majumder Manor. Maybe it was getting off the ground and seeing Burlington from above, but somehow the design vision for the Manor felt clearer. Just like Burlington’s kitchens, the architecture of Majumder Manor would need to find a meaningful way to create the informal atmosphere that kindles opportunities for genuine communal experiences. It is an exciting challenge to make Atlantic Canada a travel destination where you can find authentic connections to people and to place.

Monica Adair and Stephen Kopp

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Sherman Downey's "Mudjacket"