Capturing Cape Breton in the fall
Architectural photographer Julian Parkinson embarked on a mission to capture the Ingonish Civic Building in the fall of 2016. His experience was the convergence of pure form, idyllic landscape, and perfect weather conditions.
Designed as a prototype for facilities in small communities throughout Atlantic Canada, the Ingonish Civic Building replaces the oldest Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment in Canada. The facility serves approximately 5,000 residents of the area, as well as visitors of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park -- the new detachment lies at the park's eastern edge near the Atlantic Ocean.
That day in late October was a special one, as Julian describes. “Having waited for a weather window that would give me 2 to 3 days of dry clear conditions, I made the long drive from Halifax to Ingonish with my fingers crossed. I had planned to have one evening session and one morning session to shoot a variety of images in different light. In my experience, weather forecasts and Cape Breton weather reality are two very different things. I arrived in Ingonish just 20 minutes before sunset, so I quickly located the building and set to work to capture some images against a crisp, clear blue sky – the likes of which I haven’t seen in a long while.
"The following morning, I had an early start and witnessed the most incredible sunrise with all kinds of colours bouncing off a few clouds in the sky - this provided the most perfect backdrop to what emerged to be the most incredible building I’ve seen in 2016 - but incredible in a very different kind of way than I have experienced before.
“One of my Instagram followers described this building as ‘an exercise in restraint,’ which is probably the most accurate description that comes to mind. It’s tastefully designed and proudly boasts a familiar traditional form, but the modern details that make up that form are what makes this building special. The grey fibre cement cladding reacts beautifully to the changing light of a sunrise or sunset and the silver roof tops it off in style.”
Modelled after the Ingonish prototype, construction is underway on projects at Whitbourne and Twillingate Island, both in Newfoundland.