Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, Canada

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public Work and Transsolar have been selected as the winning team of the international design competition for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District.

The new Gallery and Arts District, located on the Salter Block of the Halifax Waterfront, will be a transformative arts destination for all to experience. It will inspire and celebrate creativity and imagination, but also challenge the status quo and reshape institutional values. It will be a place created with people, art, and culture at its core.

The work completed by the winning team embodies a vision of a place for all seasons, rooted in sustainability, connecting the city at the water. It’s a gathering space where art, learning and community unite.

Transsolar’s design is the result of a passive-design-first approach, which leads to a higher than usual resiliency due to the lower dependency on mechanical systems, compared to an ordinary design. The orientation and massing of the building, the window to wall ratios, the performance of the envelope in terms of minimized thermal transmissions and controlled solar gains, are all passive measures which will allow the building to rely less on the local grid and to behave in a robust manner against unpredictable future extreme weather and environmental conditions.

Key passive measures include (1) Box-in-a-box approach: galleries are surrounded by tempered circulation areas and/or atria, which function as a climate buffer between inside and outside. (2) Ability to operate the part of the building which is not a Class AA gallery in natural mode.

Regarding a roadmap towards net zero carbon emissions, the building is designed with a minimized EUI-site and to be full-electric, in order to facilitate the transition towards a future carbon neutral operation, accordingly to the planned de-carbonization of the local grid.