The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia unveils three potential designs for its new location

The new Waterfront Arts District will unveil its finalized look this October.

Jordan Bennett shared the vision he co-created for the new AGNS on his Instagram profile, saying "the Salter/Lower Water street entrance [is] based on the Mi’kmaq peaked hat worn by the matriarchs of our community." - INSTAGRAM.COM SCREENSHOT
instagram.com screenshot
Jordan Bennett shared the vision he co-created for the new AGNS on his Instagram profile, saying "the Salter/Lower Water street entrance [is] based on the Mi’kmaq peaked hat worn by the matriarchs of our community."
Right now, at 1723 Hollis Street, over 10,000 paintings, sculptures and works of art have their bags packed, ready to go. They're waiting, fingers drumming, until it's time to get moving. They're ready for their new home, on what is currently a parking lot on Lower Water Street.

Yes, the art is ready to move into the new Waterfront Arts District building. And as of this week, the harbourside arts and culture pavilion is one step closer to being ready for it.

After multiple submissions from around the globe, yesterday the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia announced its top three picks for what it describes on its website as "a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and public space on the Halifax Waterfront as part of a new Waterfront Arts District."

The goal, as per a press release sent out by the AGNS yesterday, is  to "reinvent the idea of an art gallery and arts district." AGNS's CEO Nancy Noble said in the release: "We hope that all Nova Scotians will engage with us throughout this process to ensure that we have a space that is reflective of all communities in our province." (Watch the full unveiling Sep 24 at 6pm via YouTube for a chance to comment or submit feedback on each design through the AGNS website.)

Check out the three finalists:


click to enlarge ARTGALLERYOFNOVASCOTIA.CA SCREENSHOT
artgalleryofnovascotia.ca screenshot

Architecture49 with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hargreaves Jones

The New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro helped create the famous Chelsea Highline, a public park built on an abandoned elevated railroad. It also worked on the Museum of Modern Art's recent renovation. In short, it knows how to blend public space, green space and art space like few others in the world.

click to enlarge ARTGALLERYOFNOVASCOTIA.CA SCREENSHOT
artgalleryofnovascotia.ca screenshot
Dialog, Acre Architects, Brackish Design Studio and Shannon Webb-Campbell

We think it's a safe bet that Webb-Campbell, as the editor of Visual Arts News, (Atlantic Canada's only all visual art mag) knows what a gallery should be, do and look like. Here, it looks like a work of art that'll be filled with works of art.


KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public Work and Transsolar

Omar Gandhi is an award-winning architect who counts the New York Times amongst his fans. Jordan Bennett is a Sobey Art Award long-listed artist, whose 2019 AGNS exhibit of bold colours and Mi’kmaq quillwork was something truly never seen before in a major Canadian gallery.

Here's what Bennett said about his team's design on Instagram:

"Our integrated design team have rooted our design in place, this place, Mi’kma’ki. For us, Rebuilding the model of a public art gallery means truly breaking the mold of what has come before. Our proposed design for The New Art Gallery of Nova Scotia presented us with an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on the deep history of where it stands. As a team we aim to not only rebuild the model of an art gallery; we should set the example and be the model that others look to for a space to be rooted in the territory that it lives in, consider the history and build a new way forward."

The final design will be announced by the gallery in October.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (3)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.