Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has a winner

The AGNS has announced the winning conceptual design for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District, to be located on the Salter block of the Halifax Waterfront

The conceptual design for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District features a striking peaked hat shape at the entrance, an iconic shape that is a symbol of strength, wisdom, love and power that women hold within Mi’kmaw communities. Photo: Art Gallery of Nova Soctia/Twitter.
The conceptual design for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District features a striking peaked hat shape at the entrance, an iconic shape that is a symbol of strength, wisdom, love and power that women hold within Mi’kmaw communities. Photo: Art Gallery of Nova Soctia/Twitter.

In a media release, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) has announced the winning conceptual design for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Waterfront Arts District, to be located on the Salter block on the Halifax waterfront.

The design was chosen following an international design competition, the first of its size in Nova Scotia, with three teams in stage two of the design competition.

The winning design team is KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman, Public Work and Transsolar, which features a peaked hat shape at the entrance, an iconic shape that is a symbol of strength, wisdom, love and power that women hold within Mi’kmaw communities.

“We proposed a sinuous building surrounded by regenerative gardens that will signal a radical new beginning for the AGNS, the waterfront, Nova Scotians and the world of art,” said Bruce Kuwabara, founding partner, KPMB Architects. “We want people to experience art in a great setting. We want people to feel welcome and at home. We believe we have created a place for everyone.”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil congratulated the winning design team. “As a province, we recognize the importance of inclusive public spaces connected to the arts. Art and culture help tell the story of who we are as Nova Scotians. The new gallery will reflect the importance of art and culture to our lives, our communities and our economy,” says McNeil in the release.

To celebrate the unveiling of the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia design, the Donald R. Sobey Foundation, with The Sobey Foundation, announced a $10 million gift.

“As Nova Scotians, we are exceptionally proud to live in one of the most beautiful and culturally rich places in the world. The role that artists can play in shining a global spotlight on our province will be strengthened by this bold new vision for internationally recognized cultural infrastructure,” says Donald R. Sobey. “The Sobey family looks forward to our province’s enhanced capacity to welcome the world with this visionary arts district.”

We are tremendously proud and inspired to collaborate with both the winning team and the public to reimagine how our gallery can serve communities, and to demonstrate the significance of culture and art, both at home and abroad. – Nancy Noble, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia director and CEO.

AGNS director and CEO Nancy Noble calls the Sobey gift transformational to realize the dream for the new gallery.

“Their generosity to the arts in Canada is unparalleled, and we are so fortunate to have their support as we revolutionize the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia into a leading Canadian art museum,” she says. “As we move forward with this talented team, we hope that all Nova Scotians will engage with us as we build a gallery for the people.”

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, called the announcement an exciting and inspiring look into the Halifax waterfront’s future. “This transformational project will bring together all members of our community to share unique experiences and build stronger, more inclusive relationships through art,” he says.

The Government of Canada has committed $30 million and the Province of Nova Scotia $70 million for the project.

Formal public engagement to shape a final design will begin in early 2021. The winning conceptual design can be viewed online at artgalleryofnovascotia.ca.