Arts District Design Competition

June 2020 Update —

Phase one of the international Design Competition for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and vibrant Public Space is now complete. In early July phase two of the competition will commence, when three successful teams compete by creating conceptual designs for the new provincial Art Gallery and Public Space that will anchor the new Arts District on the Halifax Waterfront.

The three finalists, infused with talent from Atlantic Canada, include:

These teams were selected from 46 applications which came in from many corners of the globe. When evaluating the submissions, the review committee considered each team’s vision for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Public Space, their demonstrated team experience, the demonstrated qualifications of key personnel, and the team’s approach to the project.

Final conceptual designs will be due in September and will be made available for public viewing and engagement before the winning team is selected by a qualified jury of professionals. The new, iconic art gallery and vibrant public space will provide access to art, culture, world class exhibitions, events and programming for all Nova Scotians and visitors to the province.


Architectural teams from around the globe are invited to participate in a design competition for a new provincial art gallery.

The kickoff of an international design competition represents a big step toward a new art gallery for all Nova Scotians, which will be part of a new arts district on the Halifax Waterfront.

“We are embarking on an exciting phase of the project to build Nova Scotia’s new waterfront art gallery and public space,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister, Leo Glavine. “Our commitment speaks to the important contributions the arts make to our communities and to our economy.”

The design competition, which is the first of its magnitude for the province, is expected to last six months and will take place in two stages. In summer 2020, during the final stage of the competition, the field will be narrowed to three design teams before a qualified jury selects the winning team. The conceptual designs of all finalists will be on public display for feedback which will be provided to the winning design team.

The new, iconic art gallery and vibrant public space will provide access to art, culture, world class exhibitions, events and programming for all Nova Scotians and visitors to the province.

“We are seeking an exceptional team of architects and designers to realize the ambitions of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the dream of creating an inclusive world class centre for art, here in Nova Scotia. A design competition is the best way to capture a global perspective on how a gallery can best serve a community, while ensuring that architecture helps achieve our vision of being an inclusive public gathering place that connects all people with art.”
– Nancy Noble, director and CEO, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

“Developed with Nova Scotians for Nova Scotians, the arts district will be a welcoming place for people from all communities to access art and experience cultural activities on their waterfront. Working together, we will create and grow a dynamic new public place where locals and visitors alike can meet art inside and out and where events, programming and new experiences can thrive and evolve over time.”
– Jennifer Angel, CEO, Develop Nova Scotia

“Maintaining a vibrant arts scene is integral to the vitality of this province and to the wellbeing of those who live here. The new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and arts district will enliven creativity throughout the cultural sector, encourage economic growth and offer the opportunity to Nova Scotians and its visitors to experience a rich, ever-expanding tapestry of storytelling, talent and meaning.”
– Trevor Murphy, chair, Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council 

Quick Facts:

— the design competition will be open to local, national and international teams and will take place over a six-month period

— stage one of the competition is a call for qualifications and interviews with the top qualified candidates

— stage two is the formal design competition where short listed firms will create conceptual designs for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and surrounding public space

— the final design team will be chosen by a qualified jury of professionals, including architects and museum professionals, in summer 2020

— the successful design team will carry out an ongoing public engagement process

in April 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $30 million in the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia project through the New Building Canada Fund—Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component, National and Regional Projects

— the Province of Nova Scotia has committed $70 million towards this project

Read more on the April 2019 announcement here.

Additional Resources:

For the request for proposal document and project brief visit:

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia building website:

Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan