Arts District


1521 Lower Water Street
Halifax Waterfront


Communities, Culture and Heritage, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Design Competition

for the New Waterfront Arts District

July 2022 Update

Update as of July 27, 2022: Premier Tim Houston announced July 27, that the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia build is on hold. Read the full release here.

November 2020 Update

See the Gallery Release to learn more about the winning team design.

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:

  • Architecture49 with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hargreaves Jones
  • DIALOG + Acre Architects
  • KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public Work and Transsolar
Artist renderings courtesy of KPMB Architects

These teams were selected from 46 applications that 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.

“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, Build 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 

“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

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

January 2020 announcement

April 2019 announcement

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