What’s your vision for Nova Centre?

When: July 26, 2012 — 7 - 9pm

Where: Pavilion 20 / Seaport Market, Halifax

Nova Centre’s public engagement team invited the public to begin conversations around the vision and principles of the Nova Centre design. The purpose was to:

  • Engage the public in conversation around a vision for Nova Centre
  • Provide information, context and architectural inspiration for the public conversations on Nova Centre
  • Capture key themes that articulate the vision and support the architect’s design

Watch the video

See people’s visions


You can jump to a specific speaker and watch on YouTube:

Nova Centre developer, Joe Ramia welcomed us by sharing his vision for Nova Centre and the engagement. He introduced Tim Merry, public engagement collaborative team lead, who framed the meeting and invited everyone to “trust in the public engagement team, the developer, the architect and each other” to build a meaningful and productive public engagement process.

In pairs, attendees took a moment to discuss the following:

What does Nova Centre mean to me? Why is this gathering important to me?

This is what we heard:

  • Do not get distracted Halifax – keep focused on the downtown!
  • More curves in the design – sails or waves.
  • Halifax could be a leader in international sustainability.
  • What is going to be in Nova Centre?

Next, we heard from four speakers who offered more context and information about where the Nova Centre project is now.

  • Joe Ramia spoke about his vision for Halifax and the potential for Nova Centre’s contribution.
  • Scott Ferguson of Trade Centre Limited spoke to the vision for the convention centre and the opportunity it has to offer Nova Scotia.
  • Andy Fillmore, former manager of HRM by Design, spoke about the revitalization of our urban core and the effect this could have on the entire Province.
  • Finally, Noel Fowler, Nova Centre’s architect, shared his ideas and inspiration for the Nova Centre design. He spoke to practical issues of height, view planes and footprint as well as design inspiration around streetscape, scale, iconic design and color.

The session was then opened to the public. We turned to the people at our tables and had conversations about:

What is your best experience of a building making a positive contribution to a downtown? How would you like to interact with Nova Centre? How would we like this building to interact with this city? What are the most essential elements you would like the architect to bring to the design?


This was a lively conversation that surfaced key themes, considered essential elements to influence the design of Nova Centre.

Permeable and Interactive

  • Multiple interactive experiences and moments
  • Strategically drive people to waterfront, citadel, argyle- Showcase the best!
  • Moves people through the city, free flow of people, many access points
  • Public access, connects, flexible, adaptable
  • Interactive and pedestrian friendly
  • Transparency in access, function and view
  • Blur the edge with city- human scale, retail, public art
  • Integrated experience- shared courtyard, relationship to Argyle St
  • Pedestrian wall
  • Open 24/7
  • Integrity of public participation


  • Affordable office and housing
  • Lower rent to be supportive of social entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Social and Cultural
  • Physically accessible to all
  • Multi-modal accessibility
  • Access to the roof (gardens, public space and restaurants)
  • Amenities (water fountains, Starbucks, bank machines, family bathrooms, gender neutral bathrooms, food kiosks…)


  • Sidewalk transparency
  • Entrance, lighting and color
  • Courtyard aesthetic on Grafton
  • Reflect Argyle street
  • Activity and integrating people
  • Invigorate the streetscape

Art and the Arts

  • Public Art- sculptures and performance
  • Indoor and outdoor Art
  • Small boutique shops- our community

Reflect Nova Scotia Identity

  • Reflects NS elements- trees, rocks, water
  • Natural elements- materials, concepts, light, eco-friendly/powered
  • Honor our history
  • Where we have been and where we are going
  • Reflect all of us – diversity

Symbol of the Future

  • Captures the attention of Atlantic Canada
  • Represents the NEW Halifax
  • Vision of the project and Halifax potential


  • Bright, beautiful and colorful covered street
  • Vibrancy and color


  • Natural light
  • Huge windows overlooking the water
  • State of the art passive design
  • Ballroom above ground
  • Mirrors and reflects


  • Contemporary design respecting time and place
  • Modern showcase design and technology


  • Memorable design
  • Unique/Unusual architecture
  • Courageous design reflecting surroundings
  • Iconic downtown integrated experience
  • Allow Noel to fulfill his vision

Public Space

  • Gathering place
  • Public Performance Space

Green Space

  • Forest trees inside
  • Rooftop urban garden

Plan for Transit

  • Argyle pedestrian, Market for vehicles
  • Robust partnerships for transit/airport. Plan now!

Marguerite Drescher visually captured the entire meeting and Craig Moore provided live streaming. Both Marguerite and Craig are part of the public engagement collaborative.

Although conversations and presentations were the focus of this session, the duo of ‘Matt and Pat’ provided music as people arrived and during discussion periods.

The themes generated at this gathering, through street engagement and online will be provided to the architect and developer to influence the look and feel of the building.

Keep an eye out for renderings coming in the fall – thank you!