Prague 2016 | Non-residential

Halifax Central Library

CanadaCanadaCompany Name: Chris Chisholm

Project description

The Halifax Library is a community centre and civic landmark. A centerpiece of the Capital District, the exterior was designed to mimic a stack of books. Built to LEED Gold standards, sustainable practices are at the core of the Halifax Library. The library is truly sustainable and was built to last, adapt to the changing needs of the community, have a minimal environmental impact and support the social and cultural needs of the community. The five story atrium consists of a labyrinth of stairs and bridges connecting the floors. Due to the high level of natural light from the skylight and glass façade, a level V finish throughout the building was imperative in order to showcase the sharp lines and world class design.


Chris Chisholm

Tartan Interiors Limited of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a leading interior contractor in Canada that specializes in drywall, acoustic ceiling units, acoustic ceiling suspension, non-load bearing wall framing, load bearing steel stud assemblies and rough carpentry. Offering an experienced team of estimators, project managers and site foreman directing a skilled workforce, Tartan Interiors provides in-depth knowledge of the trade. During their almost 40 years of operation, Tartan has been involved in almost every major building project in Nova Scotia.

Key Achievements

  • All crews worked together and adapted to the unusual construction site.
  • Crew worked to understand and install drywall and insulation with the atypical ceiling, angles and atypical mechanical and electrical systems
  • Eco-design and future thought in material selection, construction, the way the building would be used, occupant comfort, and impact on the environment
  • Performance well beyond codes and regulatory requirement: (LEED Gold Certified)
  • Ongoing community education- -Tours were available after opening -Throughout the library plaques and educational pieces are available to learn about sustainable construction and products.
  • Awards World Architecture Festival Award Finalist -Civic and Community Category CNN 10 Eye-Popping New Buildings of 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Merit -Nova Scotia Association of Architects Engineering a Better Canada Award -Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, Canada

Key Challenges

  • The cantilever design of the building was challenging to achieve.
  • The building was not fully sealed when drywall installation began causing a large potential for moisture related issues. Saint-Gobain worked with Tartan to manage the project and track weather conditions to ensure no weather related damage or issues arose.
  • Construction of the atrium which spans 5 floors and features stairs and bridges. Extensive scaffolding had to be installed for each crew to get to their respective work site.
  • Large, open space demanded close attention from the contractor to safety during drywall installation and finishing stages in high, challenging conditions
  • The exterior of the building is 90% glass, allowing a high amount of natural light into the building. The interior walls were all skim coated to achieve a level 5 finish.


Building owner:
Halifax Regional Municipality
Fowler Bauld and Mitchell
Main contractor:
Ellis Don
James Ingram
Saint-Gobain Team:
Russell Mackinnon