The New Halifax Central Library

The first thing you see is the staircase, I am assuming to encourage people to take the chair. Not a bad idea in a country with ever increasing obesity rates.

Two weeks ago I visited Halifax, Nova Scotia for a conference at Pier 21 on Biorefinery. Yes, such conferences exist.  Between the conference and the reception in the evening, I had an hour and a half to kill.

I could have crossed the street to have beer at the Garrison Brewery Company, but the nerd in me decided to check out the new library, partly because I like libraries and partly because Ottawa is moving slowly towards a new library too. Which I hope, will be even more spectacular. I took a lot of pictures and like to share them with you.

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The Halifax library from the outside
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The first thing you see is the staircase, I am assuming to encourage people to take the stairs. Not a bad idea in a country with ever increasing obesity rates.
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Immediately on the left is an art installation by Cliff Eyland, consisting of 5000 original library file card size miniature paintings of books, poems, faces, landscapes etc.
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The flyers and announcements; you don’t have to be bored in Halifax
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Part of the ground floor
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A 300 seat auditorium in the back. There just happened to be an open house on a renewal project. Lots of mood images
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The chair can be folded into the steps: flip forward and slide them in. Very neat.
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Row of computers for the digital age above the front entrance
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Nice colour scheme, fountains and recycling
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Gaming at the kids floor
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Lots of lounging: make yourself at home
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The circles of friends didn’t appear too popular, perhaps too close in eachothers’ personal space
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Little nooks, commercially sponsored with the company name at the top of the nook (not visible)
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The system of staircases is the eye catcher of the library. The central space is open all the way to the glass roof
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The view at the rear on the parking crater is not great. If you look carefully, you can see the container terminal with the red and white cranes.
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The library has a green roof. The picture was taken from the roof top terrace, that covers a small part of the roof. You can see the harbour in the background.
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More quiet places.
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Every floor has staff desks.
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This print is to keep birds from flying into the windows as they see the reflection of the sky or trees in them. Most such decals are simply contours of birds or a geometric pattern. I thought this alternative design was a creative theme. I have no information if it works as there still appears to be lots of glass to fly into.
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This is the inside of the cantilevered top floor. A gorgeous place to be (and hot) with windows on three sides.

I thought the library felt a bit empty. I am not sure if that is on purpose, or that there are simply not enough books. Perhaps the most popular materials are out and the rest can be ordered on line? The library has a couple of places for coffee of which I forgot to take pictures. It feels spacious and bright.

There were lots of computers, there were separate spaces (for example in the kids area), there was a kids play space, there were lots more sofas and chairs than I could take pictures of. I liked the nooks and the focus on the stairs. The elevators were close to the entrance too, but not in your face like in office buildings.

More on the art wall here: http://thechronicleherald.ca/thenovascotian/1247679-at-the-galleries-new-library-home-to-6000-miniature-paintings

More details on the library, such as the decision making process, the architects and visitors numbers, on Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Central_Library

Article about the revitilisation of the area and the possible developments around the library that may take the sightlines away: Globe and Mail

 

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