HALIFAX – A unique construction project in downtown Halifax is gathering more attention as it nears completion.
The Halifax Central Library hasn’t opened its doors to the public yet, but reporters got a sneak peek at its progress Friday morning.
“This is going to be a showcase facility for Halifax, its residents and its visitors,” said MLA Mark Furey, the province’s minister of municipal affairs.
In January, the library garnered some international attention when CNN included it on its list of 10 eye-popping new buildings for 2014.
The project, which is expected to cost $55 million, is said to be on budget and on schedule.
When it’s complete, the 108,000 sq. ft. building will become a state-of-the-art centrepiece for the city.
“Well-designed public spaces really matter,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. “They inspire and attract people, and cities are all about people and they make a statement about community values.”
The library will be an environmentally friendly and sustainable building. It will feature study rooms, a 300-seat auditorium and a collection that’s 50 per cent larger than what’s currently housed at the Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library.
The inside architecture features complex geometry that posed some challenges for the people constructing it.
“The floor plates are offset and they’re skewed one to the other. We’re used to conventional square, rectangular shaped buildings,” said construction manager Roland Doucet.
“The atrium is a big wow factor in the library, and it’s got the same sort of thing going on as the outside of the building — it’s offset relative to other floors and it’s twisting and turning.”
Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay attended the tour and said the new building represents “an incredible accomplishment.”
“What a wonderful asset for the … entire municipality, for the province and for the country,” he said.
Halifax Public Libraries has created a website with resources on the new facility including photos, a 3D virtual tour and a list of frequently asked questions.
*with files from Global News reporter Natasha Pace