Let’s make the Halifax central library green and sustainable

Meeting Part One:

Meeting Part Two:

3rd Meeting – Wednesday, August 25, 2010

About 120 people attended the meeting, held at Pier 21 in Heritage Hall. The Keshen Goodman, Woodlawn and Tantallon branches also hosted staff-led consultation meetings. Architects brought a number of models for display and participants were asked two basic questions.

Question #1 : “What are your questions for the architects?”

Most questions fell under the following trends:
- Long-term sustainabilty (looking for a building that will age gracefully and be timeless, using green materials)
- General design commentary (i.e. softer shape, open vs. intimate, comfortable)
- Impacts of Weather and Climate (i.e. requesting wind studies, concerns about snow on the flat roof and icicles on overhang, landscaping inside and out)
- Functionality (wondering how library services will drive the design, want an interior that is flexible and adaptable over time, looking for good acoustics and ease of movement and transition between different areas)
- Fit within context (ensure building fits within the retail environment and promotes pedestrian and street activity)

NOTE: For a list of specific questions and the architects' answers see our Q&A.

Question #2 : “What is your advice as we move forward?”

Most comments fell under the following trends:
- Distinctive (People want a landmark that reflects Halifax in both style and materials used.)
- Welcoming (People want a space that is warm, inviting, human-scale, and accessible. The notion of softening the exterior was mentioned here as well.)
- Functional (People want a flexible building that incorporates various uses - i.e. multiple entrances and things like skype lounges)
Innovative (People are keen to see the building apply green technologies and eco-friendly materials)

Based on evaluation forms, here’s a snapshot of what you said:

What was your best experience of the public meeting on August 25?

“Viewing the possible designs. Walking through one of the designs by the architect was very interesting to note that many different factors had been taken into account, i.e. viewplanes, sunlight, natural light in building. The public has actually been listened to, as I had attended the previous two meetings and know what had been discussed. It was also interesting to find out what LEED means and that the library is going for gold in its rating.”
“The concept plans - well presented, encouraging us to be bold, think creatively about exterior design. Good, focused discussion questions.”
“Enjoyed the collective ideas of the room. Wonderful to see young people attend.”
“Having architects answer questions off the cuff is challenging but inspires confidence in public!”

What advice would you give to the organizers for the next public meeting?

“Need to discuss the interior of the building.”
“Are you connecting with various groups across the city that don't tend to attend gatherings such as this one? If so, can you (or are you already) share their input with the the larger public?”
“More table discussion time, more examples of other architectural stuff worldwide to spur discussion.”

What would you say to someone thinking of coming to the next public meeting?

“The next meeting will be a presentation of the almost final version of the design of the building.
Your input is required to ensure it is what we want, given our budget, and what will be a catalyst that takes Halifax to the next stage in terms of community and city building.”
“Please do. Everybody's comments are considered and important.”
“It's fun; an excellent civic effort; a great chance to improve/influence an important area of our community.”

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