Our core values are driven by a studio environment that fosters creativity and discovery alongside expertise. Beyond the day-to-day operations of the practice, our values are reinforced by community engagement, professional development, research, extramural activities, and various intra-office lecture series.

We celebrate the achievements of our staff and studio, as well as document the work that brings innovation, sustainability, equity, and inclusion into focus.

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FBM's design of Cabot Cliffs awarded RAIC Governor General's Medal in Architecture

Our design for Cabot Cliffs has been awarded the Governor General's Medal in Architecture, one of only 12 projects recognized biannually with this prestigious accolade.

Deeply rooted in Maritime traditional forms, landscape, and history, 'Cabot Cliffs: Cliffs Residences, Halfway Hut, and Pro Shop' exemplifies FBM's dedication to design excellence and sustainability.

View the project

RAIC Session: The Hidden Social Dimension of Infrastructure (May 14, Vancouver)

Food, water, energy, and waste are systems associated with infrastructure that is typically recognized only for the services and commodities they produce; they are often overlooked for their potential social equity. Research led by FBM Design Director/Dalhousie University Associate Professor, Susan Fitzgerald, and Université de Montréal Professor, Carmela Cucuzzella, examines these built environments.

"The Hidden Social Dimension of Infrastructure,” presented at the RAIC Conference on Architecture, is uncovering qualities of infrastructural spaces that facilitate societal, cultural, and environmental exchanges. It explores whether infrastructures can foster a culture of care for the resources within these systems and the communities they serve, highlighting the importance of integrating social equity into the design and function of these essential spaces.

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New publication examines FBM's mass timber project

Cunard Street Live / Work / Grow is the subject of a new dedicated publication through Canadian Wood Council-Wood Works Atlantic. The case study highlights the design of the only mass timber building of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Now fully occupied and operational, Live / Work / Grow is an exciting precedent for mass timber construction in Nova Scotia and won a Canadian Architect Award for its execution and initiative.

Read the case study

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Planning together towards energy-efficient neighbourhoods (June 25, Truro)

Municipal officials, planners, business leaders, sustainability professionals, and community partners: mark your calendars!

The Low Carbon Leadership Conference, developed and presented by FBM and the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, is taking place June 25 from 9am to 4:30pm at the Inn on Prince Hotel & Conference Centre Truro.

This 1-day event tackles low carbon projects at the community and neighbourhood scale in Nova Scotia including a customizable quick-start guide for neighbourhood land use and energy action.

Cunard Street Live / Work / Grow opens its doors

Earlier in February, we proudly unveiled our new mass timber office building in Halifax.

As a practice embodying people-driven design, every member of our team contributed to shaping the future of our multidisciplinary office. Three levels of open-concept office space house multiple breakout areas, social gathering spots, a lower-level courtyard, and rooftop garden terrace.

Recognized with a Canadian Architect Award of Merit, our office serves as a 'living lab' for exploring wood construction techniques. Nestled into the streetscape, the glass facade invites passers-by to glimpse into the world of architecture, making it a part of the community and everyday life.

Read: FBM's New HQ (, February 13, 2024)

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Bayers Lake Community Outpatient Centre opens to the public

The Bayers Lake Community Outpatient Centre serves patients at a more accessible patient-practitioner scale, prioritizing patient convenience and alleviating pressure on existing healthcare facilities in the region.

We're proud to have partnered with EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare and Parkin Architects on this facility—the province's first public-private partnership (P3) in healthcare and a milestone in healthcare accessibility in Nova Scotia. The clinic embodies our commitment to cutting-edge healthcare infrastructure and is one of the largest projects through FBM's dedicated healthcare design team.

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FBM leading a talk on the work of the Venice Biennale

FBM Design Director, Susan Fitzgerald, led an examination of housing affordability driven by financialization. The talk explored global insights on housing issues, emphasizing the complexities and challenges of housing affordability, and examined the viability of diverse solutions for Halifax and beyond.

The work stems from FBM's role in Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA!) representing Canada at the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture. AAHA's exhibit at the Canadian Pavilion responds to Canada’s deep housing crisis. Together with Indigenous leaders, activists, advocates, and architects, the exhibition has created a campaign for accessible and affordable housing for all.

Venice Biennale 2023: Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA!)

Gottingen Street project wins Urban Design Award

Reimaging Gottingen Street Seating has won a Halifax Urban Design Award, Award of Excellence in the Community Connections and Initiatives category.

The collaboration with the North End Business Association (NEBA) and neighbouring not-for-profits adopted and designed four planters to create public seating, art, and activation. The initiative transformed underused streetscape assets to provide much-needed social value to the area.

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Atlantic Interior Design Awards

The inaugural Atlantic Interior Design Awards in June saw our Interior Design team walk away with an Award of Merit for both Deloitte and Office Interiors.

Deloitte and OI represent a growing portfolio of commercial office interior projects for which FBM have become known. Putting people-driven design at the forefront of programming, workplace designs respond to the demand for increased flexibility and activity-based models.

Senior Designer, Sarah MacDonald, won the ADIA Rising Star Award. The recognition is well-earned. We congratulate all the winners on their innovative and beautiful designs.

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RAIC Lecture Series: Extraordinary Homes - Part Three with Susan Fitzgerald

Homes are one of the truest reflections of self. Though driven in part by the physical context and climatic conditions, FBM centers the narrative of each home on the values and rituals of the inhabitants to create beautiful and comfortable dwelling spaces.

Architect and Design Director, Susan Fitzgerald, takes the audience on a journey through the process of designing some of Atlantic Canada's most extraordinary homes in the final session of this RAIC Spring Lecture Series.

The series, which also featured talks by Jane Abbott and Brian MacKay-Lyons, explores the meaning of "home" and how technology, form, culture, and context play into the perception of home.

Congrats to our graduates!

This year's spring convocation was a special time for two of our staff. Jacob Ragetli, who started with FBM as a student in 2019, graduated with a Master of Architecture. He remains a vital part of the architectural team and community connections groups engaged in social sustainability initiatives with the practice.

Rita Wang (M.Arch '22) was awarded the RAIC Student Medal, which recognizes the highest level of academic excellence. Rita was recently profiled for her achievements and award-winning academic career.

FBM Design Director and Dalhousie University Associate Professor, Susan Fitzgerald, earned the RAIC Student Medal in 1999 upon completing architecture studies at Dal. Susan gave the convocation address to graduates, faculty, and family from the Faculties of Architecture and Planning this past week. Listen to Susan's address below.

Susan Fitzgerald (FBM) delivers the convocation speech at Spring '23 convocation, Dalhousie University.

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FBM to collaborate on 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced that Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) will represent Canada in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, from May 20 to November 26, 2023.

FBM is collaborating with AAHA, led by the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. AAHA will launch Not for Sale! an architectural activist campaign for non-alienated housing.

The International Architecture Exhibition consists of a central exhibition with over 100 international participants, 60 national pavilions, and collateral events throughout the city. AAHA's exhibit at the Canadian Pavillion will respond to Canada’s deep housing crisis. Together with Indigenous leaders, activists, advocates, and architects, the exhibition will create a campaign for accessible and affordable housing for all.

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NS Main Streets Ideas Exchange Conference

At the heart of rural communities’ social and transportation infrastructures are main streets—older, secondary highways that support the day-to-day rhythms, economic and social activity, and cultural identity. Many main streets lack the physical and social accessibility for much of Nova Scotia's population, which limits the potential for placemaking and active transportation initiatives.

FBM and the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities partnered under a research and community engagement grant to create the Nova Scotia Main Streets Initiative. The initiative's Phase I activities included broad research into the principles, approaches and policy considerations that support thriving main streets culminating in a 72-page workbook—Nova Scotia Main Street Initiative Community Workbook.

The NS Main Streets Initiative identified new community partners in Phase II, engaging residents and businesses to investigate the potential for main street ideas and improvements. The Phase II Conversation Guide and Ideas Book and Conversation Worksheets contains criteria to help communities understand and identify feasible enhancements to their main streets, and that can improve safety and mobility, and resulting economic vitality.

Phase III of the initiative—The Nova Scotia Main Streets Ideas Exchange Conference—summarizes the work of the previous phases in a one-day event later this month. The Ideas Exchange is the chance for community members and leaders, elected officials, advocates, and placemakers to share aspirations and success stories for Main Streets and Downtowns in communities across the province.

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Appointment to the CACB Board of Directors

FBM extends its congratulations to George Cotaras on his appointment to the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). The CACB elected George, FBM Architect Emeritus and former President, among the three new directors at its November board meeting in Banff.

George’s appointment to the CACB builds on his volunteer work related to professional licensing and certification, which he has undertaken throughout most of his career at FBM. George is a longstanding member of the NSAA Board of Registration, currently serving as Registrar and Councillor. He has been involved with the CACB’s Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects program since its early days, helping build the program and chairing assessment panels.

The CACB is responsible for certifying the educational qualifications of architectural graduates, the accreditation of professional architectural programs at Canadian universities, and the certification of the professional qualifications of broadly experienced foreign architects who have immigrated to Canada. This national Board receives its mandate from the Regulatory Organizations of Architecture in Canada (ROAC) and the Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA).

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FBM among Canada's Top Employers

A testament to the culture, commitment, and passion towards our work and employees, clients, and communities, FBM has been recognized among Canada's Top 100 Employers.

Top Employers are graded on eight criteria that recognize innovative policies and support, flexibility, and creating meaningful opportunities for growth.

We are honoured to have received the award Friday (18-11-2022) in Toronto as an inaugural winner and hope to make this national award annual recognition of our response to the changing needs of our employees, the role of work-life-balance, and our commitment to people driven design.

The Canada’s Top 100 Employers project includes 18 regional and special-interest editorial competitions. FBM has been awarded Nova Scotia's Top Employer, Atlantic Canada's Top Employer, and Top Small & Medium Employers since first entering in 2020.

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Reimagining the North End streetscape

The street planters along Halifax’s vibrant Gottingen Street underwent a renaissance this summer thanks to a place-making and community partnership initiative.

FBM and RadStorm partnered to design simple, elegant slat seating that supports formal and informal activities around the art collective’s headquarters. Investigations of the daily rhythms of the sidewalk informed an approach to the planters’ updated design. Accessible seats and tables facilitate engagement between artists and the public year-round.

Screen print designs by InkStorm Screen Printing Collective (part of RadStorm) portray the people, space, and instruments that shape RadStorm while the layering of the images represents people and art coexisting within the area. The bench serves to bring the community’s stories to the built environment.

The collaboration is funded by the North End Business Association, the Nova Scotia Business and Labour Economic Coalition, and Develop Nova Scotia.

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Marine Drive Academy earns Medal of Excellence

Learning environments play a crucial role in students' success. The program of Marine Drive Academy in rural Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, is drawn from extensive interviews with students, teachers, and the community to reveal a design that supports learning as a natural extension of students’ lives.

We're pleased that our design of Marine Drive Academy has been recognized with a Lieutenant Governor's Medal of Excellence for its ability to link learning to broader community values.

Read more about Marine Drive Academy in Canadian Architect.

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Dalhousie University Free Lab x Hope Blooms

A series of participatory design exercises will immerse students from Dalhousie University's School of Architecture in the co-design and community engagement process.

As part of the two-week Free Lab led by FBM’s Design Director, students will conduct mapping exercises to contextualize a variety of project ideas focused on improving the quality of Hope Blooms’ on-site infrastructure. HB leadership and students have identified outdoor gathering spaces, therapeutic environments, and spaces to support business operations through the design of demountable market stalls as viable opportunities for the community garden's expansion.

FBM designed the 1,500-square-foot solar greenhouse pro bono in 2015. It has become a staple of North End Halifax’s social infrastructure, enabling the community to take ownership of their food sources and empower youth through agriculture and culinary programs.

A central goal of the Free Lab is to invite this vibrant Halifax community into the world of architecture and design and vice versa. Workshops and review sessions with Hope Blooms and FBM design staff will support students as they prepare ­final drawings, which can be used to build any of the ideas at a future date.

FBM welcomes new talent

We're pleased to welcome designer Mirella Paim to our interior design studio; intern architect Vicky Tanwar to our architectural team, and architectural technicians Hubert Perinet and Sebastian Lopez to the technical team.

The growth comes after several notable project wins including two student housing projects for the Nova Scotia Community College's Ivany and Pictou Campuses, Dalhousie University's new Events Centre, and two long-term care facilities in the region. The practice was named among Atlantic Canada's Top Employers in 2021 and 2022.

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George Cotaras retires after 39 years at FBM

Following a prolific career as an architect, president, and general manager of FBM, George Cotaras, celebrated his retirement earlier this month after almost four decades helping to shape Halifax’s architectural landscape.

George began his career in 1983 with FBM, becoming a Principal in 1989 and later Partner. In addition to his work with FBM, George was heavily involved with the Nova Scotia Association of Architecture throughout his career. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada in 2015.

George's proclivity for public engagement has resulted in architecture that is stitched into its community context. A believer that the human element is as important as architectural aesthetic, George championed relationship building, pride of place, and a sense of ownership among each project’s users.

Arguably his most recognizable project, the Halifax Central Library (in partnership with Schmidt Hammer Lassen in Denmark) received numerous accolades including the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, SABMag Canadian Green Building of the Year Award, and a nomination for the 'World Building of the Year' (Civic and Community category) at the World Architecture Festival. The Halifax Central Library is the result of a hugely successful participatory process led by George and others on the team. Extensive, authentic public engagement; a central, urban site; and transparent, joyful design, have positioned the library at the heart of Halifax’s city life.

From educational institutions—like Dalhousie University’s Mona Campbell Building and Citadel High School—to Halifax landmarks like the new Queen’s Marque (with MLSA as design architect), George’s legacy is far-reaching and will undoubtedly live on through the many architects he has helped mentor over nearly four decades.

George— we wish you the best in retirement, though we know that for you "retirement" is just a word, not a state of mind.

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FBM Design Director receives Platinum Jubilee Medal

Architect and Design Principal, Susan Fitzgerald, is an inaugural recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. The medal honours Nova Scotians who have made significant contributions to their field and community in Canada. Susan joins Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer for the province of Nova Scotia, Bruce MacKinnon, award-winning editorial cartoonist, and Tareq Hadhad, founder and CEO, Peace By Chocolate among the first 70 medal recipients later this month. Read more

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May House: A Northern Hideaway

A new volume of contemporary rural retreats features FBM's May House among 29 other projects from renowned Canadian design firms. 'Northern Hideaways: Canadian Cottages and Cabins' celebrates holiday houses from across Canada's contemporary architectural landscape.

May House, completed in 2020, is located in Mahone Bay on Nova Scotia's popular South Shore. The home evokes a sense of prospect and refuge and quietly celebrates the simple pleasures of sunlight, fresh air, and nature.

The curated selection will be released later in June this year from The Images Publishing Group—a world-leading publisher of books on architecture, art, photography, and design. May House photography by Julian Parkinson.

Global Affairs Canada commemorative artwork revealed

In recognition of the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace (Sunday, April 24) the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Canadian Heritage revealed the design selected by the jury for the Global Affairs Canada Commemorative Artwork.

The proposed commemorative artwork by Polymetis, an artist from Toronto; James B. Lennox & Associates, landscape architecture from Ottawa; and GRC Architects, also from Ottawa, is a solar device that pays tribute to fallen Global Affairs Canada employees. It aligns their names in an infinite dialogue with the physical center of the solar system.

The jury, which included FBM Partner and Design Principal Susan Fitzgerald, received presentations from each team and considered comments from federal employees who served in Canadian missions, and the families of those who died or were injured while serving abroad.

The artwork will be built at 111 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, on the grounds of a Global Affairs Canada office building on Green Island, where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

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FBM curling sweeps the competition

The Frozen Broom Machines curling season draws to a close and the Foul Balls & Mayhem are getting warmed up for a summer of slowpitch softball.

Organized sports have been an integral part of FBM's social culture over the past several years. Each season, the activity of choice is put to an office-wide vote, and a core contingent of our staff base is joined by a weekly rotation of ball hockey, softball, soccer, and curling sometimes-enthusiasts.

Curling was such a hit that we rented out the CFB Halifax Curling Club in March for an intra-office round-robin tournament.

As the ice thaws, the squad is primed for batting practice, taking to the nearby Halifax Common to unleash mayhem... or foul balls!

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Common Roots

Common Roots Urban Farm (CRUF)is a hybrid garden and productive green space in Halifax. Its mission is “topromote healthy lifestyles and landscapes through hands-on education aboutgrowing and eating healthy food.”

CRUF began on unused greenspace adjacent to Halifax's largest hospital and grew to more than 200 community garden plots, a vegetable and flower farm, and a therapeutic garden for hospital patients, staff, and the community before relocating in 2019. Another Common Roots farm was established at the Nova Scotia Hospital in Dartmouth. Both sites are considered part of the public health infrastructure in Halifax Regional Municipality as their programs help develop positive wellbeing.

CRUF also fosters economic and social inclusion among newcomers to Canada. People such as Imelda Nduwimana, who is originally from Burundi and came to Canada five years ago via a Tanzanian refugee camp. Imelda identified the importance of the connection between culture and food at the garden. Her expertise in farming, despite different climatic conditions, has transferred much more precisely than it would for a person with a background in industrial farming.

This particular urban farming model encompasses three levels of expertise and involvement: market gardens for knowledgeable farmers to cultivate produce for retail and donations to the foodbank, community gardens for recreational use and self-provisioning, and the commons for people who are wandering through and want to sample the harvest. These everyday interactions are vital for a garden to develop knowledge transfer among the experienced, recreational, and occasional farmers and to promote the practice beyond its borders.


See Common Roots Urban Farm.

Canadian Architect Award of Merit

The future home of FBM's design studio is an experiment in mixed-use and materials. It is comprised of a three-storey open work plan, a courtyard, residential space, and a rooftop garden and upholds our values of sustainability, collaboration, and socialization. It is also shaped by a key component of the post-pandemic office—flexibility. Breakout spaces, private areas, and indoor and outdoor gathering spots balance privacy, teamwork, and serendipitous meeting.

Framed by mass timber, the studio is also a rare study of wood assemblies in Atlantic Canada, including their relationship to a reduced carbon footprint, shorter construction schedule, and occupant wellness. It reconnects to nature through the wood palette as well as by a rooftop garden for use by tenants and the community.

Of 213 professional and student submissions received for this year’s awards program, the jury selected five projects for the Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence and six projects, including Cunard Street Live/Work/Grow, for the Awards of Merit. Both standing out and fitting in, our new office aims to serve as an example of the possibilities for future projects in Atlantic Canada.

Read more about Cunard Street Live/Work/Grow in Canadian Architect.

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Planning studio earns 'Award of Excellence'

Achieving and maintaining vibrant communities is a collaborative process that is never finished, but FBM and the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities' work-to-date helping to foster Nova Scotian main streets has earned the 2021 Atlantic Planners Institute Planning Excellence Award.

The 'Nova Scotia Main Streets Initiative' is creating momentum and identifying opportunities for community-based approaches to improving Main Streets, as well as providing considerations for government strategies, programs, and policies.

The project was initiated by FBM's Planning Studio, the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities Active Transportation Committee, and Bicycle Nova Scotia under the province's Connect2 grant program. The team will present the work at the API's virtual award ceremony in early December.

The Community Mainstreets Assessment Method and Conversation Guide can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Dalhousie Fitness Centre awarded LEED Gold

The Dalhousie Fitness Centre, designed in association with MJMA (Toronto), has been certified LEED Gold. The project scored on its water efficiency, optimized energy performance, and use of renewable materials, among other sustainable features.

Opened in 2018, the university’s flagship fitness and recreation facility revitalized the existing Dalplex facility to provide its student body, as well as the South End-Halifax community, with enhanced exercise options including a high-performance training centre and multipurpose fitness studios.

In Canada and around the world, LEED is a proven and holistic path to addressing climate change, and to creating buildings that are more resource-efficient, healthy, and resilient. The 57,000-square-foot facility marks a new era for athletics at the university and delivers on Dalhousie's enhanced sustainability mandate.

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Design Discussions: stories from six houses

Private homes are a relatively new endeavour in FBM’s 104-year-old history. Under the direction of design principal, Susan Fitzgerald, FBM has come to be recognized for elegant, context-rich designs that demonstrate a profound relationship with both the landscape and owner.

May House, House in Scotch Cove, and Freda’s Point Residence are three distinctive designs completed within the past five years. All share the simple idea of progression and choreography within a rural setting, and each home reflects client-driven values; the May House owes its expansive views to sailing traditions, House at Scotch Cove makes room for multigenerational activities, and Freda’s Point Residence shares the same attention to precision and layered detail as its ophthalmologist-owner. All are rooted in their owners’ stories as much as Nova Scotia’s bucolic coastal backdrops.

FBM’s urban residential designs consider context in a different way—how cities and people evolve. Bridgeview House, Fuller Terrace, and King Street Live-Work-Grow, are essays in living, working, and dwelling within the density of a budding metropolis. Bridgeview House is a modern aesthetic built with traditional materials and nestled into a four-storey ravine. Preserving the natural vegetation and rock outcroppings of the site lends the design to uncommon privacy within the city. Fuller Terrance explores a piano nobile and carriage house within the vernacular of a turn-of-the-century neighbourhood. The design allows for mixed uses and additional housing on a dense city lot. King Street Live-Work-Grow reimages a deep, narrow parcel in a neglected part of the city to create a new, mixed-use urban typology filled with productive green space that is shared between neighbours.

Homes are one of the truest reflections of self. Though driven in part by physical context and conditions, FBM centers the narrative of each home on the traditions and rituals of the inhabitants to create spaces that are built beyond form to respond to everyday life.

Marine Drive Academy featured in Canadian Architect

Marine Drive Academy, FBM’s latest education project, is featured in the September issue of Canadian Architect magazine. The design is the latest in the education portfolio of FBM Design Principal and Accredited Learning Environment Planner, Susan Fitzgerald, and her team who have completed more than a dozen public school projects since 2006.

Opened in August 2020, Marine Drive Academy’s thoughtful design derives from assiduous engagement with its student body. The region’s rural culture and economy are woven into the program through the celebration of Maker Spaces to support a variety of pedagogies and adaptive spaces.

A short video interview by Lake William films also profiles the story behind Marine Drive Academy.

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Announcing the passing of Wayne Duncan

We are saddened by the passing of Wayne Duncan, former Principal at FBM.

Wayne graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture from the former Nova Scotia Technical College (now Dalhousie University) in 1980. Wayne spent 39 years with FBM before his retirement in 2019.

Wayne was responsible for detailing FBM’s architectural designs and mentoring early-career architects and technical personnel on many complex, large-scale projects. FBM’s strong industry reputation for quality is due in part to Wayne’s assiduous attention to detail and dedication to the betterment of the built environment. His legacy lives on in the many projects he helped create including the Halifax Central Library, Queen’s Marque, the Mona Campbell Building at Dalhousie, the William D. Finn Centre for Forensic Medicine, Halifax Citadel High School, and the IWK Hospital.

His impact at FBM is felt by staff, including Principals Susan Fitzgerald and Craig Davidson, FBM President and former schoolmate, George Cotaras, and the many young professionals who have learned from Wayne’s affable and consistent managerial style.

A donation in Wayne’s honour has been made to the Canadian Cancer Society and the SPCA for his many four-legged companions.

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Architect, Greg Fry, becomes an RHFAC™ Professional

In Nova Scotia, 30% of those 15 and older have at least one disability. To enhance our approach to accessibility and inclusive design, lead architect Greg Fry completed the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) program and is now qualified to conduct RHFAC Ratings.

Understanding that the smallest details of barrier-free design can mean ease, dignity, and full living for users, Greg has brought accessible design principles to FBM’s work for years, including overseeing enhancements at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport—the first RHF Accessibility Certified Gold building in Nova Scotia.

With this designation, Greg and FBM will continue to be leaders in designing safe, inclusive, and accessible spaces for all.

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Design Discussions: lobster tales

In the fall, FBM began designing office and warehouse space for international lobster exporters, First Catch Fisheries Ltd., within the newly expanded cargo network of Halifax’s international airport. The nature of office space adjacent to a 2,030 m2 seafood export operation requires precise detailing of environmental conditions and presents logistical challenges like controlling temperature differentials, high humidity, and saltwater damage.

The primary goal of any food export is quality. To keep lobsters healthy from harvest and throughout transport, a saltwater “shower” mimics their natural ocean environment and clears away debris. HIA’s landlocked facility necessitated a closed shower system designed by Florida-based Aquatech in collaboration with FBM’s engineering consultant, CBCL Limited. This 2,000 GPM (gallons per minute) shower also creates a requirement for a water-safe, salt-proof floor coating. Sloped floors and a collection trench are incorporated into the warehouse design. A new product packing method virtually eliminates dripping water from the warehouse and storage area floors and airplane cargo holds.

Humidity and condensation due to the fluctuating ambient temperatures and cold storage spaces posed additional challenges that were addressed by treating the 2-4°C refrigerated warehouse as several self-contained walk-in coolers. This cooler-room approach will help First Catch’s corporate offices, located just above the shower room, remain warm and comfortable. Through investigation, research and consultation, this unique facility will adapt a basic warehouse to play a considerable role in lobster exports—a major contributor to Nova Scotia’s economy.

Design Discussions: documenting main street

Main streets are arguably the heart of rural communities’ social and transportation infrastructures. Concentrations of commercial and day-to-day activities—banking, shopping, personal services, trips to the library—orbit around these smaller, older, secondary highway roads. But these community main streets tend to have lost their way as cohesive-feeling places and lack the physical and social accessibility for much of Nova Scotia's population.

The FBM Planning Studio and its partners have been elevating the conversation around main streets toward helping define and rediscover their social, cultural, and economic value. A report, the Nova Scotia Main Street Initiative Community Workbook, is the result of months of research and hands-on study. The 72-page Community Workbook provides principles, approaches, and policy considerations to foster vibrant Main Streets throughout Nova Scotia.

Now in its second phase, the initiative has identified new community partners, engaging residents and businesses to investigate the potential for main street ideas and improvements.

FBM and its partners are also developing a main street “readiness report card.” The checklist contains criteria to help communities understand and identify feasible enhancements to their main streets, and that can improve safety and mobility, and resulting economic vitality.

Photo Credits: Ben Muldow

Richmond Yards: reintegration into the urban fabric of Halifax

Formerly an urban 'superblock' that was hard to get around and with no green space, Richmond Yards understands its surrounding context as a rich mosaic of people and buildings in Halifax's North End community.

The site benefits from being near the intersection of two of the peninsula's major transportation routes. Its prominent location presents an opportunity to create a cultural destination with improved connectivity and permeability through the site.

A series of public engagement sessions informed the design focus to provide a pedestrian realm, as well as public and green space.

King Square is a hardscaped plaza that can be used as surface parking and at other times as event space, while Clifton Green is an urban 'pocket park' and green space for all.

Residential, commercial, small businesses, light industrial, restaurants, and gyms all find places in the different typologies.

The mixed-use proposal consists of five building elements on a shared underground parking podium; a bike shop and storage building; two outdoor gathering spaces at grade; and two useable podium spaces at the third level.

One of HRM’s planning goals was improving connectivity on the peninsula and integrating this new development into the grid system. This design concept is realized through a portion of the property along Almon Street that was carved off to make space for HRM’s protected bike lane.

King Street, Clifton Street, and a third road all extend through the site. This is a shared street concept that will be used for pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles.

Dedicated pedestrian connections in the east-west direction aim for a future connection from Clifton Green going to Gladstone Street, further improving the connectedness of the site.

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FBM recognized among Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers

FBM is pleased to be recognized among Canada's Top Small and Medium Employers (SME), part of a national competition that identifies the nation's best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies.

Canada's small and medium businesses are responsible for over half of the nation's gross domestic product, over 90% of the private-sector labour force, and over 95% of new jobs created in the last decade. The competition states that companies have not only shown persistence and agility, but also compassion in the face of a global pandemic. FBM's health benefits package, flexible work options, and pandemic response, in particular, put employees first.

The national competition is limited to private-sector commercial organizations with under 500 employees. Employers are evaluated using the same criteria as the national competition including physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

Earlier this year, FBM was also among the awardees of Atlantic Canada's Top Employers 2021.

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Jurors select teams to move on in the design competition for new commemorative artwork in Ottawa

The Government of Canada today announced a short list of teams who have qualified to prepare design proposals for the Global Affairs Canada Commemorative Artwork. The piece recognizes employees and families of Global Affairs Canada working in diplomatic missions abroad.

Four teams have been short listed by jurors Dr. Susan Fitzgerald, architect and FBM design principal; Serge Belet, senior exhibitions manager at the National Gallery of Canada; Michel Desloges, retired Canadian diplomat and representative of families of the fallen; Dr. Penny Reedie, board member and chair of programming and events, Retired Heads of Mission Association (RHOMA); and, Dr. Karen Wilson Baptist, associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Manitoba.

Teams of professional artists, landscape architects, architects and other design professionals were invited to submit their portfolios in December 2020.

The final design will be integrated into the landscape and architectural setting of the lawn area south-west of 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa's former City Hall.

Teams will have until October 2021 to submit their design concepts. The winning design will be announced in early 2022 and is scheduled for completion in 2024.

Government of Canada press release 2021-03-31

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House at Indian Point nominated for Building of the Year

House at Indian Point is up for an ArchDaily Building of the Year 2021 award!

ArchDaily readers selected five residential projects out of thousands of submissions. Designs are short-listed for their beauty, intellegence, creativity, or service to the community.

Designed to be "in" the landscape, House at Indian Point elegantly choreographs its site on the shore of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, negotiating a gentle grade, and providing both prospect and refuge through connected indoor and outdoor dwelling spaces.

Nominations are now closed.

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Cabot Cliffs Residences break ground

Contractors broke ground this week at the site of eight new luxury homes designed for Cabot Links’ sister course, Cabot Cliffs.

The 3,000-square-foot dwellings cluster discreet living and bedroom 'pods' in four playful configurations to form a village overlooking the Links.

Architect, Susan Fitzgerald, chose vernacular and materials that respect the landscape and underscore the idea that a large house can still feel like an airy seaside cottage.

Gabled roof and cedar-clad forms, locally sourced-brick fireplaces, and open living spaces give the homes a contemporary, but timeless edge.

Expansive glazing and sliding doors open up to refreshing ocean breezes and intimate patios framed by the pavilions.

Already an internationally recognized golf destination, the Residences add another layer to the multi-dimensional courses, with more amenities planned for the future.

FBM also designed Cabot Links' Pro Shop, Halfway Hut, and the Cabot Links Lodge, which has received national acclaim for its design and material use.

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FBM earns 'Canada's Top Employers' award

FBM is the latest organization to earn a spot among Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers. It’s the first time FBM has won such an award, and the first Halifax-based architecture firm to receive the award thanks, in part, to progressive policies implemented or expanded during the firm’s 2017 rebrand.

“One of the biggest challenges this year was adapting to the changes in our workplace and lifestyle. We’re pleased to be recognized for the commitment we’ve made to our staff; we’re very proud of this milestone in the success of FBM," says Craig Davidson, FBM Finance Principal.

Increased parental leave, referral bonuses and flexible work weeks are just some of the practices FBM has adopted in the past three years. Currently, 48 full-time architects, interior designers, planners and support personnel working on such projects as Richmond Yards, Cabot Cliffs, and the new Marine Drive Academy P-12 school in Sheet Harbour, which opened in September.

“Much of our work focuses on public interest design—an approach that considers our work in the broader community socially and ecologically. ‘People driven design’ refers both to that design intention and the culture of valuing and fostering the talent within our own walls,” adds Susan Fitzgerald, Architect and FBM Design Principal.

Editors at MediaCorp grade employers on eight criteria, which have remained consistent since the project's inception: (1) Physical Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time-Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement.

Since 1999, the Toronto-based publisher has managed the Canada's Top 100 Employers project, which includes 18 regional and special-interest editorial competitions that reach over 15-million Canadians annually through a variety of magazine and newspaper partners, including Atlantic Business Magazine.


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FBM is always open to receiving resumes from creative and qualified individuals. We are proud to be recognized among Canada’s Top Employers since 2021.


About Us