Port Greville

Age of Sail Heritage Centre architect receives award

PORT GREVILLE – At a prestigious ceremony in Government House in Halifax on March 2, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, J. James Kinley, presented the medal of excellence for architecture to Robert Parker Associates. The Halifax-based architectural firm were the architects for the recently completed Age of Sail Heritage Centre in Port Greville.

Robert Parker, president of the firm and a prominent architect in the province received the award on behalf of his company.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Ross Colins, president of the Port Greville Ship Building Society, Conrad Byers, curator for the society and Norman Rafuse, president of Rafes Construction and his wile.

Rafes Construction of Parrsboro, was the contractor for the centre. As builders, they are gaining a solid reputation for their work on restoring and adapting old buildings for new uses throughout Cumberland County. Mr. Parker complemented the contractors saying their work on the centre was outstanding. The sense of craft which they brought to the project was one of the factors contributing to the success of the project.

Copies of the award were also given to the Port Greville Shipbuilding Society and Rafes Construction by Robert Parker at the Government House ceremony. Mr. Parker said that many individuals contributed untold hours, energy and years of commitment to make the project come a reality and without the efforts from his client and the builder, the project would never have happened.

Architects provide the sensitivity for the design in a project, he said, but this project also represented the best of collective community spirit and for him is the one of all their firm’s recent architectural projects of which he is most proud.

The Lieutenant Governor’s award for architecture program is sponsored by the Nova Scotia Association of Architects within the province. The award’s program has been in existence since 1987 and is considered the most prestigious awards program in the province. Each year, architects throughout the province submit projects to a professional jury made up of their peers for adjudication.

This year, the jury singled out a number of projects for awards which dealt with restoration and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. The jury in the case of the Age of Sail Heritage Centre stated: “This is a composition of three building elements which creates a context for the project. The expression is very unaffected and very striking at the same time. The axis of the Heritage Centre and the pier create a meaningful hierarchy, while the picket fence denotes an edge and sense of place for the project.

“Design restraint, in combination with a careful selection of detailing, has made a sensitive, understated building which has been accepted in the town. We feel this combination of restoration and new-built form will rekindle an awareness in an appreciated indigenous building.”

Mr. Parker noted that the third building in the complex, a tea room and gilt shop, which is to be located on one side of the entry courtyard will complete the first phase of the project.

The Society is currently working to secure funding to make it happen in time for the upcoming tourist season. Later phases of the project which the Society hopes to under take will see the replication of an early ship building process, a carpenter and blacksmith shop erected on the original shipbuilding site at river’s edge in front of the centre.

At the Government House ceremony, Robert Parker Associates also received an Award of Merit for the design and restoration of the Jonathan McCully House in Halifax, for new offices of Salter Street Films. McCully was a Father of Confederation and the House on North Brunswick Street in Halifax is a registered Heritage Property of national significance.

All of the projects which received awards for architecture under the Lieutenant Governor’s program are featured in an exhibition entitled “Something Old Something New” at the Mary E. Black Gallery at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design in Halifax.

The exhibition also features an exciting and visually stimulating exhibit on the Saint George’s Church in Halifax, which burned down last year and is currently undergoing an extensive restoration program.

The exhibition runs from Feb. 23 to March 18 and is open six days a week. For those interested in heritage architecture the show is must to see.

(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, March 11, 1995, Page 3 – Age of Sail Heritage Centre architect receives award)

Link to Age of Sail Centre