Project Report Argyle Street Halifax
Developing the city center.
When a construction project puts people and their needs first, miracles can happen. With the redevelopment of Argyle Street, this major hub in the city center of Halifax is finally living up to its full potential. But this lavish new plaza-style streetscape is not just about looks. It easily meets all requirements of modern construction when it comes to functionality.
Why Argyle Street of all places?
Bustling Argyle Street provides the setting for around 2,000 events each year, making it a major destination in the Canadian coastal city. Many of the city’s activities take place around Argyle Street and its countless restaurants and cafés: theater performances, live music, DJ gigs and much more. Argyle Street has also become a major connecting road in central Halifax.
Many ideas for the big picture.
Because of Argyle Street’s key role for the city, the municipality has sought the cooperation of as many business people as possible. The redevelopment is based on the efforts of architects, the local economic commission and store owners to combine these ideas with public design sessions and consultations with further interest groups.
It is all the more impressive that all of these different interests have been accommodated. The new Argyle Street is no blurred compromise, but an outcome to satisfy everyone. At the People’s Choice Award for Best Urban Street Transformation, the project made it to 2nd place, competing with streets from all over North America.
People matter more than vehicles.
The minimalist yet inviting plaza-style streetscape with large-sized paving stones is an immediate eye-catcher. Argyle Street has become more spacious, offering locals and visitors more room and an excuse to stay a while and explore. It is the first Canadian street to boast all-year-round patios left and right of the road. Until now, these constantly had to be re-erected and dismantled by the traders themselves. A great concept, considering that eateries are by far the largest segment here (95%).
The spacious visual effect is highlighted by alterations in the flow of traffic – motorists are allowed to pass through Argyle Street, but are obliged to respect pedestrians. The parking spaces have been removed. All that remains are some road markings for delivery vehicles, allowing them to make brief stops. The additional space meets the legal requirements for the border between the road and the restaurants. Benches and trees now take the spot of temporary barriers, making a visit to Argyle Street all the more pleasant.
At second glance, one cannot fail to notice the details revealing the influence, innovation and demand for quality by those involved in the redevelopment. Security, for example, is improved by contrasting ground color schemes, giving visually impaired people better orientation, or tactile warning strips that have replaced the original curb. The partial canopies with strings of light that can be retracted at the touch of a button are a particular highlight at night. What is more, the road surface now bears the eponymous Argyle pattern – a long overdue esthetic statement.
Devin Segal from the architecture and design studio ekistics plan + design was in charge of the project as a landscape architect and technical consultant. He draws attention to the high degree of autonomy granted by the municipality..
This has definitely led to good results. The high quality of material is visible throughout and contributes to the overall picture.
Highly advantageous drainage.
When ekistics plan + design suggested drainage improvement using FILCOTEN® pro, the service and maintenance officials were quickly convinced. The cast-iron drainage channels are fastened with cage nuts, allowing easy replacement and ensuring durability in the event of damage – an important feature of the nearly 300-meter-long drainage system. Furthermore, ecological considerations also played a part in the contract. From manufacture to assembly, FILCOTEN® is a particularly environmentally-friendly material, free of toxic substances, long-lasting and 100 % recyclable. Its light weight makes transporting and assembly very economical.
To cope with the mix of vehicles and pedestrians, Load Class E 600 grates were used. The decision to use FILCOTEN® pro takes the region’s extreme weather into consideration. In the autumn and winter, the coastal city experiences sudden changes not only with snow, rain and thaw, but also significant alterations in temperature. Thanks to its nominal width of 200 mm, the drainage channel system is able to collect and drain away the increased volume of rainwater. FILCOTEN® drainage channels remain intact even when temperatures vary greatly.
A street to meet everyone’s needs.
The redevelopment of Argyle Street is set to improve the city life of Halifax, satisfying the community’s need for functional architecture. Now that the drainage system has proved its worth during the cold season, we will have to wait until the spring and summer to see how the new Argyle Street revitalizes the busy city center. Many thanks to our partner Soleno and to the City of Halifax, who have allowed us to participate in this project, and to Devin Segal of ekistics plan + design for his help in creating this article.
For those of you who will not have the opportunity to visit the Canadian coastal city any time soon, we recommend this video about the Argyle Street project by the City of Halifax.