The comprehensive revitalization of this over 130-year-old community landmark, a former Convent and school, has delivered a vibrant new home to visual artists, musicians, writers, arts organizations, and others driven by the desire to create, collaborate, and change the Island and the world through their art and culture.
Eltuek Arts Centre, a Mi’kmaw name meaning “we are making it together”, features 21 individual studios, a shared studio with 22 workspaces, a Café and Community Kitchen, anchor tenants like the Celtic Colours International Festival, The Coast Radio Station, a College Music Arts Program as well as a series of multi-purpose event spaces.
DTAH, in collaboration with Trifos Design Consultants, led the architecture and landscape architecture for the centre.
Sydney, Unama’ki (Cape Breton Island), NS
New Dawn Enterprises
Award of Merit – Large Building Category, Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in Architecture, Nova Scotia Association of Architects
Built Heritage Award, Heritage Trust Nova Scotia
Holy Angels Convent was founded in 1885 by the Sisters of Notre Dame and was the only all-girl educational institution east of Montreal. Over its long history, the Holy Angels Convent had undergone extensive additions and renovations, varying dramatically in construction and material quality.
When the school closed in 2011, the facility sat vacant for many years, until New Dawn Enterprises, the oldest community development corporation in Canada, purchased the site with a hope of providing affordable work and meeting spaces for artists.
“We couldn’t possibly be prouder to be associated with [DTAH and Trifos work] and to have had the privilege (and great fun) of dreaming alongside you for a few years. To be able to offer this community, which we so love, a building of great beauty and purpose, one befitting of the Island, its people, its art, and its stories, is an experience that will always take my breath away.”Erika Shea
New Dawn Enterprises
The collective vision for the renewal included the primary retention of the original structure, and the north wing of the facility, including tower, with the addition of a new stair enclosure and steel/glass terrace, as well as a two-storey ‘exterior vestibule’ at the existing tower.
The outdoor spaces are no less inviting and animated. The integrated landscape design for the Eltuek Arts Centre site along the George Street portion of the property enhances existing arrangements, with a newly defined entry drive and drop off area, a re-envisioned forecourt, which includes space and provision for public art, and an exterior gathering spot on the south lawn under the large specimen copper beech tree.
The completed project represents the success of another chapter in the ongoing, evolutionary story of the physical and cultural ‘make-up’ of this place, with renewed life and stewardship moving forward.