New building for RCMP’s Nova Scotia Divisional Headquarters attains LEED Gold

The Government of Canada RCMP Building—the RCMP’s Nova Scotia Divisional Headquarters—is located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in the Burnside Industrial Park. It has recently attained LEED Gold status with features such as rainwater harvesting, daylight harvesting, maximizing recycling of construction waste, use of recycled materials, high-efficiency mechanical systems, use of recycled and local materials, and building durability.

Once-scattered operations in separate buildings now operate under a single state-of-the-art facility and serve all their operations throughout Nova Scotia and, in some instances, throughout Atlantic Canada. Main collaborators Lydon Lynch/DIALOG worked together to design a facility that would accommodate all 500 personnel with room for their future strategies of expansion.

“Only through the design collaboration with DIALOG and the support of Public Works Canada could we have achieved such a marvellous building that not only met the project objectives, but transformed how the RCMP can serve the region,” Said Eugene Pieczonka, Principal Architect at Lydon Lynch.

The facility is designed to respect the image and traditions of the RCMP while also acknowledging their innovation as a police force. The main building forms an arc, which frames the site and creates unique external and internal expressions. The outside of the arc portrays a protective shell that is expressed through a traditional yet contemporary use of granite, brick and stacked windows. External sunshades form part of the LEED strategies while adding a textural quality to the window patterns which change in scale and rhythm as they move up the façade. The interior of the arc is entirely of glass, symbolic of an accessible and accountable police force that is modern and innovative.

Internally, the building is organized around a central communicating stair. Formed from white concrete, the stair runs along a wall clad in local Wallace sandstone, and appears to float within the space while providing staff a place of social interaction.

The cafeteria and officers messes are located on the top floor with panoramic views of the nearby lake and Halifax Harbour beyond, providing a sense of connectedness with the region served by the RCMP.  An outdoor terrace is protected by a large cantilevered canopy that forms an integral part of the architectural composition.

“The RCMP H Division project has been a very successful collaboration between all participants which was a long time coming. The project began in 2003 and was almost 10 years in the making, and no one on the team lost focus or interest in the end goal. That being a highly functional, highly sustainable, beautiful building that is truly making a difference in policing for the RCMP,” said Rob Adamson, Principal Architect, DIALOG Calgary.

The project produced a decade-long friendship between the two firms, collaboration and design intelligence. They had to incorporate the Government of Canada’s new security standards in response to the attacks of 9/11. They were also one of the first Government of Canada buildings to adopt the original Workplace 2.0 Fit-Up Standards.

“It was exciting for the design team to be able to combine nine RCMP functions that had previously been scattered throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality and group them under one roof where they could more easily work together using new government Workplace Guidelines for connectivity and employee comfort,” said Jim Goodwin, Principal Architect at DIALOG Calgary. “It was also the first Government of Canada building designed after 9/11 which led us to implement the latest security considerations. “

The Government of Canada RCMP Building was one of the first Government of Canada buildings to implement the new PWGSC Workplace Guidelines that looked to modernizing and standardizing office areas and introducing workplace standards that support the well-being and productivity of employees and relate to new technology directions.