Nova Scotia Technical College was founded in 1907. In 1909 it moved into a new building on the south side of Spring Garden Road at Brunswick Street, designed by Herbert Gates.
Following World War II, the college became a wholly university-level institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. The campus expanded to include new buildings, primarily during the 1950s and 1960s.
The School of Architecture was established within the Nova Scotia Technical College in 1961, sharing the building on Spring Garden Road with the Nova Scotia Museum of Science. During the 1960s the professional architecture program started, consisting of two years of engineering at one of seven Maritime universities, followed by four years at the School of Architecture, leading to a Bachelor of Architecture degree. In 1969 the engineering prerequisite was changed to two years in any university subject.
In 1970 the science museum moved out, the School of Architecture took over the entire building, and the trimester system and co-op work term program were initiated. In 1973 the architecture portion of the professional program included a two-year pre-professional degree (later called Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies) and a two-year professional Bachelor of Architecture degree. The BArch program was validated by the Commonwealth Association of Architects and a one-year, post-professional Master of Architecture program was first offered. In 1976 the Faculty of Architecture was established, with the School of Architecture continuing as a constituent part of the Faculty. The main floor of the building was renovated, including the addition of a mezzanine for faculty offices. The Master of Urban and Rural Planning program was first offered in 1977. In 1978 the Department of Urban and Rural Planning was established within the Faculty of Architecture. It became a School of Planning in 2001.
Nova Scotia Technical College
Technical University of Nova Scotia
In 1980 the Nova Scotia Technical College became the Technical University of Nova Scotia. During the early 1980s the studio level was renovated and mezzanines were added. In the mid-1980s the professional program was transformed, leading to a two-year Master of Architecture (First Professional) degree with a thesis component. The School began to participate in overseas activities with the International Laboratory for Architecture and Urban Design (ILAUD). External adjuncts and examiners from various countries and fields were appointed. In the late 1980s the Faculty opened a publishing department, Tuns Press, to produce architecture and planning publications. An arrangement with Apple Canada introduced an initial fleet of computers for student use. In 1989 a one-year, non-professional Master of Environmental Design Studies degree was first offered.
In 1993, following an international design competition, the first phase of a new addition designed by Brian MacKay-Lyons was built in the rear courtyard of the existing building. In a second phase in 2002, upper floors for studios were added inside the addition.
In 1994 the School's professional architecture program became the first in Canada to receive full accreditation from the Canadian Architectural Certification Board. Full accreditation was granted again in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2015, and 2022. In 1997, a decision by the Nova Scotia government to amalgamate universities led the three faculties of the Technical University of Nova Scotia (Architecture, Engineering, and a new Faculty of Computer Science) to become part of Dalhousie University.
The directors of the School of Architecture have been: Douglas Shadbolt (1961–68), Vladimir Lyman (1968–70), and Peter Manning (1970–76). Since the Faculty of Architecture was established, the deans have been Peter Manning (1976–81), Essy Baniassad (1981–94), Frank Palermo (1994–96), J. Grant Wanzel (1996–97), Thomas Emodi (1997–2003), J. Grant Wanzel (2003–08), Christine Macy (2008–19), Joseli Macedo (2019–20), John Newhook (Acting Dean, 2020–21), and Graham Gagnon (2021–present). Since 2000, when the dean/director position was divided, the directors of the School of Architecture have been Jacques Rousseau (2000–02), Steven Mannell (2002–05), Christine Macy (Acting Director 2005–06), Terrance Galvin (2007–09), Richard Kroeker (Acting Director 2010–11), Diogo Burnay (2012–2022), and James Forren (2022–present). The directors of the School of Planning have been Michael Poulton (2001), Jill Grant (2002–08), Susan Guppy (2008–12), Andy Fillmore (2012–13), Jill Grant (Acting Director 2013), Patricia Manuel (2014–18), and Ahsan Habib (2019–present).