Since 1991 the School of Architecture has conducted design-build labs during the last two weeks in July. They are supervised by faculty members or sessional instructors and involve BEDS and MArch students directly in issues of construction, performance, and material for design. Many of the free lab projects are described in Free Lab: Design-Build Projects from the School of Architecture, Dalhousie University, 1991–2006, a 120-page book available from Dalhousie Architectural Press.
Projects typically include small buildings, landscape installations, films, and performances. Some projects are constructed on the grounds of the university's Sexton Campus. Others are located elsewhere in Halifax and beyond: Kingsburg, Annapolis Valley, Cape Breton Island, Newfoundland, Québec, Saskatchewan, Botswana, and India. The construction of these design-build projects is often a notable public event in downtown Halifax and other communities, raising public awareness of architecture and community involvement.