IDEA Project

The Emera IDEA Building on Dalhousie's Sexton Campus

Innovation and Design in Engineering and Architecture (IDEA)

Innovation enhances our lives, makes us safer, and makes our society more sustainable, all while fueling economic growth. New technologies, fresh ideas, and design-driven ingenuity are the resources that keep our country an international economic leader. That’s why the demand for highly skilled, professional, innovation workers continues to increase every year.

Dalhousie's Faculties of Engineering and Architecture have a key role to play in fostering innovation in Halifax and in driving economic growth nationally and internationally. The IDEA Project is an acknowledgement of that role and the responsibility it entails.

The IDEA Project is the largest capital investment in the Sexton Campus since the 1970s: a $64-million investment to contruct new buildings, revitalize existing infrastructure, and provide our students and faculty with the classrooms, labs, workshops, and meeting spaces they need to collaborate and innovate.

Sexton Campus has been the home of engineering training and excellence in Nova Scotia since its inception in 1907 and in architecture since 1961: a legacy bolstered by IDEA Project’s renewal. The revitalization of our downtown campus promises to inspire the next generation of highly skilled, innovative young professionals at a time of growing demand for design-driven ingenuity.

[Webmaster's note: this site has been launched to coincide with the October 10th opening of the IDEA Project buildings. As the users of the buildings occupy them and begin to utilize their facilities, this site will be regularly updated to provide images of the facilties in use and to highlight the innovative academic and commercial research taking place. Please check back regularly to see these updates.]

IDEA Project Components

The centrepiece of the IDEA Project is two new academic buildings on the Sexton Campus: the Emera IDEA Building, which houses state-of-the-art workshops, prototyping labs, and innovation studios, and the Design Building, which includes a 450-seat auditorium, a design commons and meeting rooms where students can collaborate, and studio space for the Faculty of Architecture and Planning.

The Emera IDEA Building is also home to the Emera ideaHUB, an advanced engineering incubator/accelerator space to enhance students' educational experience and foster connections between our engineering community and Halifax's entrepreneurs. Made possible by a $10-million gift from Emera, the Emera ideaHUB will play a key role in transforming Halifax into a hub of innovation in Atlantic Canada.

These two new buildings are accompanied by a variety of renovation projects that will revitalize the Sexton Campus' infrastructure:

  • the Chemical Engineering (F) Building has had its exterior renovated and its interior entirely rebuilt, while the A. E. Cameron Building has been extensively refurbished. These revitalized spaces will be the new home for our Applied Science and Process Engineering programs.
  • the Electrical Engineering (C) Building, along with the H. Theakston (C1) building, has received substantial upgrades to its research spaces. These new research spaces will form the cores of the Advanced Manufacturing Hub and the Ocean Engineering Hub.
  • the D building has undergone significant renovation to enhance its sustainability, particularly with regards to the energy efficiency of the building exterior.
  • a green corridor has been added to the exterior infrastructure of the Sexton Campus, connecting Spring Garden Road to Morris Street and encouraging active transportation.

Commitment to Sustainability and Diversity

The design of the IDEA Project represents a demonstration of the Faculty of Engineering's commitment to the ideals of sustainability and diversity.

Many of the new workspaces IDEA provides will be used to develop sustainable technologies, but the IDEA Project's contributions to sustainability begin with the buildings themselves. Designed with sustainability in mind, Sexton's new buildings and renovated spaces improve efficiency, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and support student and faculty learning and research.

Renovated space on the Sexton Campus is reserved for the Imotep's Legacy Academy to enhance their capacity for outreach programming for young people of African descent, a reflection of the Faculty's broader commitment to diversity.