Every fast-growing small town wants a landmark building...some type of central and highly visible structure that defines its regional position, prosperity and hopes for the future. In 2004, the town of Port Hawkesbury had reached that “coming of age”.

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Mid-west schools take their athletics seriously. Kirkwood Community College is no exception, with their varsity basketball and volleyball teams winning four national titles over the past decade.

In planning a new recreation center to serve both the college and the local community, it was clear that its design would need to please a demanding group of users. The architects at Neumann Monson in Iowa City eagerly took up the challenge.

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It is no secret that retrofits can pose some very unique issues for design teams.

Sydney Academy, a high school serving some 800 students in Sydney, Nova Scotia, was originally built in 1959, using glass block as a major feature of the building envelope. The glass block, integrated with small vision glass units, worked well for daylighting purposes and was an excellent choice for a translucent glazing in its day.

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It’s not easy to break with tradition in one of the older settlements in North America. But when a new grade school was being planned in Sydney, Nova Scotia to replace a well-worn complex of buildings, the key stakeholders involved decided to do exactly that. The resulting new facility incorporates not only new electronic building controls and teaching equipment, but an entirely new approach to harvesting daylight in the classroom.

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It’s not every day that one gets to design a circus school. There are only four in the world.

Robert Magne, principal at Lapointe Magne et Associés, won that privilege in 2001 when his firm was commissioned by École Nationale de Cirque to create an entirely new, purpose-built facility. One look at the new structure makes it evident that he intended to have the building itself proclaim its role in the community.

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