The School Chair

Painted Aluminum
Greenvale Lofts
Dartmouth Nova Scotia

Dexel Developments began transforming the school into a residential building in 1999. The inclusion of public art on the site was realized through the partnership of Dexel Developments Ltd. and the Halifax Regional Municipality.
3.5m x 3m x 4.6m

Greenvale School, built on the site of a former school lost to fire, opened its doors in 1915. The building survived the 1917 Halifax Explosion with little damage and served as an infirmary, morgue, and place of refuge for many area residents who had been left homeless by the disaster. Many of Dartmouth’s residents have been educated in this building, and it has the distinction of having housed Canada’s first kindergarten class. In 1934 the building gained the honour of being Dartmouth’s first high school before reverting back to its original function as an elementary school in 1980. The school closed in 1987.

Designed in the Beaux-Arts style by local architect Andrew Cobb, the building has become a landmark in downtown Dartmouth. Uncommon to the area, it was built with brick rather than the more traditional wood frame and cladding. With its hipped roof, classically inspired entrances, and the stepped massing that accommodates the slope of the land, the building combines several different architectural languages. This tendency to combine elements is a characteristic of the architect and his work, and of the Beaux Arts Revival School of the late 19th and early 20th century.

The public art installation, School Chair, is a marker of scholastic activity and reflects upon the legacy of the Greenvale School. The sculpture creates a sense of continuity between the past and present by referencing a range of historical and contemporary designs for school chairs.

Ilan Sandler 2013