Leave Out Violence (LOVe) Halifax

In 2011, we began working with Alec Brown on an ambitious relocation to a new leasehold space intended to be a long-term answer to our specific and unique spatial requirements. The new premises include a large workshop space, a communal kitchen and eating area, dedicated “chill-out” spaces, and offices. We required a design that is both open and secure, welcoming and controllable, and above all one which our youth, who may react negatively to more typical institutional environments, embrace as their own. We also asked that the design be a dynamic and impressive statement of our ethos and our presence in the community, in order to itself be a vehicle for ongoing successful fundraising.

My first meeting with Alec was almost two hours long, and all he wanted to know about was the nature of our work and the people we serve. He was interested in a complete picture of what our work was here at LOVE. It wasn’t until he felt he had a strong foundation in our work that he could start talking about the space and our office needs. He has been accessible to us at all times, and anything I’ve asked of him has been done in the timeframe he said it would be done in. He has advised us in matters that I believe to be beyond the scope of his role as an architect.

In meeting with our staff and many of our users, listening, and working very hard through evolving design ideas, Alec has brought us all to a point where we feel thrilled by the final design. He had a wonderful ability to coalesce our own random requirements and concerns into clear architectural ideas which were more functional and accommodating than we had thought possible. The final design, which is currently finishing construction, is clear, airy, and marvelous. We cannot wait to move in!

Alec and Jane have shown a real sensitivity to the role of LOVE in the community, and the youth it serves. They have always been responsive and professional. At the same time, it feels like they have demonstrated how much potential there is to develop great, uplifting architecture in all kinds of contexts. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

Sarah MacLaren, Executive Director


Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal

I can recommend Jane Abbott based on my experience with her work on past projects. During the last two years I have worked with Ms. Abbott on a new school and community building in Bedford, Nova Scotia. One of the projects was the new Bedford High School, which featured a complex building programme and a project budget of over $48,000,000, combining a large new high school with a community center for Halifax Regional Municipality including two gymnasiums, a performance/cafeteria space and an artificial turf football field. The building has many sustainable/”green” features and is targeting LEED Gold level of certification. Another project was the new Bluenose Academy in Lunenburg, which amalgamated several middle schools in the region into a new facility into the fabric of the town, respecting both contemporary design trends and respecting the heritage and cultural ties of the school to this UNESCO community.

Ms Abbott was a noteworthy architect in the design effort for both projects and integrated and co-ordinated Civil, Landscaping, Mechanical and Electrical professional team members with the school stakeholders, parent representatives and the teaching staff. She was instrumental to the resolution of the many complex programming relationships in the design brief, and also the equally challenging community and heritage aspects of both facilities. Whether the problems faced were technical or as a result of the interface with the stakeholders, Ms. Abbott searched for better solutions and was proactive, rather than reactive. I was particularly impressed with her response time as issues and problems arose — she understands that, to a professional architect, the client comes first. I would be pleased to see Jane’s name associated with any of my future projects.

T.E. Smith-Lamonthe,  Senior Architect


The HUB Halifax

When we met with Alec we were impressed with his experience and understanding of design, particularly in transforming older, historic properties into modern spaces. Alec helped us create a modern looking space whilst maintaining the character and charm of the heritage property. To date we constantly receive positive feedback about maintaining the balance of old and new. This is much to Alec’s credit.

Alec was responsive, communicative and open minded while also ensuring he provided strong design advice supported by his experience
We were able to meet our aggressive timeline and budgetary goals for this project. For us, each day we spent renovating and closed was a day lost of potential business. Alec was able to respond to our changing needs in a very timely manner. We held several meetings with Alec, hosed an open design charrette to include members of the community as well as worked through building code requirements and anticipated ergonomic needs of the users in the space. Alec was responsive, communicative and open minded while also ensuring he provided strong design advice supported by his experience.

The product of his input continues to bring many happy customers into our business for an inspired work experience. We were recently awarded Silver in the category of New Business of the Year through the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. We certainly credit some of our success to the quality of design and advice provided by Alec during our formation. I feel confident in recommending him for projects that require an inspired and practical approach, it has been a pleasure to work with him on the Hub.

Tracy Boyer, Co-Owner, the HUB Halifax


 City of Halifax

I am pleased to recommend Abbott Brown Architects without reservation. Abbott Brown Architects have been working with the Halifax Regional Municipality on renovations to the Dartmouth Ferry Terminal from 2013- 2014. This is a renovation of both a public space and conversion of new office spaces. It is a complex project that involves many stakeholders: HRM, Metro Transit and consideration of the public uses of the space.

In the early Design stages Abbott Brown Architect involved the stakeholders in all design decisions and presented thoughtful consideration to the needs of these user groups in the development of the design. Abbott Brown Architects has an excellent knowledge of best practice for renovations especially with respect to building additions to existing building infrastructure.

Throughout the construction process Jane Abbott has been integral to sorting through the complex renovation issues that arise on site, coordinating the sub consultants and ensuring the project stays as close to schedule as possible. All the Construction Administration flows through Abbott Brown Architects which has ensured excellent and timely progress of work on site. The timely response of ABA to issues as they arise, has helped the construction budget as it avoids any added cost for construction delays.

Bogdan Hadlaw, Project Manager


Annapolis Community Arts Council

As Vice-Chair of the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council, I have had the honor of working with Alec for the past two years. Throughout that time, Alec has consistently demonstrated a passion for the arts and an understanding of the needs of our arts community.

Alec first established his reputation as a dedicated and skilled professional, when he worked with the Arts Council Board in 2008. He has continued to maintain that reputation and is highly respected by the members of our arts community. As a Board, we greatly appreciate Alec’s ability to be both creative and insightful. He is able to interpret what we feel we need, balance our financial constraints and magically produce a viable and innovative plan.

Alec has guided us through several projects which have involved reconfiguring spaces inside and outside of our aging building, known as ARTS PLACE. Those projects have gone on to be successful, largely due to the plans which he has developed for us. Alec has a personal manner and is very approachable, responsive and supportive. We continue to be impressed by his positive energy, his motivation, his patience and his unwavering enthusiasm.

We are looking forward to continuing our work with Alec as we forge ahead with ongoing projects at ARTs PLACE. In closing, based on my experience as a former administrator and based on my work with Alec, I would unreservedly recommend Alec for any design or consultation position or project.

Heather McCormick, vice-chair, Annapolis Community Arts Council