SmackDown in the Foyer

Last evening we were in Chapter House, the apartment building beside the Cathedral  on the corner of University and Martello. Noticed in the entrance a big compass rose in ceramic tile with an inlaid  monogram.    Nice to see the extra effort.  So many commercial foyers are so blah.


It reminded me of the wonderful design and craftsmanship that used to go into terrazzo floors in the middle of the last century. One of the best examples we have is another compass rose in the foyer of the old Maritime Life Building at the corner of Queen and Spring Garden.

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Wonderful colour, detail and design.  And from a compass point of view it actually indicates north and has 32 points.  The Chapter House compass indicates the direction to the elevator and has 8 points.

And monograms; have you ever noticed the terrazzo monogram for Peoples Credit Jewelers on the corner of Barrington and Blowers (formerly Carsand Mosher  and North Face)?  More great terrazzo quality that has survived outdoors for decades.


In the Art Deco district of  Miami Beach terrazzo is one of the defining materials of the style and it is celebrated as part of their architectural heritage.  Be on the look out for more examples in Halifax- there are discoveries to be made.   And also celebrate when contemporary developers make an  extra effort to enrich our visual landscape, 50 years from now it will look even more interesting.

About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.