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TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects

  • 00:00 - 21 June, 2011
TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects
TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects, © Maris Mezulis
© Maris Mezulis

© Maris Mezulis © Maris Mezulis © Tom Arban © Tom Arban + 23

  • Architects

  • Location

    Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Category

  • Architect

    Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects
  • Architect Of Record

    Kirkor Architects & Planners
  • Project Team

    Bruce Kuwabara, Design partner; Shirley Blumberg, Partner-in-Charge; Luigi LaRocca, Senior Associate; Matthew Wilson, Project Architect; Matt Krivosudsky, Bruno Weber, Brent Wagler, Glenn MacMullin, Andrea Macaroun, Rita Kiriakis, Lilly Liakus, Carolyn Lee, David Poloway ,Tyler Sharp, Debra Fabricus, Claudio Venier, Thom Seto, Walter Gaudet, Krista Clark, Clementine Chang, Winston Chong, Carla Munoz, Elizabeth Paden, Bill Colaco, Nicko Elliot, Norm Li.
  • Structural Engineer

    Jablonsky, Ast and Partners
  • Mechanical And Electrical Engineer

    Leipciger Kaminker Mitelman
  • Landscape Architect

    NAK Design Group
  • Lighting

    Pivotal Lighting Group
  • Signage

    Gottschalk + Ash
  • Life Safety

    Leber Rubes Inc
  • Acoustic

    Aercoustics Engineering Ltd & Valcoustics Canada Ltd.
  • A/V

    Brian Arnott Associates
  • Theater

    Peter Smith Architect Inc.
  • Wind Study

    RWDI Consulting Engineers
  • Transportation

    Marshall Macklin Monaghan
  • Cost

    Helyar & Associates
  • Area

    547000.0 ft2
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

Text description provided by the architects. The winning competition design for the Bell Lightbox and Festival Tower was conceived on an epic scale to create a city of cinema within the city that hosts one of the most important annual film festivals. It was also designed to reflect the heterogeneity and openness that characterizes Toronto. Located in the heart of the city’s media and entertainment district, the architecture of the Bell Lightbox at the corner of King and John Streets injects energy into the precinct.

© Maris Mezulis
© Maris Mezulis

The Bell Lightbox, a horizontal, 5-story podium building, establishes its cultural image on the streetscape while the 42-story point tower, set back on John Street, commands the skyline. The two elements formally relate in the simple proportions of the volumes, common materials, and quality of detailing. The transition between the two occurs at the point where the roof of the Bell Lightbox meets the base of the Tower. The form and expression of the condominium tower creates a clean, contemporary figure with an illuminated light box at its top to enrich Toronto’s evolving skyline.

© Tom Arban
© Tom Arban

The King Street elevation is a composition of projecting volumes and surfaces contained within a continuous loop of movement that begins with the street level canopy and then rises to the upper levels to culminate at the stepped roof. The canopy, with its metal soffits and LED lights, enhances the arrival experience. Extended sequences of horizontal montages of clear, fritted and translucent glass panels animate the upper surfaces and in project the silhouettes of people moving within to the street.

© Tom Arban
© Tom Arban

Inside the Lightbox, the design acts as a framework for human action and imagination in which the solidity of architecture and the ephemerality of the medium of film are fused. The flexible plan is based on the tradition of industrial loft buildings. Within this framework, the volumes of the cinema theaters (ranging from 80 to 550 seats) and spaces for gathering, display and production are arranged to promote movement and visual connectivity. A three-story central atrium features a red framed glass window into the master control booth. The architectural volumes of the five cinemas are expressed as black zinc clad buildings within the building, and the spaces between act as interior streets along which visitors are oriented. The cinema interiors are dark, unadorned and enclosed to focus the attention between viewers and film.

© Tom Arban
© Tom Arban

The main entrance leads directly to the main escalator, ramps and stairs which together weave a fluid sequence of movement to the cinemas above. On the fourth and fifth levels administrative and production spaces, library and archives are organized around a second, light-filled atrium. A generous café and restaurant, operated by Oliver Bonacini, occupy the first two levels of the corner at King and John. At street level, Canteen is wrapped by an outdoor café terrace. On the second level, Luma is integrated with the Blackberry Lounge.


The design culminates in the monumentally-scaled stepped roof. Inspired by the stepped roof of the Villa Malaparte in Capri featured in Jean Luc Godard’s 1963 Contempt, this major new outdoor public space encapsulates the fusion of architecture and film.

© Tom Arban
© Tom Arban

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
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Cite: "TIFF Bell Lightbox / KPMB Architects" 21 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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