Kirkor Architects & Planners (Kirkor), architects of record
Size: 175,000 s.f.
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.
The Bell Lightbox, a horizontal, 5-storey podium building, establishes its cultural image on the streetscape while the 42-storey 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.
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.
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 theatres (ranging from 80 to 550 seats) and spaces for gathering, display and production are arranged to promote movement and visual connectivity. A three-storey 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.
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.
Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto International Film Festival, King + John Festival Corporation (c/o The Daniels Corporation)
42-storey mixed-use development including 5-storey base comprising 547,000 s.f. of flexible, multi-use space, including three cinemas and two flexible screening spaces for total of 1,300 cinema seats; 38 floor residential condominium tower
Bruce Kuwabara, Shirley Blumberg, Bruno Weber, Brent Wagler, Tyler Sharp, Esther Cheung, Norm Li
KPMB 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 Liaukus, 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, Robin Ramcharan, Jill Greaves
Kirkor Project Team
Clifford Korman (partner), Steven Kirshenblatt (partner), Mario Gumushdjian (architect, partner), Richard Golab (associate), Mike Nonis, Brent Whitby
Jablonsky, Ast and Partners (structural), SNC Lavalin - LKM (mechanical, electrical), Leber/Rubes Inc. (life safety), NAK Design Group (landscape), Helyar & Associates (cost), Aercoustics Engineering Ltd. (acoustics), Westbury National Show Systems & Azcar Technologies (AV), Peter Smith Architect Inc. (theatre consultant), RWDI Engineering (wind), Marshall Macklin Monaghan (transportation) , Kaizen Foodservice Planning and Design Inc (food services), Pivotal Lighting Affiliated Engineers (lighting), Mulvey + Banani (security), Ehvert Engineering (IT), Gottschalk + Ash (signage)
PCL Constructors Canada
Vogue’s Guide to Canada’s Cultural Capital: Toronto
October 31, 2014
TIFF Bell Lightbox wins Pug Award
June 21, 2011
TIFF Lightbox deserves its own Oscar
February 17, 2011
TIFF Bell Lightbox - you can profit by anticipating cultural trends
February 10, 2011
Simply a spectacular year at TIFF
September 18, 2010
Lightbox illuminates city's future
September 16, 2010
Lightbox reflects Toronto’s growing maturity
September 13, 2010
Toronto fest, Day 4: Let there be Lightbox!
September 12, 2010
For the real film lover
September 10, 2010
Metro Morning - Interview with Bruce Kuwabara, Piers Handling and Noah Cowan
September 09, 2010
TIFF's new Lightbox HQ ready for close-up
September 09, 2010
TIFF Finally Finds a Home
September 07, 2010
City of Cinema
August 09, 2010
Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants at TIFF Bell Lightbox
July 29, 2010
Sneak Peak Inside the Bell Lightbox
September 09, 2009
From car wash to new home of the stars
September 02, 2008
Six towers set to bloom
August 29, 2008
Free Block Party
September 12, 2010
- 2012 Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence
- 2012 Ontario Concrete Award
- 2012 AZ Award
- 2011 Pug Awards, Best in Show
- 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award
- 2003 Winning Scheme, Invited Design Competition
Design City Toronto
Ourtopias: cities and the role of design
September 13, 2010
Best Tall Buildings 2011: CTBUH International Award Winning Projects