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TIFF Bell Lightbox

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects

Shared By

MonicaScinto, Hanley Wood

Project Name

TIFF Bell Lightbox

Project Status


Year Completed



175,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost


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Project Description

There are few film festivals that have a permanent home and there is no other building in the world which has the scale and variety of uses for the art, entertainment and research of film that the Bell Lightbox offers. This dynamic hybrid multi-purpose structure combines a five-story podium building for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with a 42-story residential condominium tower. It combines a 5-story cultural podium with a 42-story residential tower. Located in the heart of Toronto’s media and entertainment district, the Bell Lightbox establishes a cultural presence on King Street while the tower, set back on John Street, commands the skyline to the west. Podium and tower are harmonized thought a common language of scale, proportion, materials, and details.

The plan is flexible and intensely public, organized around a three-story atrium, over which is suspended a red framed master control booth. The volumes of the cinema theatres and program of restaurants, retail shop, and exhibition gallery are arranged in a clear sequence to encourage connectivity of people. The roof of the Bell Lightbox features a monumental stair inspired by the stepped roof of the Villa Malaparte in Capri featured in Jean Luc Godard’s 1963 Contempt.

Since opening in 2012, the 175,000 s.f. building has quickly allowed TIFF to expand and diversify its programming, increasing its economic impact on the city to $170.4 million, a figure estimated to grow to $200 million. The museum-standard gallery has allowed TIFF to secure internationally-acclaimed exhibitions on the art of film, including Tim Burton, Fellini and Grace Kelly, while the five cinemas have increased annual screenings by 35%.

The Bell Lightbox fulfills City of Toronto Green Standards for urban density and since opening in 2010, has significantly enriched the cultural vitality of the city.
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