Paul Raff is an architect, artist, and visionary thinker. His studio employs experts in architecture and design. Its collaborative environment is dedicated to a creative vision of the highest caliber. Based in Toronto, the Studio assists clients locally and internationally to create projects where art becomes life. Each project is uniquely conceived for its particular situation and advanced with proficient management and craft to achieve exceptional value and architectural quality. Projects range in scale and scope, including residential, cultural, and commercial architecture, master planning & strategy, environmental and public art. Paul Raff Studio consistently produces exceptional work that is thoughtful, evocative, and poetic. The Studio’s designs have been recognized with numerous awards by the highest authorities, including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts, and have been widely published in such publications as Wallpaper*, Architecture, AZURE, Objekt, and Landscape Architecture.
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Leacroft House combines bold, modern architectural form with sustainable green strategies for the 21st century family lifestyle. From the street you see the Algonquin limestone front façade, fleuri cut with honed and polished pieces. The cladding layout forms a playful pattern between the darker limestone pieces on the lower volume of the house and lighter pieces used on the upper volume. With small punch windows knit into the precise cladding layout, the front of the house affirms its durability and function.
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The design of Echo House transformed an existing residence to resonate with its surroundings. Set on an expansive property on the Bridle Path in Toronto, it marries and connects beautifully with its landscape. Its subtle material detailing quietly evokes the Asian heritage of the cosmopolitan family it was designed for. The design also resulted in a reduction of energy consumption of approximately 50%. Approaching the house, the front façade is articulated with a long, low limestone wall, with a taller volume of dark raked stucco beyond. Within the frame of the wall, an array of fine wooden screens creates a delicately layered forecourt.
Oriented on a strict Cartesian axis, the house is designed to maximize its potential for natural light. The integrated design combines a high-performance building envelope with passive solar design systems as an effective environmentally-sustainable strategy for its northern context. An expansive window along the building’s south face allows the low winter sun to penetrate and warm the house. A large internal slate wall captures available solar energy to warm the house during evening hours. Smaller apertures within the wall dapple adjacent rooms with light. Resonating within the house, the slate wall frames views and guides movement.
ARC OF MEMORY, NATIONAL MONUMENT
This international competition-winning design is a memorial to the victims of communist authoritarianism, and a celebration of Canada as a land of refuge. Over 4000 bronze rods are arranged along 365 slender posts, each one pointing at a unique angle of the sun, for every hour of every day, across a year. The memorial is divided in the middle at the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, inviting visitors to step through in a metaphorical journey from darkness and oppression to lightness and liberty. At a distance, the sculptural array of bronze rods expresses the vastness of the suffering of individuals under communist regimes. Up close, the memorial invites visitors to reflect on their own experiences.
Richmond Castle is a home for a business man and his family in downtown Toronto. It accommodates multi-car parking and service quarters on the stone clad ground floor. Its upper levels, wrapped in an automotive finish exterior, include a large film-screening/media room on the main floor with floor-to-ceiling operable, brass shutters. Also on the main floor are the family’s bedroom suites. The top floor is the main living space which includes an outdoor terrace garden.
Madrigal House is a renovation and addition to an Edwardian-era house in Toronto’s Annex Neighbourhood for a family of five. Our objective was to go beyond the convention of juxtaposing modern architecture with a historic structure. Ours was a delicate “madrigal” — a weaving together of restoration, transformation and invention. The new home unfolds like a tour through its own history — from old to new. A carefully restored and augmented exterior opens onto a gracious Edwardian entry through an original stained glass door. Immediately beyond is the music room, staircase and living room, where reinvented 19th Century detail such as newly commissioned stained glass, maintains the feeling of grandeur and formality that is characteristic of the era.
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
Atmospheric Lens is a public artwork integrated into the dome of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Transit Station in Toronto. Spanning 16,000 s.f. it dissolves the convex ceiling of the above-ground pavilion into a dynamic, cubist collage of reflections of life inside the station. Commuters moving under the “lens” complete the passive kinetic effect by being in and seeing their reflection in the panels, becoming part of the ever-changing atmosphere above. Strategic skylights align with solstice and equinox sun angles channel light two levels down into the depths of the station, kinetically illuminating a typical daylight-starved space.
Glencairn house addition
For this Glencairn house addition, Paul Raff Studio created an outdoor living space imbued with an easy flow and a sense of country living, offering a reprieve from the bustle of the surrounding city. The addition is comprised of a large living space that connects directly to the new terrace through large, multi-folding doors that open up completely. It is wrapped in a customized and stained Douglas Fir cladding. The terrace includes an upper cedar deck and a lower limestone terrace, designed to form an elegant and powerful connection to the property’s garden space. The deck provides areas for outdoor dining, a chaise lounge, integrated storage and seating, and a built-in kitchen adjacent to the indoor kitchen that allows for fluid indoor/outdoor cooking. Privacy is managed with carefully constructed built-in screening on either side of the space, producing a tranquil sense of seclusion.
Situated on a narrow lot in a leafy neighbourhood, Counterpoint House is a lofty, light-filled home. It is designed to be environmentally responsible and ideally configured for the function and flow of daily life. Designed for a family who desired open, interconnected living spaces, it also maximizes a sense of connection to the garden, trees, and sky. The upper level is set back from the street face which allows an expansive south-facing clerestory window to flood the middle of the house with natural light. A fine screen of aluminium slats veils the upper level. The screen acts as a solar reflector allowing sunlight to bounce in and shower the interiors with a lovely glow and a dynamic pattern of reflections.
Kaleidoscope House, designed by architect Paul Raff, was built for a family of four located in the Chaplin Estates neighbourhood of central Toronto. Its striking and strong contemporary exterior is integrated into a leafy, urban setting, with powerful visual and physical connections to its garden space. From the street, it is wrapped in robust but subtle zinc cladding, punctuated by expansive windows, creating the impression of a gently shifted low-relief sculpture. This sense continues in the backyard, as these interlocked structures fluidly connect with smoothly sculpted terraces and planter beds.