Paul Raff is an artist/architect specializing in highly site-specific, architecturally-integrated installations.
Raff has collaborated extensively with architects, landscape architects, engineers, filmmakers, and other artists to realize built works which are investigations of the possibilities of material, the poetic qualities of space, and the receptiveness of the viewer, or “experiencer” of his works. These three elements have combined to create a range of diverse, powerful works.
Raff’s works integrate themselves into buildings, contributing to the human architectural experience while engaging the visible and invisible cultural forces at play. Influenced by the Situationist idea of psycho-geography in which the environment is believed to affect the behaviour of individuals, in each of his works Raff seeks to make visible an intense poetic connection between people and place. This philosophy has been at the centre of Raff’s entire career’s work exploring the threshold between art and architecture.
Upon graduating from the University of Waterloo in 1992, Raff began a series of artistic interventions and explorations, all conceived in relationship to architecture. In 2005, director Joshua Dorsey made a National Film Board documentary about Raff and his work titled “Infiltrator”, in which Raff explores unusual urban spaces, construction sites, and abandoned factories, and in which he translates these experiences into new architectural artworks. The film describes Raff as belonging to “a new generation of designers seeking to expand and shape our experience of space.”
In recent years, Raff’s projects have moved toward architecturally-integrated commissioned works, always working closely and collaboratively with consultants and stakeholders. Public and environmental art initiatives provide ideal opportunities to harness Raff’s deep and ongoing interest in the built environment, and imaginative, provocative solutions. Apparent in all his work is a great dexterity with construction technologies. By harnessing the inherent poetics of common, often locally sourced materials, his projects achieve a rare magical quality at a manageable cost.
Paul Raff Studio is a team, led by Raff, currently working on projects in North America, South America, and Asia ranging from $60,000 - $3,000,000 in value. Our team is well-versed in working with multiple stakeholder groups and consulting teams, following communications and document management protocols, and of good professional process in realizing complex projects with significant budget and schedule realities. Our team is also capable of producing appropriate presentation materials rapidly through the design phases of a project, and producing highly-detailed, coordinated contract document packages.
We work in close collaboration with stakeholders and consultants at all stages. We start by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the context and all it parameters, and then brainstorm both thematic ideas and physical opportunities within that context. We then go through an intensive, iterative process of forwarding a concept proposal. Once approved, design development and construction drawing phases would follow, with costing at key milestones as coordinated with the team. We tend to communicate closely with fabricators, and follow-up with documentation, factory visits and site reviews as required.
We see the design buildings and places as a superb opportunity to creatively engage the dynamics of movement and space, and contribute to a unique, timeless, fantastic experience for the people who see and inhabit them.
2009 Twenty + Change, Toronto
2008 Matters of Concern, Cambridge Galleries
2008 Design Exchange Awards Exhibits
2008 Resonance, Urban Center, New York (RVTR)
2007 Ten Important Buildings, Curator, Architecture Days Exhibition, Toronto
2006 Sited, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto
2006 Urban Deconstructions, Goethe Institute, Toronto
2004 Living, Mercer Center for Contemporary Art, Toronto
2002 Profusion: Cross-Disciplinary Design, Arts on King Gallery, Toronto
2000 Roma XX: Building on Antiquity, BCE Galleria, Toronto
1999 Fall, Gallery 401, Toronto
1995 Unbuilding Ways, Arts in Action Gallery, Toronto
1994 Architecture without Practice, Workscene Gallery, Toronto
1993 Reclaiming Bay Street, Design Exchange, Toronto
1994 Art on the Edge, York Quay Gallery, Toronto
1991 Barcelona Veinte, Curator, exhibition & lectures: current Barcelona architecture.
DEGREES & AFFILIATIONS
2003 Member, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
2003 Licensed Architect, Ontario Association of Architects
1992 Bachelor of Architecture, University of Waterloo
1989 Bachelor of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo
Syracuse University Guest Critic
University of Illinois at Chicago Guest lecturer and seminars
Ryerson University Adjunct professor: Design Studio
University of Waterloo Adjunct professor: Design Studio
University of Waterloo Frequent Guest Critic & Lecturer
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Lecturer & Panelist: “Cultural Identity & the Future of the City”
University of Toronto Lecturer & Critic: Design Studio
2008 Public Art sub-committee, North Toronto Collegiate Re-development
2008 Jury member, Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects' 2008 Design Awards
2007 Jury member, TTC Public Art Competition, 2007
2006 Jury member, Meridian Public Art Competition, 2006
2003 Guest Professor, Faculty of Art, University of Toronto
2008 Living Steel International Architectural Competition for Sustainable Housing, Honourable Mention
2008 Masterplan of Cherepovets, Russia, Finalist
2005 Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Honourable Citation
2001 Richmond-Adelaide Plaza, Runner-up.
1995 Toronto Waterfront Public Art, Second Place
AWARDS & HONOURS
2009 Innovation Award Honourable Mention (Bluepoint Louver Façade System)
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
2009 Allied Arts Medal (Lifetime Achievement)
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
2009 Award of Excellence (Cascade House)
Ontario Association of Architects
2008 Award of Merit (Cascade House)
2006 Selected to Represent Canada
N.A.F.T.A. sponsored lecture on the role of art in architecture, University of Illinois-Chicago
2005 Michael V. & Wanda Plachta Award
Given every second year by Ontario Association of Architects for architectural excellence:
Best building under $5 million over a two year period (Garden Pavilion)
2004 Wood Design Award
Architectural Design Excellence (Garden Pavilion)
2001 Allied Arts Award
Ontario Association of Architects’ lifetime achievement award of architecturally integrated art
2001 Lecturer & Panelist: “Cultural Identity & the Future of the City”
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2001 Banff Center for the Arts
Creative Residency (Architecture and the Sky)
1999 Governor General’s Award
Acknowledged as Artist Consultant in the design of Strachan House (Architect: Levitt Goodman).
1995 Now Magazine Selection
For Best Exhibition of 1995
Selected for Annual Review
1992 Portfolio Prize
Best overall in architectural design, University of Waterloo
PUBLICATIONS BY PAUL RAFF
2005 Public Space, School Funding, and the need for Change (TSA, Spring 2005)
2003 Traditional vs. Modern: the Language of Architecture in a Unique Context (Indigo 3)
2000 Where are we going? Techno-reflection at the end of the Millennium with RNA (Domus 822)
1999 Millennium Dome: Live Impressions with RNA (Domus 825)
1999 On Fall (Cyberstage Online)
1998 On Situating Art in the Public Realm (Lola, volume 3 (1998), p. 30-1.)
1994 Harbourwork (Waterloo Journal of Architecture ,Vol. 2, April 1994, p.129-31.)
PUBLICATIONS ON PROJECTS
John Bentley Mays, “Interpreting the Collage of the Physical World.” Toronto Globe and Mail, June 5, 2009, p. G2
Andrea Carson, “Paul Raff: RAIC Awards – Allied Arts” Canadian Architect, May 2009 p.30-31
“Stairs and Louvers: RAIC Awards-Innovation in Architecture-Honourable Mention” Canadian Architect, May 2009 p.54-7
John Bentley Mays, “Green Light.” Azure, Jan/Feb 2009, p. 83-87.
Michelle Galindo. “Garden Pavilion.” 1000x Architecture of the Americas. Berlin. Verlagshaus Braun, 2008, p. 111.
Benoit Joly, “Un thé au Canada.” à vivre, avril 2008 p. 106-107.
Phyllis Richardson, “Symphony in Cedar.” XS Green: Big Ideas, Small Buildings, Thames & Hudson (2007) p.50-53.
John Bentley Mays, “Modern tree houses in a lush landscape.” Toronto Globe and Mail, January 6, 2006, p.G8.
Jim Taggart (editor), “Garden Pavilion.” The Cedar Book, Janam Publications Inc. p.32-35.
Rick Andrighetti, “Details.” Landscape Architecture, (June 2004).
Don Griffith, The Wood Design Awards. TUNS Press (2004), p. 98.
Suzanne Trocme, “Overtures.” Wallpaper. September, 2004, p. 56.
Bruce Stanley, “Modern vs. Traditional: an Interview with Paul Raff.” Indigo Vol.1, 2004, p. 14-17.
John Bentley Mays, “The Perfect House.” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 18, 2003, p. G2.
Martha Uniacke Breen, “Naturally Canadian.” Canadian Interiors. May/June, 2003, p.24-25.
Alan G. Brake, “Unbuilding.” Architecture, November, 2002, p. 59.
Beth Kapusta & John McMinn, Yolles, a Canadian Engineering Legacy. Douglas + McIntyre (2002), p.35.
“1999 Governor General’s Medals.” Canadian Architect, May 1999, p. 25.
Beth Kapusta & John McMinn, Yolles, a Canadian Engineering Legacy. Douglas + McIntyre (2002), p.35
Derrick de Kerckhove, “Where are we going… at the End of the Millenium.” Domus, volume 822 (2000), p. 74-79.
Cornelius Heesters, “Paul Raff and David Warne.” Alphabet City 7 (2000), p. 260-65.
Kateri Lanthier, “Don’t’ Give Concrete the Cold Shoulder.” Financial Post. September 18, 1999, p. W23.
Blake Gopnik, “Art Exhibits…Sweeping the Nation.” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 16, 1998, p. D7.
Blake Gopnik, “Sitings.” Toronto Globe and Mail, May 2, 1998, p. C15.
Catherine Osborne, “Paul Raff and David Warne.” Parachute, volume 92 (1998), p. 58-9.
Lisa Gabrielle Mark, “Letter from Toronto.” C Magazine, volume 59 (1998), p. 43.
Liz Marshall (director), “Arts and Minds” (1998). Bravo!TV.
“Deconstruction.” The Next City, Volume 3, March 1, 1996, p. 26-7.
John Bentley Mays, “Unbuilding Ways.” Waterloo Magazine, Spring 1996, p. 10-15.
Gerald Lecuyer (director), “Arts and Minds” & “The Year in Review” (1995). Bravo!TV.
Deirdre Hanna, “Best of ‘95.” Now Magazine, December 28, 1995, p. 45.
Catherine Osborne, “Arts in Action, Toronto.” C Magazine, volume 47 (1995), p. 50.
Robin Bellman, “Putting a New Slant on Building.” Daily Commercial News, July 20, 1995, p. A1.
John Bentley Mays, “Architectural Choreography.” Toronto Globe and Mail, July 15, 1995, p. C7.
“Harbourwork.” Waterloo Journal of Architecture, Volume 2, April 1994, p. 129-31.