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Paul Raff

204 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2, Canada
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Phone: 1-416-365-7800     Fax: 1-416-352-5954

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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.



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






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)

                                Design Exchange


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


1995                       Bravo!TV

Selected for Annual Review


1992                       Portfolio Prize

Best overall in architectural design, University of Waterloo





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.)






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.