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Limelight Bandshell

Location: Toronto, ON
Architect: Paul Raff Studio Incorporated Architect
Date of Completion: 2017

OAA Design Excellence Awards Finalist

For a new public park, the client asked for a bold and unique visual identity—one that would allow people to interact with it, be a focal point, contribute to the park’s vitality and relate to the theme of sound. This evolved into an amphitheatre with a bandshell as its focal point. The Lee Lifeson Art Park is named after two members of the rock band Rush who grew up in the North York neighbourhood. Its namesake, “Limelight,” is taken from the band’s song.


Site plan
Drawing Credit: Paul Raff Studio Incorporated Architect


Sound reflection angles
Drawing Credit: Paul Raff Studio Incorporated Architect

Structure Details
Drawing Credit: Eventscape


The bandshell
Photo Credit: Jack Landau

The form is derived from the acoustic function of reflecting sound from the performer to the audience. Its lightweight, high-strength composite assembly is clad in a black glass mosaic tile. The unique sculptural character is accentuated by curved ridges originating from the centre. The shell paired the artistic themes of positives and negatives, light and dark, inside and outside. Its shape uses acoustic principles to capture and reflect sound back to the audience. Limelight Bandshell reminds viewers of the dynamics of sound and light reflection in its geometry.


The bandshell
Photo Credit: Jack Landau


Harmonica player
Photo Credit: Jack Landau


The bandshell
Photo Credit: Jack Landau

The small project uses minimal resources to make a big impact. It’s an outdoor activity while supporting a cultural program. The Bandshell strengthens the civic identity and activates the outdoor space visually. All organizations, businesses and private and school groups are able to use it. The neighbourhood is given a striking landmark and unique experience in its public realm.


The bandshell in the evening
Photo Credit: Jack Landau
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