Pure poetry: the Canada Council honours Paul Raff Studio

The Canada Council for the Arts announced today that Toronto-based architectural firm Paul Raff Studio is the winner of the prestigious Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement. Given every two years to an emerging practitioner, this award recognizes outstanding talent in architectural design, and sensitivity to allied arts, crafts, and professions including landscape, interior and furniture design, and decorative and graphic arts.

This $10,000 prize acknowledges the Paul Raff Studio practice, which is devoted to creating lyrical and evocative relationships between people and place. Renowned for imaginatively deploying low-cost, locally sourced materials, Raff plays with the energy of the sun, and in doing so, creates meaningful and ecologically sound designs throughout Canada and abroad.

Founding principal Paul Raff first began practice as an artist exploring the effects of the physical environment on one’s experience of inhabitable space. Now in addition to designing buildings, Paul Raff Studio collaborates with other architects, designers, and artists on the design of public and architecturally integrated artworks that push the limits of, and contribute to the field of architecture.

“I am especially touched by this award,” says Raff. “Ron Thom’s poetic designs have been an inspiration to me since I was a teenager. It is an honour to share in his legacy of exploring the artistry of architecture.”


Founding principal Paul Raff was born in Montreal and spent his childhood primarily in Quebec and Saskatchewan, to which he attributes his interest in landscape and atmosphere. Now based in Toronto, Paul and his firm Paul Raff Studio assist local and international clients create projects where art becomes life. Their projects include residential, cultural, and commercial architecture, multi-media and public art, private gardens and special features. They are well known for projects such as the multi-award winning Cascade House, a family residence that unites environmental sustainability with artistic beauty.

Paul Raff Studio has been published internationally, and has been the subject of three television documentaries. Raff and his Studio have won numerous awards such as two Allied Arts Awards for lifetime achievement, one from the Ontario Association of Architects, and the other from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.