Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood became a popular destination for the design crowd on June 23 with RAW SHIFT, a one-night-only flash architecture installation. Hosted by RAW Design, the event transformed an empty storefront on Queen Street into a thematic exploration of the fluid nature of built spaces and how a building’s use evolves over time.
The property was filled with modular cardboard installations situated to allow its evolution over the course of the evening. An origami-inspired backdrop shifted to match the changing aesthetic, sound, lighting, food and drinks.
“We were happy to see the crowd use RAW SHIFT elements as they pleased, customizing their experience and space as friends and colleagues came and went,” said Marnie Mosher, RAW Design, in a press release. “We wanted to encourage their input to create larger and then more intimate spaces, reconfigure seating and change ambient lighting.”
Movable 12-foot Sonos Tubes created a forest on a fixed grid that guests were able to walk through, while others climbed a stacked Cube Mountain. A series of illuminated panel sliders suspended on multiple tracts around the room allowed guests to shift spaces as they pleased. Each installation evolved into something new, which was a credit to the changing architecture of Toronto.
“As a firm, we’ve worked on numerous adaptive reuse projects over the years. Courtrooms become office spaces, factories become studios, churches become new homes,” said Roland Rom Colthoff, founder of RAW Design. “These conversions serve as a signpost for us. Our lens cannot only focus on the current function of a building but must also anticipate the potential for it to shift its purpose over time. As architects, we must allow for opportunities in the future while addressing the needs of the present.”
RAW SHIFT is the ninth installment of RAW’s annual summertime event and acted as a natural progression in the ongoing dialogue surrounding built form and the urban landscape in Toronto.