Bell Lightbox and Festival Tower

As the headquarters for the Toronto International Film Festival, the Bell Lightbox is a major cultural centre in Canada’s largest city. With world-class cinemas, galleries, restaurants, office spaces and a residential tower complete with luxury amenities, the mixed-use facility is also an exceptional feat of engineering.

The project consisted of the Bell Lightbox, a five-storey podium facility for the Toronto International Film Festival Group, as well as the Festival Tower, a 35-floor condominium development, and five levels of underground parking. SNC-Lavalin provided the mechanical and electrical engineering services for the Bell Lightbox, an important multi-use building in the heart of Toronto, Canada.

Managing diverse technical requirements

The biggest challenge in this project was the diversity in design requirements for the various facilities included within the building. Ranging from superior acoustics for the movie theatres to highly specific temperature and humidity controls for the Class-A gallery space, there were countless factors to consider. It was very important that the activities in one area did not negatively impact those in another.

To add to the complexity, the project had three owners, two architects and various technical consultants, which meant that the need for clear communications and effective coordination were amplified.

Limited physical space within the facility also proved to be a constraint on this project. With the many sophisticated systems that needed to be included, we had to work closely with the architects to adjust the designs so that everything would fit.

Maximizing energy efficiency

To keep operational costs down and reduce the building’s carbon footprint, we opted for the most energy-efficient systems possible. These included heat recovery systems (air-to-air and water-to-water), demand-controlled ventilation, and underfloor air distribution for the office spaces.