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Hariri Pontarini Architects

Light flickers and glows in this cozy den for film lovers

© Volker Seding

For more photos click on 'photos & drawings' above.

To see the people and products behind this project click on 'people & products.'

The dream of filmmaker Atom Egoyan and film distributor Hussain Amarshi is to create a multimedia arts center where film-lovers can meet to watch and discuss cinema. Housed in a former hardware store built around the turn of the last century, the Queen Street location consists of a setting that is at once intimate and public, old and new, rugged and refined. Its tenants are the Camera bar, offices for Mongrel Media, and the Stephen Bulger Gallery. A sense of unity, playful symmetry, and consistent materials and color unites these different program spaces.

Inside and out, the building takes its visual cues from the robust, rugged streetscape in the surrounding Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto. Hariri Pontarini revealed and restored the building's original brick façade. Inside, they uncovered hidden architectural features such as tin ceilings and an original fireplace. To form a contrast with these elements, the architects used a contemporary materials palette that included lead-coated copper canopy, oak and limestone flooring, teak and oak windows.

The ground floor exterior wall is actually a sliding panel of glass, which glides from the Camera bar into the art gallery, blurring the distinction between the bar and the street. A wall between the bar and the gallery also slides open to allow flexibility and movement between these interior rooms. Camera and Mongrel Media share the same formal entrance, meanwhile, which provides visitors a suggestive glimpse of a staircase to private offices on the floor above. Queen Street's star, though, is the Camera bar. A working fireplace, candles, and hanging filament lights suffuse it with a soft internal glow. A heavy velvet curtain, which conceals the bar's façade during the daytime, creates a soft boundary that evokes a stage performance.

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Formal name of Project:
Camera / 1026-1028 Queen Street West


Gross square footage:
8,760 sq. ft.

Hussain Amarshi & Atom Egoyan

Hariri Pontarini Architects
245 Davenport Road, Third Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5K 1K1, Canada
416-929-4901 tel.
416-929-8924 fax


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