Complex Projects, Engaging Narratives


Cicada Wins Imagina 2011 Award

We are pleased to announce that that the animation Natural Heritage Watershed Restoration Produced for the Mount Pleasant Landowners Group, Brampton, Ontario won an Imagina 2011 Award For Territory Management Urbanism & Landscape. Imagina is an annual conference on computer graphics held in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Aimed at recognizing market leaders this conference showcases emerging talent and rewards innovators.

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Imagina 2011 Award for 3d Territory Management

Cicada Design is proud to announce that the animation Natural Heritage Watershed Restoration Produced for the Mount Pleasant Landowners Group, Brampton, Ontario won an Imagina 2011 Award For Territory Management Urbanism & Landscape. The presentation provided an accurate layered animation depicting the restoration of woodlands, wetlands, watercourses and valleys.

Imagina is an annual conference on computer graphics held in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Aimed at recognizing market leaders this conference showcases emerging talent and rewards innovators. An additional entry by Cicada, the Sick Kids Hospital fundraising video, was shortlisted in the Architecture - Best Communication Film category.

Client: Mount Pleasant Landowners Group

Lead Planning and Urban Design Consultant:Malone Given Parsons Ltd.

Concept Visualization and Production: Cicada Design Inc.

Production Team:Dalibor Cizek, Ilya Floussov, Avaiz Hashmi, Jonah Humphrey, Jon Neilon, Dan Oteleanu, Spencer Rand, Steve Renard, Dmitry Soldinikov, Michael Starr

Video Link

Learn more on Monaco Mediax or view article in Vector 1 Online Magazine

An additional entry by Cicada, the Sick Kids Hospital fundraising video, was shortlisted in the Architecture - Best Communication Film category.

Cicada Design Inc. Visualizes Future Urban Developments in Toronto

West Donlands: Future site of the 2015 Pan Am games, A new vision for Downsview Park, and Regent Park Redevelopment representing 100s of acres of urban masterplanning, have all been developed as detailed 3d models to more effectively discuss these futures.

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Cicada Design Inc. Demonstrates Future Urban Developments in Toronto

West Donlands: Future site of the 2015 Pan Am games

Cicada Design worked with the Toronto Waterfront Corporation on developing large visualizations of potential housing developments in the West Donlands shortly before Toronto was awarded the Pan Am games. Creating several building concepts between key development nodes, Cicada contributed several images of the holistic vision for the development area. Notable architects including Steven Holl, Saucier + Perrotte, Baird Sampson Neuert, Michael Van Valkenburgh, and ZAS all contributed to this winning masterplan with developed building and landscape proposals.

Learn more on or view in our portfolio

A new vision for Downsview Park

As an outgrowth of Cicada's efforts visualizing large urban works, the team was presented with a vision of a 230 hectare park and urban development in North West Toronto. Cicada Design worked directly with Calvin Brook of BMI and the Downsview Park Corporation to develop large scale views. Comprehensive views aided in securing initial developer investment in new urban neighbourhoods. The resulting views were used in public forums and presentations to city councilors, aiding the approvals process.

See renderings used to describe principal spaces or view in our portfolio

Regent Park Redevelopment

Regent Park, Canada's oldest and largest public housing project, is being redeveloped under the auspices of Toronto Community Housing. After selection through a competitive project, the project is being carried out by The Daniels Corporation with design by several architecture offices including Diamond+Schmitt Architects. Cicada Design has created images representing new housing units as well as the Regent Park Arts & Culture Centre. These visualizations have contributed to securing initial investment and promoting the project to the arts community.

More information is available at Toronto Artscape, Daily Commercial News or in our portfolio

Fundraising efforts

Cicada helps the fundraising efforts of The Hospital for Sick Children, Rotman School of Management, Bridgepoint Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Toronto, and YWCA Elm Centre. Representing more than half a billion dollars in campaign efforts Cicada is a proud contributor to healthcare in Ontario.

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Fundraising efforts

The Hospital for Sick Children, new Research and Learning Tower – $400 million

The $400 million fund-raising campaign for Sick Kids Hospital Research and Learning Tower features animated and print material developed by the team at Cicada Design. 3D illustrations and composited video describe design intentions and programmatic adjacencies.

The new Sick Kids Research and Learning Tower was designed by Diamond+Schmitt Architects with HDR Inc. The 750,000 square-foot facility will accommodate the most specialized research and learning needs in paediatric healthcare. The different areas of research will be reflected in seven areas of scientific that are connected through staircases and shared spaces to encourage cross-collaboration.

See the images as part of the Sick Kids Foundation campaign or view in our portfolio.

Rotman School of Management/U of T – $120 million

Keen on developing a focused fund-raising campaign, the Rotman School of Management approached Cicada Design to develop material geared toward representing value to large single donors. The proposed 15,000 gross square meter extension will further secure the reputation of the school as a world class facility.

The Rotman Expansion, designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), is currently under construction and expected to open in 2012.

See the images as part of the fundraising campaign or view in our portfolio.

Bridgepoint Hospital – $60 million

Cicada-produced images created to support the winning P3 bid team have had their use extended as part of the Bridgepoint Health Foundation fundraising campaign. The new hospital was specifically design to meet the needs of patients with complex chronic diseases. Cicada images also feature prominently on the Bridgepoint Health website, promoting the construction of the new hospital.

Construction on the new Bridgepoint Hospital started in the fall of 2009, and is expected to be finished in early 2013.

See the images on the Bridgepoint Health website or view in our portfolio.

Ronald McDonald House Toronto – $30 million

A short video created by the team at Cicada Design acts as the centre-piece of the campaign to raise $30 million for the new Ronald McDonald House Toronto. The story is told from the perspective of a child navigating his way through the new facility, revealing the potential it holds for aiding families whose children require care far from home.

Designed by award-winning architectural firm Montgomery Sisam, the total cost for the new House is approximately $32.5 million. To date, $29 million has been raised. Construction began in the fall of 2009.

The new RMH Toronto will be located at 240 McCaul Street, and will accommodate almost three times as many families as the current location. Located steps away from major hospitals such as SickKids and Mount Sinai, the new House will be environmentally sustainable and have an energy efficient design targeting LEED Gold Certification. Learn more and find updates on construction at Ronald McDonald House and Urban Toronto

YWCA Elm Centre – $80 million

Cicada design produced still images and a promotional video for the Toronto YWCA Elm Centre fundraising campaign. The Elm Centre, scheduled to open in 2011, will offer women and women-led families in Toronto a step toward independence and stability through 300 affordable and supportive apartments. It will also be home to YWCA Toronto's new administrative headquarters.

See the YWCA project and video on YouTube

Cicada Images Help to Win Major International Competitions

Cicada Images Help to Win Major International Competitions

Cicada Design Inc. collaborated with Diamond+Schmitt Architects to visualize winning designs entered into two international competitions.

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Cicada Images Help to Win Major International Competitions

Cicada Design Inc. collaborated with Diamond+Schmitt Architects to visualize winning designs entered into two international competitions. After the competitions were finalized, Cicada Design Inc. continued a process of iterative design by producing images documenting a series of design options to refine the architecture.

Mariinksy Theatre Second Stage, St. Petersburg

Currently under construction, the Mariinsky Theatre Second Stage, situated adjacent to the historic Mariinsky Theatre, will feature a 2000-seat opera and ballet house. This truly modern facility will integrate with the scale and architectural character of the area's old city streets. For more information on the Mariinsky Theatre project see our portfolio or

Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Montréal

The new Montréal Symphony Orchestra concert hall, scheduled to open in September 2011, similarly integrates with its rich cultural context as a key expansion of the Place des Arts, the cultural heart of Montréal. For more information see our portfolio or Adresse Symphonique.

Construction Underway on Edmonton Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre

Cicada Visualization Projects Under Construction

Several projects for which Cicada produced visualizations are now under construction.

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Cicada Visualization Projects Under Construction

Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building – Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

The Constantine Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, is nearing completion. Designed by Diamond+Schmitt Architects, this new facility will substantially expand Drexel’s institutional capacity to attract research funding to both the University and the Philadelphia region, fulfilling the vision developed in Cicada's images of the project.

More information is available on the Drexel University website.

Further visualizations and other information are also available in our portfolio.

Edmonton Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre

An expanded facility to accommodate many new public sports and recreation activities, as well as the training space for the Edmonton Eskimos football team, is currently under construction. MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects sought out Cicada Design for their expertise in visualization to best communicate the design intent of this facility. As presented in the imagery produced, the multi-purpose recreation facility will be full of activity, acting as a gathering place for the community to enjoy its many amenities. The new complex, comprising a field house and recreation centre attached to Edmonton's existing Commonwealth Stadium, is scheduled to open in Winter 2012.

Link to MJM Architects

Project and progress updates: and blog

Queens Theatre in the Park – New York City

Queens Theatre in the Park recently completed a major expansion and renovation, designed by Caples Jefferson Architects and visualized by Ciada Design. The project includes a 75-seat cabaret performance space with a full service cafe and kitchen facility, a dramatic new 3,000 square foot lobby/reception area, new visitor amenities and improved ccessibility. The theatre is now an attractive destination for both residents of the borough of Queens and visitors from around the world.

For more information see the Queens Theatre article about the project or the Caples Jefferson website.

Centennial College Library and Learning Commons – Toronto

Currently under construction in the Scarborough section of Toronto, the 103,500 square foot Library and Learning Commons building will be a key element in the redevelopment of Centennial College's Progress Campus. Designed by Diamond+Schmitt and visualized by Cicada Design, the new building will include a full-service library, classrooms, lab space, lecture theatre, and bio wall, and will be connected to the Student Centre by an enclosed bridge. Once complete, the new building will form the main entrance for the flagship campus of Centennial College.

For more information see the Centennial College website or the Cicada portfolio page.

Ryerson University School of Image Arts – Toronto

The Ryerson University School of Image Arts Gallery and Research Centre is scheduled to open in September 2012. The new building will be an international centre of excellence for the study, teaching, research and public exhibition of photography, new media, and film. The centre was designed by Diamond+Schmitt Architects and Cicada provided visualization services through a series of design revisions. Combining public exhibition of innovative work by professional Canadian and international artists with inspiring academic research and educational opportunities, the Research Centre will be a key part of the expanding Ryerson campus in downtown Toronto. In addition to research and education, the Centre will also house the renowned Black Star Collection and other collections in a museum-quality, climate-controlled environment.

For more information see the article on Ryerson's website, or the Cicada portfolio page.

P3 Process

Cicada Helps Bidders Win P3 Projects

Cicada has produced a number of videos and still images to support bid proposals for public-private partnership (P3) construction.

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Cicada Helps Bidders Win P3 Projects

Cicada has produced a number of videos and still images to support bid proposals for public-private partnership (P3) infrastructure projects. These include winning bids for Bridgepoint Hospital in Toronto, and St. Joseph's Hospital West 5th Campus in Hamilton, ON. Cicada's stills and video produced for the Bridgepoint proposal have found further life supporting the Bridgepoint Health fundraising campaign. The success and effectiveness of the Bridgepoint proposal, particularly the Cicada-produced video, have led to the addition of animated visualization requirements in subsequent Infrastructure Ontario requests for proposals. The St. Joseph's hospital campus features facilities for in-patient and mental health care as well as traditional outpatient medicine, and will serve the Hamilton community through the middle of the 21st Century and beyond. Cicada was able to demonstrate the many complex aspects of such a multi-use facility clearly and effectively through both stills and video. For more information, see the full press release from Plenary Group and watch the video in our portfolio.

Cicada has provided visualization support for other P3 project proposals including: Halton Healthcare's new hospital in Oakville, Ontario; the new Royal Canadian Mounted Police Headquarters in Surrey, British Columbia; the Communications Security Establishment Canada headquarters in Ottawa; the Waterloo Regional Courthouse in London, Ontario; additional St. Jospeh's Healthcare facilities in London, Ontario and St. Thomas, Ontario; and Women's College Hospital in Toronto.


Case Studies

Mount Pleasant NHS Restoration

Animation and Stills for Public Private Partnership (P3) Proposal

Rotman School of Management Motion Graphics Design


Mount Pleasant NHS Restoration

FIG. 1  Mt. Pleasant Transit Hub

Cicada Design was approached by the principal planning consultant for the Mount Pleasant Landowners Group, Malone Given Parsons, to provide an accurate visualization through animation and still images of the the Mount Pleasant Secondary Plan.

In particular, the focus was on the restoration of the Fletcher's Creek Natural Heritage System (NHS) that included publicly accessible valley lands and watercourse corridors, woodlands, wetlands, and environmental buffers created through the plan's policies. These natural landscape areas collectively become the spine for the development of surrounding land areas. We were asked to provide an accurate visual summary of the proposal providing a sense of scale and realistic landscape as envisioned by the urban, ecological and landscape consultants. The resulting design visualization allowed stakeholders, city council and the public a comprehensive and accessible insight into this approach to responsible and sustainable growth for the region.

FIG. 2  Seasonal water level changes

Through intensive work with the client team, we developed a strategy to summarize several years of planning in a three-minute animated presentation. Large scale aerial views provided orientation and an overview of the plan, while detail views placed the plan in context on a human scale. Motion Graphics were used independently and in conjunction with 3D rendered shots to depict the underlying planning concepts and regional transit organization.

The production of the video posed a significant challenge in handling the large amount of data common to schemes of this size. A series of storyboard drafts of the presentation played a key role in structuring the themes and accommodating consultant ideas throughout the process. As 3D elements were developed the storyboard gave way to wireframe previews of the presentation and were posted on a collaborative website to afford consultant comment and notes on an ad-hoc basis.

The success of the presentation is measured by the success of the scheme, which was approved as the Mount Pleasant Secondary Plan by Brampton City Council.

FIG. 3  Mt. Pleasant Village public square

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Animation and Stills for Public Private Partnership (P3) Proposal

FIG. 1  Bridgepoint Health outdoor treatment space

Since 2008, Cicada has produced a number of videos and still images to support bid proposals for public-private partnership (P3) construction.

The first of this series of P3 bid support projects began when Cicada Design was approached by the principal Design Consultant, Diamond+Schmitt Architects, to provide an accurate visualization Bridgepoint Health, a new 680,000 square foot hospital designed for treating individuals with complex chronic diseases. A competitive bid team made up of Plenary Health, PCL Constructors, and Johnson Controls submitted a proposal to design, build, finance, and maintain the new facility for 30 years after completion. This proposal was selected by the Ministry of Health and Infrastructure Ontario over two other proponents.

The animation and stills directed the selection panel's attention to key features of the scheme while providing realism, detail, and a true sense of how the major spaces of the new facility would work. Aerial views provided a comprehensive overview of the campus, including a landscape and gardens designed to connect the facility to the surrounding neighbourhood. These views also highlighted buildings that make up the complex care centre. The animation also laid out the plan for the phased demolition of existing buildings on-site and construction of the new hospital. 2D and 3D motion graphics served to demonstrate compliance to required patient circulation and space programming. Highly detailed interiors depicting the public spaces and care areas rounded out the presentation.

FIG. 2  Bridgepoint Health landscaping and connection to existing community

In response to the successful summary of a complex project provided by this video, the Ministry of Health has requested video presentations as a requirement for other project proposal calls. Cicada Design has continued to work and build a successful track record with a number of clients on other P3 projects throughout the province. These bid teams have included notable firms such as Canon Design Kasian Architecture, and WZMH Architects, while the projects have represented some key pieces in building Ontario's future infrastructure: the redevelopment of Women's College Hospital in Toronto, the new St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton West 5th Street Campus, courthouses in Waterloo and Belleville, and new mental health care facilities in London and St. Thomas.

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Rotman School of Management Motion Graphics Design

FIG. 1  Opening Sequence

The Rotman School of Management fundraising video is designed to depict the school's new addition and to introduce the increased program capabilities the new building will provide A review of the school's course and communication material revealed a unique business education program.

At Rotman, students are taught to make cross disciplinary connections with other business and streams of study, diagramming their business design processes and broadly conceiving of new ways of doing business. The video had to communicate how engaging architectural design paired with Rotman's innovative approach to teaching business will be critical to the school's future success. In reference to the diagram-based process taught at Rotman, we developed a set of abstract diagram graphics to serve as a motif throughout the video, beginning with an introduction of the reasoning behind the expansion (Fig. 1).

FIG. 2  Travelling through spaces and levels

During the 3D animated sequences, the circle/dotted lines motif continues as a navigation tool, allowing the viewer to orient him- or herself within the building at any point during the video. Animated movement of the motif reinforces the movement of the camera as it travels through the building.

FIG. 3  Travelling outside and inside

The key to making these graphics an effective addition to the video was to keep them clear and simple, while staying within the structure outlined by the other graphics in the video.  The opening and closing sequences provide bookend reference points for the viewer, while the navigation graphics maintain continuity and a sense of the whole design.

FIG. 4  Closing Sequence

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We have a strong base of expertise in the visualization and lighting simulation of complex architectural spaces and structures, and in telling stories of all shapes, sizes, colours, and textures.

Cicada Design tells compelling stories about complex projects, ranging from large-scale urban design to minutely detailed furniture. Our work is used to explain project process and proposals during their planning stages, to communicate and contribute to the design process, and to provide finished presentations for marketing, fund-raising, competitions, planning permissions and press coverage. Our clients use our products to provide clarity and textured nuance in telling the story of their projects.

We work in a studio environment drawing on the collective skills of a group of talented architects, designers, technologists, 3D and 2D artists, and video production professionals.

Clients benefit from the studio’s strategic thinking and in-depth understanding of architecture and visual communications.

We have established a 10 year record of developing and maintaining strong alliances with clients that have a substantial presence in architectural practice and urban design, and our work has appeared in numerous publications.

Cicada is always looking towards inventing and applying itself to a diversity of visualization issues across boundaries of design disciplines. We have the resources to demonstrate new ways to visualize complex projects in architecture, engineering and other areas.


Mike earned his BES (84)and BArch (Hons 86) degrees at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario and became a registered architect in 1992. Having worked as a practising architect through the recession of the early 1990s, Mike became involved in architectural visualization as he worked on contract with a number of Toronto architectural firms and with the developers of the software program 'Lightscape' to create some of the first really high quality 3D renderings. He continues to manage the company's approach to innovative use of 3D BIM-parametric design, compositing and rendering software. He also functions as a general manager of the company together with Dalibor. Mike is an avid swimmer and SCUBA diver, with a Naui Divemaster rating and 280 dives to his credit.


After earning a Dipl. Ing. Architect degree from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, Dalibor moved to Canada in 1987 to work with Diamond+Schmitt Architects Inc. as an architectural designer and project team member on a variety of institutional and large scale public projects. Dalibor founded Cicada Design with Michael Starr in 2000. He has built outstanding experience in the industry, leading the studio on a wide variety of high-profile landmark projects in Canada and internationally, and working closely with architectural practices and developers. To keep his competitive edge sharp outside of work, Dalibor is an active tennis and soccer player and a passionate skier.

Ilya Floussov

Ilya Floussov sometimes likes to call himself an artist and other times a designer. Ilya earned his Bachelor of Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2005. There he acquired a particular interest in technology mediated interaction, human workspace dynamics and woodworking. With Cicada since 2005, he has worked on technically complex and highly detailed 3D design and production related projects. Whether at work, at home, on a bicycle or at a bar, you'll find him pushing the envelope of innovation – thinking outside of the box and generally taking things to the next level.

Jon Neilon

Jon Neilon's passionate eye for detail stems from an education in Architectural Technology at The Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (2005 Hons). Since starting with Cicada in 2005 he has created a role for himself managing some of the most complex projects the firm handles, producing still and animated work with skill and passion. Perhaps his aptitude for stick handling many projects in the office stems from his personal life in which he enjoys goaltending chores for various teams and sometimes playing in charity hockey tournaments.

Jonah Humphrey

Having earned his MArch degree at the University of Waterloo (2008 Hons), Jonah has worked at Cicada since 2008 as a storyboard and concept designer, 3D modeller and animator, and music composer. Previous work in a range of Canadian architectural practices, on interactive sculpture installations, and in music and video productions have all supported his growing interest in finding new ways to interpret built and imagined environments. Jonah feels visualization can play a transformative role in the design and development of architecture, acting as a tool for previewing and evaluating design and, in turn, becoming an integral part of our connected environments, be they virtual, constructed or living.

Xiaoyue Liu

Xiaoyue (Cathy) earned a Bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of North China (1982), Zhengzhou then moved on to earn a professional certificate in Photoshop and 3D Studio from the Chinese Central Academy of Craft Art (1996). After moving to Canada in 2003, Cathy earned an honours certificate in 3D for design and architecture at Humber College. Her role at Cicada includes work on still and animated projects, with a focus on interior lighting and materials. She loves travel and yoga, and enjoys classical music.

Judith Geher

Aleksandre Japaridze

Phillip Meadows

We always look forward to hearing from talented artists and technologists with a keen interest in visualisation and storytelling.

If you have an exceptional portfolio and are keen to develop your career we'd love to hear from you. You must have a good range of skills and techniques in 3DS Max, rendering plugins, Photoshop, and reading architectural drawings. Other technical areas of interest include compositing with Fusion and After Effects, motion graphic design and immersive VR systems.

We can offer you a great place to work, a culture of learning and the opportunity to be involved in projects from start to finish. If you have a keen attention to detail and enjoy solving problems, we welcome your application. All applicants must be eligible to work in Canada and based within reasonable distance from our office in the Toronto West End. No agencies please.

Please email your CV and examples of your work to

Contact us
to learn more about working with Cicada