We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 1st prize winners of our “Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge” competition – Tristan Van Leur and Samantha Eby from Canada!


Samantha Eby and Tristan Van Leur from Canada

Samantha Eby is an intern architect in Toronto. She holds a master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Toronto and a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo. She is the current winner of the Canada Council for the Arts – Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners.

Tristan van Leur is a licensed architect in Toronto. He holds a master’s degree in Architecture and a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Tristan and Samantha look for design opportunities that explore new typologies of architecture through challenging existing conventions. Currently, our research is focused on housing and its models of finance, construction methodologies, and zoning/planning restrictions. We are working on a guidebook to collective financed housing, and a self-build multi-generational cabin that explores building methods for unskilled labor.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

We believe housing is a right, not a commodity. As architects, we need to do more to advocate for this.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We seek out very specific opportunities that allow us to test our latest thoughts and push our theoretical propositions forward. This competition was in line with our current research and spoke to topics that we feel are important for architects to explore. As this one was right in our backyard, we used it to test some new ideas we've been developing.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Don't enter competitions for the sake of entering. Be deliberate with what you choose. Only pursue opportunities that allow you to push your work forward. It should not be about winning.

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