The Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge is part of Bee Breeders’ Affordable Housing competition series. Run in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS, this competition tasked participants with submitting innovative design proposals for tackling Toronto’s housing crisis. Toronto is among the ten most expensive major housing markets in the world – with housing prices still on the rise, even more inhabitants are being pushed out of this market. Intelligent, workable solutions need to be implemented. Bee Breeders asks the question: what role can designers play in proposing these solutions?

This design series poses that there is no one right answer to making housing affordable. Today, a host of new ideas and platforms are enabling people to own or purchase homes. These creative methods include everything from community co-living facilities to 3D-printed homes, stackable modular homes, and new forms of transit-oriented development.

There were no specific design or site requirements for this competition. Proposals were requested to be flexible, enabling accommodations for a variety of inhabitant types: single professionals, couples, families, or group living. The brief sought out designs for a pilot-phase concept for affordable housing, which could be carried out within Toronto to increase its housing stock.

The jury reviewed proposals that intelligently adapted existing infrastructure, considered community cohesion, and offered a range of sustainable and innovative design solutions. While this competition was conceptual in nature, weight was given to flexible schemes that could be feasibly adapted to various sites and residential unit types.

Bee Breeders collaborated with a regional and international interdisciplinary jury panel. The full panel included: Nicky Bruun-Meyer, a Toronto-based architect and cofounder of The Site Magazine; Persis Lam, an associate at Diamond Schmitt Architects, based in Toronto; Maya Mahgoub-Desai, Chair of Environmental Design at OCAD University and a practicing urban designer and planner with Moriyama Teshima Architects; Mauricio Quirós Pacheco, Assistant Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto; Fotini Pitoglou, lead architect on hospitality projects at Toronto-based FORREC and executive member of BEAT – Building Equality in Architecture Toronto; Mark Sterling, principal of Acronym Urban Design and Planning and former director of the Master of Urban Design program at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture; Andreas Tjeldflaat, founder of Framlab, a New York and Bergen-based design studio; Jeremy Withers, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, whose research focused on housing policy; and Dan Wu, a product manager at Immuta, whose mission is legal and ethical data operations.

Selected winning designs will be featured in the ARCHHIVE BOOKS’ next issue of its publication series What is Affordable Housing? Bee Breeders and its jury panel thank all individuals and teams that submitted proposals.

Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge
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Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge
Enter the next competition edition

Turning unused bridge areas into lively homes

Affordable Housing Series 17th Edition ideas COMPETITION

1st Prize Winner

Project name

Cooperative Corners

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.

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Authors Tristan van Leur, Samantha Eby
Country Canada

2nd Prize Winner

Project name

Laneway Housing

Competitions are invaluable opportunities to research and test ideas that may not be possible to investigate within the confines of a project brief developed in an office or educational environment. Entering a competition deepens the knowledge of place, typology, and tectonic of architecture. Designers are asked to communicate an idea visually in a concise and compelling fashion. Through failures and successes, competitions are skill builders and thought-provoking bombs for those who participate.

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Country United States

3rd Prize Winner

Project name

laneWAY OF LIVING: Green villages in the heart of Toronto’s urban fabric

Besides having a deep respect for the tradition of competitions in the field of architecture, we believe this kind of experience provides a perfect venue for showcasing ideas that can be heard by a large audience, having the potential to impact the architectural culture as a whole. We also firmly believe that each competition we have participated in represents a step towards a learning curve, affecting our practice and teaching deeply.

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Authors Ana luisa Rolim, Isabella Trindade, Beatriz Bueno, Larissa Falavigna
Country Brazil


Project name

Reading Between The Lines

Entering an architecture competition is the ultimate way to get your unique design approach and concepts challenged by a broad range of professionals from the field of spatial design. It is vital to always reflect on your work, and for us there is no better way than to have a skilled jury review your ideas. Moreover, a competition trains you to communicate your architectural ideas as efficiently as possible, since there is a limited availability of space and time to make your plan come to life. Developing this essential skill is something that you can only do by practicing it again and again.

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Authors Bjarne Van der Drift, Gerjan Agterhuis, Casper Bovy
Country Netherlands
+126 points Buildner University Rankings

Honorable Mentions

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Project name


Authors Margot De man, Sarah Ives, Mark Grimsrud, Ron Noble
Country Canada
Project name

Affordable Housing: from poverty to prosperity in Toronto

Author Ana Cecilia Jiménez Salinas
Country Mexico
Project name

(Not) Another Toronto Tower

Author Jerry Hacker
Country Canada
Project name

Park(ing) for Housing

Project name

Liminal Lanes

Authors Kaili Sun, Carmen Kam
Country Canada
Project name


Author Domenico Francesco Lio
Country United States

Shortlisted projects

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Under The Gardiner

Maksym Humenyuk

Dan Van derhorst

Novak Djogo


A clear and equitable solution to Toronto's Affordable Housing Challenge: Three tier approach - Luxury, Mid-income, Affordable

Yvan Mackinnon

Done by data


Reclaiming the Toronto Back Alley

Bachir Benkirane

Megi Davitidze

Fadri Horber



Ning Lin

Ying Zheng


What If We Live in Our Laneways?

Kim Choy

United States

Responsive City

Reem Abdelaal

Rui Zhang

University of toronto - daniels faculty of architecture, landscape, & design

+22 points Buildner University Rankings!

Laneway Housing

Giovanni Fruttaldo

Kimberly Carlisle

Noah Lemus

United States

The Equilateral Aapartment

Sahar Pasha

Farhang Alipour

Pearl Cao



Ying Yu

Ying Xu


Rooftop Villages

Wolfgang sebastian Kiehne

Cayetano garcia Cachay

Christian Bechara


Modular Network

Aye Myat thu

Olivia Dewi

Chi Nguyen


Affordable Housing: from poverty to prosperity in Toronto

Ana Cecilia Jiménez Salinas



Margot De man

Sarah Ives

Mark Grimsrud

Ron Noble


Rewiring Toronto

Flóra Horóczi

Balázs Fürtön


Park(ing) for Housing

Yunshih Canazzi-chen

Antoine Canazzi-chen


The Hexagon

Wael El gendy



Heritage Design as Political Instrument: Increasing Capacity and Resiliency in Toronto’s Single Family Heritage Stock

Shane Karkheck


Cooperative Corners

Tristan van Leur

Samantha Eby



Victoria Fedorova

Christos Trompoukis

Ziying Zeng

Iaac institute for advanced architecture of catalonia

+22 points Buildner University Rankings!

Suburban Intra-Sprawl

Neerie Yu

Marcus Poon

Austin Yao


Erik Vodenik



Domenico Francesco Lio

United States

Co-Living Pods on Gardiner Expressway

Somdatta Majumdar

United Arab Emirates

Self Organising Urbanism - Low Rise High Density, A Sustainable Solution To Affordable Housing In Toronto

Ashley Waitt

Bryan Espinoza ortiz

United Kingdom

THE SEAM – Strategy of Housing Affordability in Toronto

Daria Gridina

Moscow institute of architecture

+22 points Buildner University Rankings!
Russian Federation

Post - SILO Effects

Oh Juhyeon

Yang Geon

South Korea

Junction Rail Living

Jonathan Espana

David Kim

Kyle Noronha

The Vu Nguyen


Reading Between The Lines

Bjarne Van der Drift

Gerjan Agterhuis

Casper Bovy

Technische universiteit delft

+126 points Buildner University Rankings!

Greenline Toronto

Esteban Torres

George Wang

Paul Berkun-Drevnig



Yizhi Zhang


Wall within Walls

Fengyi Wang

United Kingdom

Liminal Lanes

Kaili Sun

Carmen Kam


(Not) Another Toronto Tower

Jerry Hacker


Toronto Vertical Streets Co-Living

Yixin Yang

Linru Wang


Hub House

Daniel Lam

Michelle Choi



Amir Adibmanesh



Abigail Benouaich

United Kingdom

The Dominion Foundries Adaptive Reuse Co-housing Proposal

Leeann Pallett



Duc huy Pham

Dianna marie Aquino