Incremental Density

How can urban collective housing be more liveable?

As a response to Toronto’s housing crisis, this project proposes prototypes for developing incremental density as an alternative to high-rise construction that is faster, more liveable, and better integrated with existing neighborhoods. Through a gradual process of change, density can be increased on main streets by constructing multi-unit buildings on lots that are currently dominated by single-family homes. Agency is given to small-scale owner ‘developers’ to convert their properties, stimulating gradual increases in density for neighborhood intensification.

The prototypes explore modular options for corner and midblock lots of different widths, with stacked units for ease of construction. The structures are divided into two sections: front-facing and back-facing units with central vertical circulation. The height of the front and back portions of the building can be adjusted to suit each context, enabling easy replicability of the design on different sites. Depending on the topography of the site and form of adjacent structures, the sections can range from 4 to 6 storeys with commercial units at grade, defining transition zones on main streets that will see future development up to six storeys in the coming decades.

Each prototype features a large central opening at every level, serving as a shared “backyard” for the units, ensuring access to outdoor space, ample daylight, views, and passive ventilation potential. Private balconies are also included at the front and back of the building, and units are spacious enough to accommodate families. Multiplexes can be developed on single residential lots, without the need for lot consolidation required for larger structures, facilitating rapid development. A new neighborhood character emerges and evolves, incorporating higher density housing insertions that promote and preserve quality, livable space for collective urban living.

  • Azure Magazine, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Highlights Female Perspectives”
  • Archello, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing” focuses on the collective expertise of nine women-led architectural studios”
  • Canadian Architect, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Exhibition on liveable collective housing to launch at Venice Biennale”
  • Archdaily, “Time Space Existence 2023 Envisions New Sustainable Ways Forward”

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