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Mar 22

Humber College students design for community

What do you get when you mix:

• One creative architecture professor (Marcin Kedzior) assigning students the exciting project of designing cohousing
• Six teams of the best & brightest third-year Humber design students
• Six inspirational buildings selected by Canopy Cohousing members
• Six actual Toronto properties

horizCanopy Cohousing will get six inspired, creative and site-specific designs for 24-unit cohousing communities!

In early March Canopy members had the opportunity for a sneak peak at early designs in a workshop to get feedback from us and expert reviewers. First they provided background about the six “precedent” developments they had studied, including thoughtful analysis of the key elements and values these buildings embody. Each team had and artfully crafted miniature model of the original building. Then they walked us through their concepts for how to incorporate the key features of the precedent buildings into a Toronto site.

vertJPGAll the students clearly grasped the key concept of designing for community: the layout has to make it easy to connect with our neighbours.

For instance, one team used Vancouver-based Windsong Cohousing as the precedent, whose emblematic feature is a glass-covered interior ‘street/lane’ between rows of townhomes which serves as front porch, playground, and community space. The students drew up several ways to orient a covered lane, clusters of townhomes and a common house on a ¾ acre property near the Wychwood car barns near Christie & St Clair Ave West.

What Canopy Cohousing will look like depends on the site we end up purchasing, the choices we make about features and the guidance we give our architect. Thanks to Marcin and his students we’ll have some tangible options that demonstrate how key design elements can be incorporated into site plans, and will give us a head-start when we roll up our sleeves and get into the fun part – designing our community. Each of these students gets an A+ from Canopy Cohousing.