The City of Toronto enacted, in 2020, a multi-pronged action plan to address current and projected housing issues across the City. Among Toronto’s most pressing issues is its overburdened shelter system, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing requirements.

Unlike similar precedents, the Modular Supportive Housing project will be a permanent fixture in the City. This demanded an architectural response that conceives of a simple, functional module and creates from it a thoughtful, elegant addition to the urban fabric. Phase 1 of this initiative includes two small-scale, infill buildings on two distinct sites, accommodating a total of 100 new homes. Each building includes a shared communal kitchen and dining room as well as administrative offices and program space. Each home is a self-contained bachelor suite with kitchen and washroom. With occupancy projected for fall 2020, Phase 1 will be completed a mere 6 months after kick-off. And while the social value of this project is unassailable, its architectural significance is found in a design that not only recasts our experience of modular buildings but of those who will inhabit them here.

The Modular Housing Initiative is part of an inclusionary strategy. Both sites are located in established residential neighbourhoods and offer ready access to public transit as well as important health and community services. The challenge, of course, is that modular buildings are often perceived as cold and industrial, foreign to their surroundings. To foster inclusion, it was critically important that 11 Macey Ave and 150 Harrison St be dignified, welcoming, well integrated places that would combat the stigmas associated with homelessness.

The pre-fabrication process provides many benefits, namely the high level of quality control that occurs during production in a controlled factory environment, the accelerated construction schedule, improved commissioning and greater cost certainty. Additionally, off-site manufacturing reduces the area required for staging when building on a tight site, the transportation costs, the production of waste – on-site and off – as well as on-site greenhouse gas emissions.


Completion Date:


Project Type:

Housing & Senior Living

Building Size:

56,000 sq. ft.